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Sagrada Familia

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Barcelona Sagrada FamiliaThe Sagrada Familia ('The Holy Family') is a massive Roman Catholic basilica under construction in Barcelona. Construction began in 1882 and its formal title is Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. Originally designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), who worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavor, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have remarked, "My client is not in a hurry."

After Gaudí's death in 1926, work continued under the direction of Domènech Sugranyes until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Parts of the unfinished building and Gaudí's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists. The design, as now being constructed, is based both on reconstructed versions of the lost plans and on modern adaptations. Since 1940 the architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner have carried on the work. The current director and son of Lluís Bonet, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, has been introducing computers into the design and construction process since the 1980s. Mark Burry of New Zealand serves as Executive Architect and Researcher. Sculptures by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and the controversial Josep Subirachs decorate the fantastical façades.

The Sagrada Familia is one of the most popular attractions in Spain. The central nave vaulting was completed in 2000 and the main tasks since then have been the construction of the transept vaults and apse. Current work concentrates on the crossing and supporting structure for the main tower of Jesus Christ as well as the southern enclosure of the central nave which will become the Glory façade.

Every part of the design of La Sagrada Família is rich with Christian symbolism, as Gaudí intended the church to be the "last great sanctuary of Christendom". Its most striking aspect is its spiandle-shaped towers. A total of 18 tall towers are called for, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ. (According to the 2005 "Works Report" of the temple's official website, drawings signed by Gaudí found recently in the Municipal Archives indicate that the tower of the Virgin was in fact intended by Gaudí to be shorter than those of the evangelists, and this is the design — which the Works Report states is more compatible with the existing foundations — that will be followed. The same source explains the symbolism in terms of Christ being known through the Evangelists.) The Evangelists' towers will be surmounted by sculptures of their traditional symbols: a bull (St Luke), a winged man (St Matthew), an eagle (St John), and a lion (St Mark). The central tower of Jesus Christ is to be surmounted by a giant cross; the tower's total height (170 m) will be one metre less than that of Montjuïc, as Gaudí believed that his work should not surpass that of God. Lower towers are surmounted by communion hosts with sheaves of wheat and chalices with bunches of grapes, representing the Eucharist.

he Church will have three grand façades: the Nativity façade to the East, the Glory façade to the South (yet to be completed) and the Passion façade to the West. The Nativity facade was built before work was interrupted in 1935 and bears the most direct Gaudí influence. The Passion façade is especially striking for its spare, gaunt, tormented characters, including emaciated figures of Christ being flogged and on the crucifix. These controversial designs are the work of Subirachs.


Visit Information
 Address: Mallorca, 401 - 08013 BARCELONA
 Phone: +34 932 07 30 31
 Opening Time: All days: 9.00 - 18.00 h (october to march) and 9.00 - 20.00 h (rest of the year)
 Tickets:  8 €
 E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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