Want to learn Spanish just minutes from the Sagrada Familia? With Enforex, you're in luck! Our Spanish school in Barcelona is located right in the Eixample district, where Gaudí's funky Modernista buildings flank the wide boulevards. This means that when you sign up for any of the diverse Spanish courses we offer, you'll be mere steps from the stunning basilica.
Read on for all sorts of background information about this undeniably one-of-a-kind church, and we hope to see you soon here in Barcelona!
One of the world's most iconic religious buildings is not even finished yet. Nonetheless, the Sagrada Familia is among the Spain's most popular attractions, with millions of visitors flocking to it every year.
Whilst the building was actually started by Francisco de Paula Villar, it was Antonio Gaudi who took over in 1884 by finishing the underground crypt that Villar had begun and 'gaudifying' the original plans to give La Sagrada Familia a unique twist and a revolutionary design.
The Roman Catholic Basilica began to take shape little by little as Gaudi worked on it alongside his numerous other projects around the city of Barcelona. However, as he grew older, the immense project consumed him and required all his efforts. The last 15 years of his life were spent working solely on the Sagrada Famlia and he died on the site of the basilica, leaving his most infamous masterpiece incomplete.
During Gaudi's lifetime he pretty well completed the Nativity Façade which covers the eastern side of the building. The unusual shapes employed give the structure typical gaudiesque touches, letting the imagination run wild as the carefully carved stonework appears to drip off the building.
Since Gaudi's death in 1926, the Sagrada Familia has been passed from architect to architect and much controversy has risen from over who and how the spectacular building should be completed. Initially Domènech Sugranyes took charge of the construction and worked on the completion of the first 8 towers and the nativity façade until the Spanish Civil War began in 1936. Since then, the majority of Gaudi's original plans have been lost and work on the basilica today tends to fuse an interpretation of a gaudiesque style with a modern take on the essence of the building.
The other completed façade is the Passion façade which was designed by Catalan sculptor Josep Subirachs. His ideas are somewhat different to that of Gaudi's and serve as a stark contrast to the Nativity façade which oozes grandeur and drips with rich decoration. The Passion façade is punctuated by bare spaces, emphasising the harsh pain of Chirst's crucifixion.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia still has a long way to go in terms of completion, however means are in place to speed up building work and get it finished in time for the centenary anniversary of Gaudi's death in 2026. Since the 1980's Jordi Bonet i Armengol has been in charge of taking construction work into the 21st century by using computer technology to aid engineering and design. Despite being over 80, Armengol is determined to continue work on the masterpiece, but there is still a long way to go. The Glory façade is yet to be started and there are 10 towers missing to complete Gaudi's original idea of having 18 dotting the skyline at varying heights (12 representing the Apostles; 4 the Evangelists, and the final two the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.)
Despite the building being incomplete, it is well worth visiting and millions of people enjoy the novelty of seeing such an immense thing whilst it is under construction. The actuality of the Sagrada Familia makes it something really special, as so many great religious buildings pay homage to ancient architecture, Gaudi's basilica is so special as it forms part of our time and the opportunity to see it come together should not be missed. Visitors are also essential to the completion of the Sagrada Familia, seeing as the only funding it gets is via entry fees and donations.
Sagrada Familia Opening Hours and Entrance Fees:
Standard Entry: €8 (plus guided tour + €3.50)
Student Concession: €5
Lift up the towers: €2