The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, more commonly referred to as the Sagrada Familia, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica located in Barcelona. The story of this still-under-construction masterpiece began all the way back in 1874 when a local organization began campaigning for the construction of a church honoring the Holy Family. After a couple of years of planning and drawing up plans, the church's cornerstone was officially laid on 19th March 1882. This 19th-century church, which is still incomplete, is an architectural marvel and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Read on to know more about Sagrada Familia's history.
While Antoni Gaudi is credited as the genius behind the Sagrada Familia, the Basilica was in fact the brainchild of the founder of the Spiritual Association of Devotees of St John, Josep Maria Bocabella. After his visit to Italy in 1872. he wanted to build a church inspired by the Loreto Basilica. Architect Francisco de Paula del Villar was tasked with designing the church and his design followed a Gothic revival style. In March 1882, the apse crypt of the church began being constructed. Later, in 1883, Antoni Gaudi took over the responsibility for the construction and radically changed the plan for the church. He was officially appointed as the Architect Director the next year.
During this time period, the Nativity facade’s work had begun. When Gaudi died, rather unexpectedly, in 1926, only 20 percent of the work was completed, with the finishing of the Saint Barnabas Bell Tower. Following his death, the work was taken over by his disciple Domènec Sugrañes i Gras until the unfortunate Civil War in 1936. During the civil unrest, many original plans, model structures, and workshops were destroyed by the Catalan Anarchists. The work only resumed after the Civil War, for which a new present design based on reconstructed versions of the destroyed plans along with modern adaptations were created.
After 1940, the work on the Basilica changed hands several times; with architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari, and Francesc Cardoner carrying on the work. In 1952, the staircase on the Nativity facade was built, and two years later, the foundation for the Passion facade was laid. In 1961, a museum was created to educate people about the various aspects of the basilica. In 1976, the Bell towers of the Passion facade was completed and two years later, construction began on the façades on the side naves. Work also began on the naves, the columns, vaults, and façades on the main nave, transepts, crossing, and apse in 1986.
A number of elements were added to this basilica during this period of construction thanks to computer-aided technology introduced by Jordi Bonet i Armengol. In 2005, the Nativity facade and the crypt were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites and in 2010, the temple was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI, officially making it a minor Basilica and opening it for religious worship. The central nave vaulting was completed in 2000 and the focus turned toward the construction of the transept and the apse.
In 2012, Jordi Faulí i Oller took over as the chief architect of the project and in 2015, he announced that 70 percent of construction was complete. The final phase of the construction included raising six steeples. Since July 2017, an international mass is celebrated at the basilica every Sunday. While the church has been functioning, several events have halted the progress of its construction. On 19 April 2011, an arsonist started a small fire in the sacristy, which took 45 minutes to contain. The pandemic halted work for 4 months between March to July 2020. Despite these challenges, on 29 November 2021, a 7-meter twelve-pointed illuminated crystal star was installed on top of the Mary Tower.
The Sagrada Familia is 140 years old.
Sagrada Familia was designed by Francesco de Paula del Villar initially and was taken over and changed significantly under the lead of Antoni Gaudi.
The origins of Sagrada Familia dates back to 1872, when a bookseller and founder of Asociación Espiritual de Devotos de San José Josep Maria Bocabella visited Vatican. He was inspired by the basilica at Loreto and wished to create a temple with a similar design in Barcelona.
The construction of the expiatory temple of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882.
The Sagrada Família, has been under construction for 140 years, with the work beginning back in 1882. It's now in the final phase, and it is expected to be fully completed by 2030 or 2032.
The architectural style of the Sagrada Familia is Catalan Modernism and has an influence of the Spanish Gothic style.
The Sagrada Familia in Spain was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2005
Sagrada Familia is located in the city of Barcelona in Spain at C/ de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain.
The tickets for the Sagrada Familia start from € 34.
Yes, there are guided tour options available that will help you understand Sagrada Familia’s history, architecture, and other nuances about the basilica better.
The most fascinating fact about Sagrada Familia’s history is that 140 years after its construction began, it is still an unfinished church. It is the largest unfinished church in the world.
Sagrada Familia is famous for the iconic Nativity Facade and the crypt which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Yes, the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia encased in the many stories that the structure, the museum, and the guide tell you is an unmissable experience.