The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a Roman Catholic basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) and probably the most emblematic of all Barcelona’s attractions. It is the second most visited church in Europe after the Vatican and is among the top three attractions in Spain, along with the Prado Museum in Madrid and the Alhambra in Granada. La Sagrada Família consists of 4500 square metres and can hold 8000 people.
Construction of Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and Gaudí began working on the project in 1883. He combined Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms and the basilica became his life’s work. Still incomplete, La Sagrada Família, was projected to be finished in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic construction has been slowed and a new projected completion date has not yet been announced.
In 1866 Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer, the owner of a religious bookstore, founded the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph. After returning from a visit to the Vatican in 1872, Bocabella wanted to build a church inspired by the basilica at Loreto.
In 1881, enabled by various donations, the Association purchased a 12,800m² plot of land, located between the streets of Marina, Provença, Sardenya, and Mallorca, to build a temple on.
Works began in 1882 following the Neo-gothic design drawn up by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano. He resigned from the post of chief architect and the job fell to Antoni Gaudí who began work on the church in 1883. Gaudí was young and unknown at that time, he had just turned 31.
In 1914, Gaudí began to work exclusively on the Temple, to which he would dedicate the rest of his life. He died in an accident 1926 and he is buried in the crypt of the temple. His disciple Domènec Sugranyes then took over the project.
Construction was financed by private donations and work was interupted by the Spanish Civil War. In 1936, anarchists set fire to the crypt, broke into Gaudí’s workshop and destroyed many of Gaudí’s original plans, drawings and plaster models. It took 16 years of work to recreate the master model. George Orwell famously wrote in Homage to Catalonia, “[The anarchists] showed bad taste in not blowing it up when they had the chance.”
In 2005, the Nativity façade and crypt were named a UNESCO world heritage site. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the La Sagrada Familia as a basilica.
As an expiatory temple, La Sagrada Família has always been funded through individual donations. It is being built, preserved and restored by the Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.
Visit La Sagrada Família
Open hours are Monday through Sunday, from 9:00AM to 8:00PM.The link below leads to our affiliate Tiqets.
La Sagrada Família is situated in the Barcelona district of Eixample and in the neighborhood also called Sagrada Família.
The completion of La Sagrada Família was planned to be in 2026, the centenary of architect Antoni Gaudí’s death. However, due to the pause in construction resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the temple will not be finished by then. A new projected completion date has not yet been announced.
On competion the central tower will reach 170 meters tall.
Masses are free for the faithful. Mass is celebrated every Sunday at nine in the morning and on Saturdays at eight in the afternoon. It is recommended to go an hour early.