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Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia at your fingertips!
Spotlight on Sagrada Familia, Spain's most-visited church! Learn all about its history and discover architectural elements including the stained glass windows, façades, tower and museum... and don't miss the simulation of the "finished" basilica!
Metro: Sagrada Familia
25-26 December and 1-6 January: 9am -2pm
April to September: 9am - 8pm
November to February: 9am - 6pm
Full price: 15 euros
The Sagrada Familia basilica is the best-known and most ambitious project of the celebrated Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
This Art Nouveau masterpiece, featuring revolutionary architecture and packed with symbolism, has become the emblem of Barcelona. Paris? The Eiffel Tower. London? Big Ben. New York? The Statue of Liberty. Barcelona? Sagrada Familia, of course!
Whether you’re a believer, an atheist or an agonistic, a visit to Sagrada Familia is certain to be an amotional experience. It’s flamboyent, solemn, bright and packed with symbolism, and it’s totally unique: there’s nowhere else quite like it.
Important: book your tickets for the Sagrada Familia online because, due to its success, it’s nearly impossible to get them at the ticket office.
Sagrada Familia: a bit of history
Did you know?
- The basilica – a Roman Catholic church with certain special privileges – is named in honour of the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph and Jesus, seen on the Nativity Façade). “Sagrada Familia” is Spanish for “Holy Family”.
1866: the birth of a project
- In 1866, Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer, a pious Barcelona bookseller, founded a religious association with the aim of collecting donations from the faithful in order to build an expiatory temple devoted to the Holy Family.
- By 1881, the association had collected enough funs to buy land totalling 12,800 m2.
- In 1882, the architect Francesc de Paula Villar was recruited to carry out the project, and the first stone was laid on 19th March of the same year. Shortly after building the columns in the crypt, Villar resigned following irresolvable disagreements with Joan Martorell, Bocabella’s technical advisor.
1883-1926: the project of a lifetime: Antoni Gaudí
1883: Gaudí took over the Sagrada Familia project. His vision was for a temple featuring five naves, a transept, an apse, an external deambulatory for use as a cloister, three façades and 18 towers. He devoted himself to the ambitious and complex project, body and soul, for over 43 years!
1889: The crypt is finished.
1892: Work starts on the Nativity Façade.
- 1909: Gaudí decides to build schools for the sons of the workers involved in building Sagrada Familia, along with children from the area.
- 1911: Gaudí begins to consider starting work on the Passion Façade.
- From 1914, Gaudí devoted his life to Sagrada Familia. Obssessed by the ambitious project, he spent every day – and even his nights – working on the basilica.
- Work progressed slowly: the first bell tower on the Nativity Façade was not erected until 1925.
- On 7th June 1926, Antoni Gaudí was hit by a tram. He died 3 days later, just short of his 74th birthday. The architect is buried – fittingly – in the chapel in the crypt of Sagrada Familia.
1926- 1936: After Gaudí and the Civil War fire
- The belltowers on the Nativity Façade were completed in 1930.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. In July, revolutionaries set light to the crypt and the schools and destroyed the workshop. Most of the original plans, drawings, photos and models of Sagrada Familia were reduced to ashes.
Subirachs included a homage to Gaudí in his sculptures: the figure on the left is modeled on the architect himself, whilst the two knights echo those on the terrace at La Pedrera or Casa Milà on the Passeig de Gràcia.
The Glory Façade
This façade is intended to evoke Christ in Glory and his ascension into heaven.
Construction began in 2002 and will not be finished until around 2026. This will be the most monumental of the three façades, and, once finished, will house the main door into the Basilica.
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About the author
Valérie, the creator of Barcelona Top Travel Tips, loves discovering new places, finding the words to describe them, and coming up with little illustrations for the website. Her favourite thing in Barcelona is the unusual, curvy architectural features of some of the city’s buildings. Some say she’s a dreamer… in any case, a city full of works by Gaudí is a great place for her!