Welcome to Barcelona. There is a lot to Barcelona than just the football culture and gentleman clubs. The city has tons of remarkable architectures that charm visitors who frequent it every year. In this article, we are going to highlight one of the well-known structure in Europe, which has been under construction for a century and a half.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia is an incomplete church by Antoni Gaudi, nevertheless, it is a fabulous attraction that somehow finds a way to dazzle visitors all year round. This fabulous unfinished construction is one of the most visited places in Spain, and also rated by TripAdvisor as one of the top attractions in the world. Regardless the time of the year, you will always find long waiting lines to see the exquisite interior of La Sagrada Familia. If you are planning on visiting this spot, you should consider pre-buying skip-the-line tickets.
The history of this magnificent structure dates back in the late 1800s. The first foundation stone was laid in 1882 during which time the area around the basilica was purely fields. La Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a famous Catalan, and Spanish architect. The interiors of the basilica were open to the public fully in 2012, making it one of the newest tourist attractions worth visit because, inside La Sagrada Familia is astounding, like no other cathedral in the world. The windows let in natural lights in the morning and afternoon creating stunning sightseeing. The exterior of the basilica is still under construction, standing at 75% completion with just 8 of 18 planned spires completed.
The aim is to finish construction of the Sagrada Familia in 2026 so that it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the death of Gaudi. In 2018, it has been 146 years since the construction started. The architect, Antoni Gaudi died in 1926 tragically after being hit by a tram. At the time of his death, only the innate façade was in construction. Antoni Gaudi knew the temple construction would outlive him and he once said, ‘My client is not in a hurry’, his client being God.
Although Antoni Gaudi has several masterpieces in the city of Barcelona, none really boast an interesting background as La Sagrada Familia.
Some interesting facts about this sacred space include;
1. The Construction Has Been Ongoing For Over a Century The project began in 1882 by Gaudi, and after he died in 1926 merely a quarter of the cathedral was completed. Gaudi knew, despite dedicating his last few years on the projected, the construction wouldn’t be completed during his lifetime. The construction is believed to have entered its final phase in 2019, with 2026 estimated to be the completion date.
2. The Construction Has Taken Longer Than You Think
When La Sagrada Familia construction is finished in 2026, it would have taken over 150 years, which means it will take longer to construct than the Egyptian Pyramids and just 50 years less than the construction of the Great Wall of China. Mind-blowing.
3. There Used to be a School Around the Cathedral
Gaudi had built a school for the children whose parents worked in the construction of basilica. It was called Sagrada Familia Schools. The school now serves as an exhibition center. Antoni Gaudi appears to have been a mindful man.
4. The Construction Would Have Taken Longer without Computers
As you can imagine, the computers were not invented until the 1930s and so, during the early stages of Sagrada construction there was no relying on digital animation. Instead, they used paper sketches to accurately put together this gigantic building. However, the progress sped up swiftly thanks to the mid-20th-century invention of computers.
5. La Sagrada Is No Longer a Cathedral
Initial, it was understood to be just a Roman Catholic Church. But later on, it was made a cathedral, followed by a basilica in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
6. Each one of the 18 Masts is Significant
Currently, only eight towers have been completed, but when all 18 are finished 12 will represent the apostles of Jesus, 4 will signify the evangelists, 1 will be designated for Jesus Mother Virgin Mary, and the last one which will also be the tallest and in the middle, will signify Jesus Christ.
7. Antoni Gaudi is Buried Here
Gaudi’s tomb is located in the underground floor of the basilica, and visitors are allowed to come and see it for themselves. Four chapels surround the tomb, each being a dedication to a different figure. Gaudi’s tomb chapel is dedicated to El Carmen Virgin.
8. People Have Tried to Destroy It
During the 1930s Spanish Civil War, a number of anarchists broke into the cathedral and burn the crypt. This led to the extremely slow construction process.
9 .It Has a Remarkable Height
Upon its completion, La Sagrada Familia will be the tallest building in religion. The middle tower is the tallest rising up to 170 meters high. It was to be higher than that but Gaudi believed that man-made structure shouldn’t ever be higher than work of God, seeing that the tower would have been taller than Mount Montjuic, the highest mountain in Barcelona. The tower, however, is one meter short of Mount Montjuic.
10. Its Design Was Greatly Influenced By Nature
Many religious structures are straight, unlike La Sagrada Familia basilica. Gaudi believed that things ought to be built to bear a resemblance to nature. So, experimented by hanging a weighted string from the ceiling to get an image of how natural arches would look like. He then designed the interior La Sagrada Familia based on his observation.
11. Hidden Meanings
The structure has tons of hidden meaning that would take a keen eye to notice. Besides religious symbols, there are pillars resembling trees with changing shapes just as real trees would appear to do. Additionally, there is a tortoise and a turtle appearing to hold up the pillars, signifying the earth and the sea.
12. Your Trip Contributes To Its Construction
The 3 million visitors every year contribute significantly to the construction of La Sagrada. Therefore, don’t think twice if you are thinking of scheduling a visit to La Sagrada Familia.
The basilica is opened all year round except during services and special religious functions.