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!
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.
Boasting over 4.7 million tourists in 2019, the Sagrada Família has become one of Barcelona’s most prominent attractions. However, the pandemic forced it to shut its doors to the public in March 2020. It was reopened in 2021.
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.
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.
One Sagrada Familia facts is that Gaudi’s design for the Sagrada Familia church was meticulously crafted to ensure continuity in construction beyond his lifetime. He envisioned comprehensive drawings and models, including those of the Glory Façade, to guide future architects in realizing his vision. By planning the construction in stages, Gaudi allowed for the integration of diverse architectural styles over time, enriching the church's design with each era's contribution.
Though not inherently surprising, another Sagrada Familia fact is the presence of elevators within the Basilica's towers is remarkable considering their slender structure. While not resembling Willy Wonka's magical glass elevators, they provide visitors access to both the lowest and highest points of the edifice. Navigating from the elevators entails traversing narrow walkways and stairs, culminating in breathtaking views of the city from the towers.
The Sagrada Família is a minor basilica designed by Catalonian architectural pioneer Antoni Gaudi.
The Sagrada Família is an unfinished structure, and is currently the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world.
The Sagrada Família is located in the district of Eixample in the Catalonian city of Barcelona, Spain.
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.
The Sagrada Família is 140 years old, having begun construction in 1882.
The Sagrada Família is estimated for completion in the year 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.