Amazing Architecture; Barcelona, Spain


Maria Ruiz, Author

Barcelona, Spain is a lively, vibrant, and zestful city. The mixture of Gothic, Romanesque, modernist architecture and contemporary styles make up the artistic atmosphere. One amazing work of architecture, possibly one of the most famous Barcelona landmarks, is still being constructed today: La Sagrada Família.

What is La Sagrada Família?

The Sagrada Família is a Roman Catholic church designed by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect known as the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s main work was the amazing Sagrada Família. The origins of Sagrada Família are around 1866 when a congregation of devotees of St. Joseph had the idea of building a temple in his honor. Construction began March 19, 1882 and is still being constructed 140 years later. The church, when completed, will have three facades each with their own theme and style: the Nativity Facade (dedicated to the birth of Jesus), the Passion Facade (dedicated to the passion of Christ) and the Glory Facade (dedicated to the glory of Jesus). The original designs calls for 18 spires in total, representing the 12 Apostles, the four Evangelists, Mary and Jesus. Today, only eight spires have been completed and it is expected that when the building is complete, it will be the tallest church in the world. The Sagrada Família we all know today is only about 70% completed. The church opened to the public November 7, 2010, consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in front of a congregation of 6,500 people.

Why is Sagrada Família famous?

Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2018: Sagrada Família exterior, Nativity Facade – The Chorus of baby angels celebrating the birth of Jesus and looking over the manger. (Getty Images)

The Sagrada Família is famous for being one of the most iconic examples of Antoni Gaudí’s unique style. The theme of nature figures prominently in Gaudí’s design, both in terms of symbolism and the use of organic shapes and forms. This grand church has vast details, symbolism, and beautiful stained glass. The outside of the church has the combination of elements of Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish Late Gothic design. Today, about 4.5 million people visit the Sagrada Família each year, with a further 20 million people visiting the area just to look at it. 

History of Damage

In the past there have been attacks on this church. In 1936, anarchists broke into the building and unfortunately burned the majority of Gaudi’s original models and designs for the structure. Most recently, on April 19, 2011, an arsonist started a small fire in the sacristy which forced the evacuation of tourists and construction workers. The sacristy was damaged, and the fire took 45 minutes to contain. Nearly 1,500 visitors were evacuated from the basilica, which hosts over 2.5 million tourists annually. Only four had to be treated for smoke inhalation. The suspected arsonist was arrested and the basilica was restored of the damages.

Further Information

If you are interested in touring this beautiful church you can get tickets or do the online virtual tour. Antoni Gaudi’s grave is within the bascilia, so the next time you or anyone you know is going to Spain for an enjoyable time be sure to ask about the grand Sagrada Família!