10 Interesting Facts About Gaudi's Basilica
Located in the district of Eixample in the city of Barcelona, Spain, the Sagrada Família is a minor basilica that was designed by Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí. The church was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2010 and is viewed as an “extraordinary” piece of Gothic architecture.
Read on to find out some more interesting facts about the Sagrada Família!
10 Interesting Sagrada Familia Facts
1. Sagrada Familia Is an Unfinished Structure
The occurrence of the Spanish Civil War halted the construction of the Sagrada Família when a portion of the original plans designed by Gaudí was destroyed in a fire by revolutionaries in July 1936. The church is now the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church in the world. Completion of the structure is estimated for the year 2026 (Gaudí’s death centenary), following a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Sagrada Familia History
2. There is Intense Debate Over its Completion
At the time of Gaudí’s death in 1926, the structure was about 15 to 25 percent complete. In the years since, there have been seven chief architects in total. Critics have stated that the current construction techniques, which includes computer-aided design, interfere with Gaudí’s original vision and design plans for the church and believe that construction should be halted. Famous painter Salvador Dali is quoted as saying, “It would be a betrayal to even think of finishing the Sagrada Familia…without genius. Let it remain there, like a huge rotting tooth.”Sagrada Familia Finish Date
3. The Current Chief Architect Has Been Involved Since 1990
Currently 62 years old, Jordi Fauli is the seventh chief architect of the Sagrada Família and was 31 years old when he joined the project (the same age as Gaudí when he took over as chief architect). Fauli became the chief architect of the project in 2012, and currently oversees the work of multiple architects and builders.Architects of Sagrada Familia
4. The Church Was the Idea of a Bookseller
The Sagrada Família was the brainchild of Josep María Bocabella, a devout Catholic and the founder of the Asociación Espiritual de Devotos de San José (Spiritual Association of Devotees of St. Joseph). Following a pilgrimage to Rome in 1872, Bocabella decided to build the structure in Barcelona. After some years of looking for the right plot for the church, the first stone of the Sagrada Família was laid in March 1882.
5. Gaudí was Not the Original Chief Architect
Despite Antoni Gaudí being the most prominent name attached to the construction of the Sagrada Família, he was not the first architect to have been in charge. Construction started out with the involvement of Francisco de Paula del Villar. A year after the building of the structure began, in March 1883, Villar resigned (due to disagreements between him and the council) and Gaudí took over as chief architect.Gaudi's Barcelona
6. It is Barcelona’s Number-One Tourist Attraction
Boasting over 4.7 million tourists in 2019, the Sagrada Família has become one of Barcelona’s most prominent attractions. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to shut its doors to the public in March 2020. It was reopened in 2021.
7. The Church Became Gaudí’s Most Prolific Work
Much like Bocabella, Antoni Gaudí was a devout Catholic himself and spent the final 12 years of his life dedicated to building the Sagrada Família, alongside periods of prayer and fasting. He lived in abject poverty with intent and intended for the Sagrada Família to be a “cathedral for the poor”. He is famously quoted as saying, “My client is not in a hurry.” Ironically, he was run over by a tram a few streets away from the Sagrada Família.
8. The Sagrada Família is Not Barcelona’s Cathedral Church
Despite its prominence and splendor, the Archdiocese of Barcelona does not regard the Sagrada Família as the cathedral church of the city. That honor, instead, belongs to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia.
9. The Church Will Have Three Façades
Since the Sagrada Família is a structure that is yet to be completed, two of the three grand façades have been constructed. The Nativity Façade was constructed from 1894 to 1930, while the Passion Façade was constructed from 1954 to 1976. The Glory Façade, which is the third one, commenced construction in 2002 and is awaiting completion.Explore the Sagrada Familia Facades
10. Part of the Sagrada Família Is a World Heritage Site
Antoni Gaudí’s work, including and separate from the Sagrada Família, is regarded by UNESCO as a heritage site meant for dedicated preservation. Along with the Crypt and the Nativity Façade of the Sagrada Família, six of Gaudí’s other structures across the city of Barcelona were named heritage sites from 1984 to 2005.What's the Sagrada Familia Crypt?
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Frequently Asked Questions About Sagrada Familia Facts
A. The Sagrada Família is a minor basilica designed by Catalonian architectural pioneer Antoni Gaudi.
A. The Sagrada Família is an unfinished structure, and is currently the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world.
A. The Sagrada Família is located in the district of Eixample in the Catalonian city of Barcelona, Spain.
A. The Sagrada Família’s chief architectural figure is Antoni Gaudi, who dedicated the remainder of his life to the construction of the church. The church was conceptualized by a bookseller named Josep María Bocabella.
A. The Sagrada Família is 140 years old, having begun construction in 1882.
A. The Sagrada Família is estimated for completion in the year 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.