The construction of the expiatory temple La Sagrada Familia is a church set in the Eixample Dreta area, started in 1882 by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, who herewith aimed at purging the sins of the modern city. By the end of 1883, the pious modernist architect Antoni Gaudi got in charge of the building work. The architect fully appropriated the project and completely devoted himself to it for the rest of his life until his death in 1926, the last years even full-time, living on the site. Since 1952 different both national and foreign architects resumed the building works. Because of many gifts, including from Japanese companies, the works have been going faster the last years and the end is currently foreseen around 2025.
Full of very original symbols inspired by nature, the Sagrada Familia is one of the emblems of Barcelona, receiving some five million visitors a year. The complexity of the building is stunning. The Nativity façade is the most completed section, and has, together with its four towers, entirely been realised by Gaudí. As in other parts of the church, the façade combines scenes from the Bible with elements of flora, fauna and Catalan legends. The apse was the first section that Gaudi completed, from there a staircase takes you down to the crypt that Gaudi also constructed and where he is buried.
Another façade, the Passion façade, was completed by the Catalan artist Josep Maria Subirachs with sober and haunting sculptures. This work, together with other modern works, has been admired by many and criticised by many others. Because contemporary architects work following their own inspiration, more or less faithful to Gaudi’s spirit, since the master didn’t leave any concluding blueprints behind; besides they also use materials that didn’t exist yet in Gaudi’s time.
When visiting the temple, you will definitely remark the protest banners on the balcony of many neighbours. They don’t agree with the excavation of the tunnel for the high-speed train AVE underneath the building that turned into the image of the city, out of fear it might lead to irreparable damages to this UNESCO World Heritage Fund Site.
La Sagrada Familia
Pl Sagrada Família, 26