Information About La Sagrada Familia

This content was last updated on 22.08.2023 23:45

The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, also known as the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, is widely regarded as the symbol of Barcelona and a must-visit destination in the Catalan capital.

Originally envisioned as a simple Roman Catholic church dedicated to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, it evolved into the quintessential representation of Catalan Modernism. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI designated it as a basilica.

Designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, this basilica embodies Gaudí's belief that nature is the work of God. He aimed to blend Christian themes and biblical allegories with intricate natural symbols, such as organic and geometric shapes, which are prominently featured in every column, pinnacle, and stained glass window of the basilica.

The outcome is a remarkable architectural masterpiece that, despite being incomplete and undergoing construction for nearly 140 years, has become one of Spain's most visited landmarks, attracting 4.7 million visitors in 2019.

La Sagrada Familia

History of the La Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia's history is a living testament to its creation and construction.

The idea for the Sagrada Familia was conceived by Josep Maria Bocabella, a local bookseller who wished to build an expiatory temple dedicated to the Holy Family. Initially, architect Francisco de Paula del Villar was tasked with the project, and he designed a neo-Gothic plan, commencing construction in 1882.

However, due to disagreements with Bocabella, Antoni Gaudi took over the project. Gaudi envisioned an innovative design that pushed the boundaries of existing architectural styles.

Gaudi's primary objective was to create a church with facades that represented the three stages of Jesus's life: Nativity, Passion, and Glory. His vision involved incorporating organic symbolism into the architecture, stained glass, and design elements to narrate the story of Jesus and highlight key biblical events. In 1891, as construction began on the Nativity facade, Gaudi realized that the Sagrada Familia was an ambitious project that he would not see completed in his lifetime. Fearing that the project might be halted after his death and once the church acquired its role as a place of worship, Gaudi decided to start with the external aspects of the church instead of the central nave.

Simultaneously, Gaudi was also working on Casa Milà (La Pedrera), and after its completion in 1912, he dedicated himself exclusively to the construction of the Sagrada Familia. He worked on it until his passing in 1926, and he was laid to rest in the crypt. Following Gaudi's death, Domènec Sugrañes i Gras took on the primary role of architect.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the temple suffered extensive damage when a group of anarchists set it ablaze, resulting in the destruction of a significant portion of Gaudi's workshop. Fortunately, some of his materials could be salvaged.

Construction resumed in 1954, and the Sagrada Familia has been under construction ever since.

Why is the Sagrada Familia not finished and when will be completed?

The Sagrada Familia remains unfinished for several reasons.

Firstly, the complexity of its design, featuring intricate geometric shapes, poses a significant challenge even with modern technology and skilled architects and engineers.

Secondly, the Sagrada Familia has always relied on private donations for funding, as it was a project promoted by the people, for the people. There have been periods in its history when there was a lack of funding, particularly during Spain's Civil War and the subsequent decades. It wasn't until after the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, which boosted the city's international reputation and visitor numbers, that construction gained significant momentum.

Originally, the Sagrada Familia was expected to be completed by 2026, coinciding with the centenary of Antoni Gaudi's death. However, due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, work was delayed. While construction has resumed, a new completion date has not yet been announced.

Visiting the Sagrada Familia

The ticket prices for visiting the Sagrada Família are as follows:

  • Adults: €26, which includes the audioguide.
  • Students and individuals under 30 years old: €24.
  • Seniors: €21.
  • Children under 11: Free entry.
  • Disabled persons and their companions: Free entry.

Please note that if there are two children under the age of 11, one adult ticket must be purchased.

Visiting the Sagrada Familia involves exploring different sections of the site. The Sagrada Familia comprises several sections:

The Basilica

This main section of the Sagrada Familia consists of five naves, built in the shape of a Latin cross. The roof is supported by unique angled pillars, creating a forest-like effect with dappled light filtering through.

Gaudi Museum

The museum houses a recreation of Antoni Gaudi's workshop, showcasing his materials and mockups.

School Building

Designed by Gaudi in 1909, this building was originally intended for the children of workers. Its design is reminiscent of the Casa Milà.

The Towers

The exterior of the Sagrada Familia features four towers representing the 12 apostles on each of the three facades (Nativity, Passion, and Glory). The Nativity Facade, designed by Gaudi, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. The Passion Facade, designed by Josep Maria Subirachs, has faced criticism for its abstract style. The Glory Facade, still unfinished, is expected to be the most stunning once completed and adorned with its missing four towers.

How to get to the Sagrada Familia

Address: The Sagrada Familia is located at 401 Mallorca Street, in the Eixample district of Barcelona.

Metro: You can take Metro lines 2 and 5, which both stop at the Sagrada Familia station.

Walking: If you're in Barcelona's Old City, you can take a 30 to 40-minute walk to reach the Sagrada Familia.

When to visit the Sagrada Familia

Opening Hours: The Basilica is open to visitors every day of the year, but opening hours can vary due to special events.

Avoiding Crowds: To avoid the largest crowds, it's recommended to visit early on weekday mornings.

Duration of Visit: A complete visit to the Sagrada Familia typically takes around 2 to 3 hours.

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