The Sagrada Familia – the Most Photographed Landmark in Barcelona

The Expiatori Temple of the Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous Spanish sights and it certainly is Barcelona’s symbol in the minds of all tourists who have visited or will visit this fascinating country. This gigantic church located in the Eixample district, in the North of the city and whose steeples overlook the entire town, is still under construction. However, it was nominated on the list of the New Seven Wonders of the world.

Sagrada Familia Tours

Skip the Line: Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour

Visit the famous La Sagrada Familia with a knowledgeable local guide, learning all about the UNESCO-listed cathedral and its charismatic creator: Antoni Gaudi. Book Now
Best of Barcelona Tour including Sagrada Familia

Perfect for first-time visitors, the tour will show you the city’s most iconic sights and allow you to discover some of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. Book Now
Sagrada Familia Tour Including Tower Entry

After exploring the cathedral, visit the museum to see an array of cathedral artifacts. Then, climb up one of the magnificent towers for a bird’s-eye views over Barcelona.Book Now
Artistic Barcelona Including Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia

Discover the famoys Modernist masterpieces created by Antoni Gaudi on a 3.5-hour afternoon tour of Barcelona, led by an expert local guide! Enjoy the city’s best and explore its soul! Book now

Sagrada Familia – Historical Background

The history of this world famous site began in 1882 when Josep M. Bocabella bought land to build a chapel to honor the Holy Family. Because of some disputes with Francesc de Paula Villar, the first architect chosen for this project, the construction was awarded to Antoni Gaudi who devoted the last sixteen years of his life to it.

Sagrada FamiliaHe made several changes to the original draft, adding his ambition and futuristic style. Impregnated by religious beliefs, he saw this project as a sacred mission. Therefore, he designed a 95 meters long and 60 meters wide temple, surmounted by a central spire of 170 meters high and by 17 others of 100 meters or more. His ambition was monumental. The architect installed on-site workshops where he trained artisans to produce the decorations he wanted.

With a kind of budding movement of the stone, the arrows take a curved contour and the decoration elements are carefully thought of. The enrollment and color patterns on their peak are very accurate and almost invisible to the amateur eye. When the absurdity of such precision for something that would never be seen was pointed out, Gaudi retorted: “the angels will see”.

At his death, Antoni Gaudi left behind several plans, sketches and completed projects. Unfortunately, ten years later, they were all destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Although this project created great controversy, work continues on it and it is likely to last till 2026, when the centenary of Antoni Gaudi’s death will be celebrated. The current artists adhere more or less the vision of Antoni Gaudi, but not in the details and many things have been changed to suit to modern aesthetics and to style of the contemporary architects.

Sagrada Familia – Architectural Details

Both sides that are currently visible are, in fact, the lateral ones, while on the main one (devoted to Glory and crowned with four towers), construction works haven’t been achieved yet.

Sagrada Familia facadeThe first one is the facade of the Nativity (fachada del nacimiento) which was built entirely under Gaudi’s supervision. It is organized around three portals devoted to Hope, Charity and Faith. Four towers stand below the entrance and should accommodate chimes with complex musical features. The second is the Passion facade, which evokes the last days of Christ’s life. The interior of the cathedral has a wide nave accompanied by an impressive forest of pillars reaching towards the roof, with multiple branches. The church should be able to accommodate over 13.000 people on the aisles and the stands and a choir of 1500 people.

The entire building is an allegory of the Christian religion. The 12 arrows, for example, symbolize the 12 apostles, while the other five towers evoke Virgin Mary and the four evangelists and the huge 170 meters high spire will embody Jesus Christ. Amazing building of monumental proportions and detailed decorations, the Sagrada Familia is one of the craziest architectural ventures of this century. Despite the cranes and scaffolding, a strange beauty emerges from the place, whose imposing appearance stands out against the city and whose arrows rise into the sky in a harmonious symphony.

A UNESCO World Heritage landmark with over 2 million visitors a year, the Sagrada Familia is the most frequented tourist attraction in Barcelona. When visiting the Sagrada Familia, you can also enter the museum which is located inside the building, where the evolution of the Sagrada Familia, its history and the biography of Antoni Gaudi are displayed. There you will find pictures of the Sagrada Familia from the moment work began till today as well as models and drawings of the finished Sagrada Familia. The museum also houses the stone-cutting workshops that will be used for the building. A lift allows the visitors to reach the top of steeples, or they can also use the stairs. The Torre Agbar offers stunning views of the surroundings.