La Sagrada Familia Facts
In the heart of Barcelona, Spain, the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia stands as a testament to human creativity, faith, and perseverance. This architectural marvel, designed by the brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí has soaring towers, intricate façades, and a captivating interior. It is undeniable that it has become a symbol of the city and a must-visit for travelers worldwide. Let’s delve into the compelling world of this masterpiece with 10 La Sagrada Familia facts that capture the essence of this unforgettable monument.
The building is still under construction.
La Sagrada Familia is the magnum opus of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The project was so grand that it remained unfinished during Gaudí’s lifetime and is, incredibly, still under construction today, more than a century later. Gaudí dedicated over 40 years of his life to this project, with the last 15 years exclusively on this basilica.
It has an unprecedented time frame.
The cornerstone of La Sagrada Familia was laid in 1882, and the basilica is expected to be completed in 2026, marking the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. This will make the construction period a staggering 144 years – one of the longest in architectural history!
Gaudí used his love for nature to shape his vision for the La Sagrada Familia.
The interior columns resemble towering trees that branch out at the top, creating a canopy effect. This “forest” supports a stunning vaulted ceiling adorned with intricate patterns inspired by natural elements like honeycombs and leaves.
Gaudí is currently buried there.
Antoni Gaudí died tragically in 1926 after being hit by a tram. At the time of his death, less than a quarter of the project was completed. Currently, his body is at the underground level in a tomb, and visitors can see it whenever they visit.
However, Gaudí ensured his vision of the building still continued.
Gaudí prepared beforehand that he would not see through the construction. As such, he left detailed models and plans to ensure future architects could carry on his vision.
It is a basilica, not a cathedral.
Many of us may confuse it for a large cathedral. Despite its size and grandeur, La Sagrada Familia is not a cathedral. It’s officially designated as a basilica—a title granted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. The difference lies in the fact that a cathedral is the seat of a bishop.
It has 18 towers for a reason.
The final design of La Sagrada Familia includes 18 towers, each with its unique significance. Twelve of them represent the Apostles, four signify the Evangelists, one symbolizes the Virgin Mary, and the tallest one, still to be completed, represents Jesus Christ.
It is the tallest religious building in all of Europe.
And because of the intentional design of 18 towers, the La Sagrada Familia stands tall at 170 meters, currently snagging the position of the tallest religious building in Europe. Antoni Gaudí believed that nothing should man-made should supersede God’s creation. Hence, he intentionally designed the La Sagrada Familia to be one meter shorter than the mountain of Barcelona, Montjuïc. We can say that Gaudí was a man who lived out his religion.
The basilica has three grand façades.
La Sagrada Familia features three elaborate façades: the Nativity Façade, the Passion Façade, and the Glory Façade. Each façade represents a stage in the life of Jesus Christ—birth, death, and eternal glory—and is adorned with intricate sculptures and symbolism.
It is more than a tourist attraction.
While La Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited tourist sites in Spain, attracting millions of visitors each year, it also serves as a place of worship. It is a venue for special religious occasions as well as religious mass services.
Every visitor is essentially paying for the construction of the La Sagrada.
The construction of La Sagrada Familia relies heavily on donations and the proceeds from ticket sales. This means that every visitor to this stunning basilica plays a part in realizing Gaudí’s extraordinary vision.