Spain’s Sagrada Familia Officially Has A Completion Date More Than 140 Years After Construction Started

Spain’s Sagrada Familia Officially Has A Completion Date More Than 140 Years After Construction Started

After more than 140 years of construction, Spain’s breathtaking Sagrada Familia has finally been given an estimated completion date. The Roman Catholic church, located in the vibrant city of Barcelona, is the country’s most renowned tourist destination. Designed by celebrated Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, who is buried in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia, the basilica now welcomes nearly 5 million visitors annually. Gaudi envisioned the structure to feature 18 monumental towers representing biblical figures, including the 12 apostles, the four evangelists, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus.

When Gaudi passed away in 1926, only an estimated 10-15% of the project had been completed, including one transept, a crypt, and some of the apse wall. It has now been reported by La Sagrada Familia Foundation that the monumental basilica will be finished in 2026, more than 140 years after construction began in 1882. However, this does not mean full completion, as work on other parts of the architecture, such as sculptures, details, and the stairway leading to the main entrance, are expected to continue until 2034.

When the church’s first stone was laid in the 19th century, the site was open farmland, but the city has drastically changed since then. The stairway, which would stretch across two city blocks, would involve driving out 1,000 families and businesses. While some Gaudi scholars argue there is no need for the stairway, Esteve Camp, the Executive Chairman of the Junta Constructora, insisted it was always part of Gaudi’s project. “We are following Gaudi’s plan to the letter,” he stated, referencing a plan presented to the local authority in 1915 and signed by Gaudi.

Back in 1984, the building was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI for religious worship in 2010. The completion of the church in 2026 will coincide with the centenary of Gaudi’s death. Over the years, construction of Sagrada Familia has gained momentum but was temporarily halted again in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the basilica was reopened to key workers in July 2020, and now the completion of Sagrada Familia is advancing at a promising speed.

Five generations have watched the progress of the basilica. It is only poetically fitting that the fruition of this one-of-a-kind spectacle is now expected to be finished in 2026, which marks the centenary of Gaudi’s death. If you haven’t already booked your tickets to Spain, this is certainly a reason to do so.