The roman-catholic basilica of Sagrada Familia is considered the master-piece of Antoní Gaudí.
This modernista architect has shaped the face of Barcelona like no one else.
A lot of his works like Casa Mila, Casa Batlló, Parc Güell and others have already gained UNESCO World Heritage status. But Sagrada Familia is by far the most famous and most impressive one.
When the construction began in 1882, the then 30-year old Gaudí already knew that it would not be finished during his life-time.
Eventually, the church will consist of three facades.
Nativity facade showing the birth of Jesus, Passion facade, dedicated to the suffering during his crucifixion and Glory facade, which will represent the road to God. Gaudí was highly involved in the construction of Nativity facade.
He tragically died in 1926 when he was run over by a tram. After the completion of Nativity facade in 1930 works were interrupted in 1936 due to the Spanish civil war.
Worse than that the original construction plans have been destroyed by Spanish anarchists.
Thus there has been and still is dispute whether constructions should be continued. Some claim the construction should be left unfinished to respect the work of Antoní Gaudí.
However Gaudí himself was aware of the fact that construction would take many generations after his death. He even wanted Sagrada Familia to represent the styles of different architects from different generations, thus he only made a rough sketch of Glory facade, which is under construction since 2002.
While in the beginning of the 20th centrury the works have been expected to continue for several centuries, technological progress and generous funding have significantly increased the speed of construction.
The budget of 20 million Euros annually nowadays is mainly derived from tourism. So you can support the completion by visiting the most spectacular construction site of the world like 2.5 million others per year.
For a special view, take one of the elevators to the top of the building.
Insider tip:Use the elevator on the side of the Nativity facade. Here you have to make the way down by yourself on the stairs. But this gives you some private time with the building and the queues are much shorter than near the main entrance on the Passion facade.
The interior of Sagrada Familia has been finished in September 2010, since when it is open for worship. On November 7th 2010 it was finally consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI. The extensive exterior works however will continue for another decade or two. On the southern side outside Glory facade, half a block of houses will be knocked down to create space for a large stairway spanning Carrer Mallorca and leading to the main entrance. Eventually, the Jesus Christ Tower will crown the building and make it the highest church in the world with 170 metres. This is one meter lower than the mountain of Montjuic since Gaudí believed his building should not exceed the work of God. The final completion of Sagrada Familia is expected for 2026, the 100th anniversary of the death of Antoní Gaudí.