The Sagrada Familia is one of the famous landmarks in Barcelona and translates to: Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. The full name is the Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. This landmark attracts around 4.5 million visitors annually! It’s high time to share the 10 most interesting facts about La Sagrada Familia.

1. Endless Construction Project

Since the construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882, the basilica has almost always been under scaffolding. There was a brief interruption during the Spanish Civil War, when construction was halted.

Outside of this period, construction has been ongoing, funded by donations from the many visitors. Due to the lengthy construction process, it has even become necessary to renovate some parts of the basilica. Despite the ongoing construction, the basilica was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

2. Architect Gaudí

At the age of 31, the architect Gaudí started the Sagrada Familia project. He completely altered the original commission and took a completely different direction. One of his beliefs was that no one could surpass God’s work; for this reason, the church was made 30 cm shorter than the highest natural peak in Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s masterpiece, and he devoted a significant part of his life to it. He even lived there in his final years. After a tragic traffic accident in 1926, he was buried in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia, “his work.”

3. A Church of Atonement

church of salvation
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La Sagrada Familia is an “atonement church” and can only be funded by gifts and donations. This is one of the reasons why construction has taken so long. Since the Sagrada Familia is now a popular tourist attraction where admission fees can be charged, construction is progressing faster. Gaudí’s original idea was that people, seeing the church being built step by step, would be impressed by its beauty and want to donate more.

4. Towers

towers of the church
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La Sagrada Familia will eventually have 18 towers. The central tower symbolizes Jesus. The three facades each depict a phase from Jesus’ life. Each facade has four bell towers, symbolizing the twelve apostles. In addition to the twelve apostles, there are four towers for evangelists, built around the central tower dedicated to Jesus. The other tower is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

5. Influence of Nature

Anton Veselov /

Experts discover many features of nature in the Sagrada Familia, with many different species and natural forms. For example, the church’s columns resemble trees and branches. On the bases of the columns, you can see turtles, symbolizing land and sea.

6. Face

face gaudi
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Those with a keen eye can spot interesting details. You can find Gaudí’s face depicted twice. In the Passion Facade, to the left of Veronica, you see two soldiers and a follower with Gaudí’s face. Additionally, his face can be seen in the Nativity Facade in the face of Joseph. This was a tribute from the workers to Gaudí after he passed away.

7. Lighthouse

Albert Nowicki /

La Sagrada Familia incorporates modern technology in its design. The basilica has a mosaic on the roof that functions as a lighthouse, reflecting the bright lights of the moon from the highest tower. This light will shine over Barcelona like a lighthouse.

8. UNESCO World Heritage

Vladimir Sazonov /

Despite not being completed, La Sagrada Familia has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984. The basilica has unique architecture and is one of the seven Gaudí buildings included in this list. Notably, the basilica was added to the World Heritage list in two phases, in 1984 and 2005.

9. Spanish Civil War

spanish civil war
CastecoDesign /

Gaudí created numerous designs and drawings during his life, which were used as guidelines by his successors after his death in 1926. However, many of these designs were lost in a fire during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. When construction resumed, the team had to reconstruct the design from remnants and memories.

10. Climbing

climing the sagrada familia
Nanisimova /

Finally, did you know that you can climb the towers of La Sagrada Familia? You can ascend to the highest point accessible on the Passion Facade. You can also choose one of the other towers, such as the Nativity Facade, which has the longest bridge to walk between the towers. There is even an option to take the elevator halfway up the towers, offering a breathtaking view of Barcelona!

Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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