Barcelona Top Travel Tips

Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia: its past and future


Article updated 23 March, 2020. 0 comments

Discover the Sagrada Familia and its history as well as the alluring future finished state of this masterpiece. Prepare to be surprised!

the Sagrada Familia

Do not leave Barcelona without taking in the Sagrada Familia and its history. You will regret it if you do! This incomparable masterpiece is constantly evolving so you can come back and visit it as many times as you like, and if one thing is certain it’s that you will never stop being impressed!

The Sagrada Familia in numbers…

  • 43 years: This is how long Gaudí devoted to the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family, in English). At 31 years old he agreed to direct the project. He imagined a temple with 5 naves, a cross, an awning, an external walkway serving the cloisters, three facades and 18 towers. mockup sagrada familia
  • 18 towers: The number of towers that Gaudí envisaged. The 12 lowest ones, 8 of which are already built, are dedicated to the apostles. 4 higher ones to the evangelists, one above the awning with the largest diameter to the Virgin Mary and the largest of them dominating the whole temple would be dedicated to Jesus.
  • 170 metres: The height of the tower of Jesus, the highest tower of the Sagrada Familia.
  • 4,500 square metres: The surface area of the plan of the basilica.
  • 14,000 people: The number of people that the temple is able to hold inside. Impressive!

The Sagrada Familia and its history in dates…

sagrada familia 1910

  • In 1872: A particularly religious bookseller named Josep Maria Bocabella bought a piece of land with the aim of building a religious temple dedicated to the holy family, and financed by religious alms.
  • In 1882: The project was offered to Francesc de Paula Villar. Shortly after the crypt columns were built, Villar resigned due to differences with Joan Martorell, Bocabella’s technical adviser.
  • In 1883: Gaudí took up the project and devoted himself body and soul for forty years to this complex and ambitious adventure.
  • In 1892: following construction of the crypt, Gaudí began work on the Nativity façade. Well aware that Sagrada Familia would not be completed in his lifetime, he decided to focus exclusively on this façade in order to demonstrate his spectacular vision for the rest of Sagrada Familia.
  • In 1926: On the 7th of June Gaudí was hit by a tram and he died 3 days later. He was almost 74 years old.
  • In 1936: During the Civil War, revolutionaries started a fire inside Sagrada Familia, damaging the plans, photographs, studies and models left by Gaudí.
  • In 1954: Work resumed on the Sagrada Familia after 28 years.
  • In 1976: The 4 towers on the Nativity façade were finally completed.
  • 7 November 2010: Sagrada Familia was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI, who accorded the church basilica status. Work was accelerated in preparation for the event: the naves of the church were covered, the spectacular stained glass windows by Joan Vila Grau were installed, and the main altar and baldaquin were brought in.
  • In 2026? Who knows for sure when the Sagrada Familia will be finished? Some say 2026. currently the works are going well and the transformations are spectacular, so why not?

sagrada familia drawing

The Sagrada Familia in a futurist video

To give you an idea of the attractions of the Sagrada Familia in a few years’ time, almost certainly in 2026, take a look at this surprising video based on synthesised images. There is still a lot of work to do, with 35% of the basilica still unfinished. But the imposing result is very exciting.

  • For more information on Sagrada Familia, its history, symbolism, glasswork, towers, museum and more, don’t miss our in-depth article: Sagrada Familia.
  • To find out about the various guided tour options we’ve tested, check out: info, tips, prices and comparisons

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  • Fast-track tickets: Sagrada Familia + Parc Güell
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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!