One of the most famous buildings in Spain had its construction started in 1882. And it’s still not completed. It’s estimated that Gaudi’s Sagrada Família in Barcelona will finally be fully completed in 2026. Gaudi himself died exactly one hundred years before that year. The basilica was about one fifth of the way built at that time.
Of course, the death of the architect caused delays, as did the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and various economic depressions. Vandalism and even a highly destructive fire in 2011 also played their part in delaying the construction.
Gaudi was aware that he wouldn’t see the completion of the cathedral he designed but said:
There is no reason to regret that I cannot finish the church. I will grow old but others will come after me. What must always be conserved is the spirit of the work, but its life has to depend on the generations it is handed down to and with whom it lives and is incarnated.
Despite this, some authorities have said that the building should remain unfinished as a tribute to the architect but as we can see from the above quote, Gaudi thought otherwise.
You don’t have to wait until 2026 to visit the cathedral though. You can access the nave, crypt, museum, shop, and the Passion and Nativity towers. Entrance to either of the towers requires a reservation and advance purchase of a ticket. Access is possible only by elevator and a short walk up the remainder of the towers to the bridge between the towers. Descent is via a very narrow spiral staircase of over 300 steps – unsuitable for those of limited mobility.
The Barcelona City Pass provides access and tours to other Gaudi-designed buildings plus other Barcelona landmarks and tours. You can find out more here.
How to Find Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family
Carrer de Mallorca, 401,