Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia finally has a building completion date after more than 140 years

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia finally has a building completion date after more than 140 years

Featured Image Credit: Sir Francis Canker Photography/Alexander Spatari

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia finally has a building completion date after more than 140 years

The project began over a century ago but one element has proven controversial

The world’s oldest construction project finally has a finish date so you better start booking your tickets to Barcelona.

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, has been a bit delayed in the past.

In fact, that is quite an understatement as the church’s construction began on March 19, 1882.

So, 144 years later, the world can enjoy and visit the tourist attraction in all of its glory.

The president of the organization tasked with completing Antoni Gaudí’s masterwork announced the date last Wednesday.

While the building is set to be completed by this date, there is still a catch.

The church's construction began on March 19, 1882.

Xavi Lopez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The actual work on sculptures and decorative details wont yet be finished. But it is still a massive milestone for a building which has been paused multiple times and come to a near standstill on progress over generations.

The website for the attraction admits that progress has been slow but in 2026, the powers that be are hoping the building will at least be completed.

The year will also coincide with the centenary of Gaudi’s death, so an added touch.

“The death of Gaudi was one of the first instances to have halted the progress of the church’s construction. Ten years later, when the Spanish Civil War broke out, the construction was halted. The vandals who destroyed the models and plans for the basilica did no favors to the progress,” the website states.

“Over the years, the construction of Sagrada Familia 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.

Tourists can enjoy the completed building in 2026, if things go as planned.

Xavi Lopez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“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.”

Despite this good news and positive step forward, there still remains controversy surrounding the inclusion of a stairway in the building.

The stairway, which will eventually lead to the main entrance, will extend across two large city blocks and will result in about 1,000 families and businesses being dislodged.

Esteve Camps, the Executive Chairman of the Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família Foundation, has defended the inclusion of the stairway and said it was always part of the architects’ original plan.

“We are following Gaudí’s plan to the letter, he said.

“We are his heirs and we can’t renounce his project. The plan presented to the local authority in 1915, which was signed by Gaudí, includes the stairway.”

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia has nearly been completed after more than 140 years

Construction on the iconic building began in 1882

Emily Brown

Emily Brown

It’s been around for longer than any of us, but after 140 years the Sagrada Familia in Spain is only just nearing its completion.

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia nearly completed
Credit: X/@sagradafamilia
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That’s right – I said ‘nearing’. Countless buildings have popped up in the last century, but the Sagrada Familia is still not done.

Still, locals in Barcelona have recently been able to celebrate a milestone in its construction as the church’s four iconic towers have officially been completed.

The towers were completed with the addition of two sculptures.

Facebook/Basílica de la Sagrada Família

Each one of the towers represents one of the four evangelists; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who are credited with writing the gospels which told the story of Jesus’ life.

Symbols to honor Matthew and John were installed on the iconic church last week, with Matthew represented by a statue of a man, while John’s tower is marked with an eagle.

The statues joined sculptures of a lion, symbolising Mark, and an ox, which represents Luke, which were installed last year.

The completion of the towers comes 141 years after the first stone was laid at the Sagrada Familia in 1882. The world-renowned building was designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, who, needless to say, sadly hasn’t lived to see the building in its finished state.

Gaudí is now buried in the church’s crypt as the construction continues to complete his vision: a church with 18 towers which each symbolizing a different biblical figure.

The eagle represents John's tower.

Facebook/Basílica de la Sagrada Família

To mark the milestone moment of the completed evangelist towers, a celebratory mass is set to take place next month.

The Sagrada Familia Facebook page wrote: “The four towers of the Evangelists are finished! Soon we’ll be celebrating this building milestone!”

The four evangelist towers will be illuminated when the inauguration mass is held on 12 November, after which they will stay lit up until Christmas.

With the four towers now complete, construction workers will turn their attention to the church’s central and tallest tower, which is dedicated to Jesus Christ.

The final tower is set to stand at 172.5 meters tall (566 feet), and will be crowned with a 17-meter-tall (56-foot) cross.

The final tower to be completed is dedicated to Jesus Christ.

Facebook/Basílica de la Sagrada Família

While it might seem like the church will never be fully finished, it does actually have an end date in sight – and one that really isn’t too far away.

The Sagrada Familia is currently expected to be finished in 2026; the same year that will mark the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.

When it’s finally complete, the Sagrada Familia will overtake Ulm Minster in Germany to become the world’s tallest church.

 

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