What Is Sagrada Familia In English

Sagrada Família, or Holy Family, is an unfinished Roman Catholic basilica located in Barcelona, Spain. Construction on the majestic temple began in 1882 and continues to this day, under the directorship of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.

The project was commissioned by parish priest Josep Maria Bocabella, in 1877, who wished to create a church representing the Catholic faith that would accommodate the growing population of Barcelona. Bocabella wanted to create a church dedicated to the Holy Family, in keeping with Barcelona’s “faithful” culture of the period.

The original plan for the structure was based on Passionist Priest Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano’s Neo-Gothic design, but he stepped back from the project in 1883, after disagreements with Bocabella. Soon after, Antoni Gaudí presented his radically modernist design and was taken on as the lead architect.

Gaudí took the Sagrada Família project in a completely new direction, combining Gothic, Art Nouveau and Catalan modernism material. His architectural style was heavily influenced by his admiration for the natural environment and his own personal religious and spiritual beliefs. Having planned every intricate detail of the exterior, including the eighteen splendid spires and four bell towers, Gaudí undertook the interior works but was tragically killed by a trolley car in 1926 and the project was consequently left unfinished.

Despite some public opposition, in recent decades the Sagrada Família project has received increasing support and attention. Hundreds of workers have been involved in its construction over the years, although progress was significantly hindered in the 1930s, with the Spanish Civil War and Catalan Anarchism slowing progress. Today, the Sagrada Família serves as a major cultural attraction and is the most popular tourist destination in Spain.

Over the years, the foundation supporting the project has faced a series of financial and technical issues. Both the redevelopment of the zoning laws, in 1967, and the shock of the economic crisis in Spain in 2008 put the completion of the temple in jeopardy. Throughout this time, however, the foundation has continued its plans to make the dream a reality, further developing Gaudí’s visionary design.

Currently, the Sagrada Família project is advancing towards its completion objectives. An estimated €25 million euro is needed for its completion, with the main works set for completion around the year 2026. In order to finance the project, the foundation has implemented a wide range of fundraising techniques, ranging from private donations to government subsidies, and even selling the rights to its images and materials.


The Sagrada Família is widely recognised as one of the world’s most iconic religious structures. Its elevated design, which features modernist artistry, is undoubtedly one of Gaudí’s most extraordinary achievements. The exterior of the basilica is divided into three distinct sections; the Nativity facade, the Passion facade and the Glory facade.

Gaudí’s design for the Nativity facade, the entrance to the temple, presents Jesus Christ’s birth. Its main theme reflects the beauty of nature and is complemented by the image of the Eternal Father looking over Joseph and Mary.

The Passion facade, located at the eastern side of the building, represents Jesus’ death. It is carved with painfully sad figures and traditional Catalan ornamentation that convey a mix of religious and secular attributes.

The Glory façade, situated on the temple’s western side, is higher than the other two facades. Its towering spires appear to be reaching towards the skies and were designed to depict the entrance of souls on judgement day.

Exterior Design and Characteristics

The exterior of the church is characterised by nuances of grey, scattered with hints of yellow. Similarly to the other Gaudí works, the Sagrada Família is teeming with luscious greens, soaring spires and large stone columns that all act to cohesively integrate the main body of the building into the surrounding environment.

The iconic figures that adorn the building are also testament to Gaudí’s lingering eye for detail and highlight his ingenuity whilst leading the project. On the exterior, visitors will also find several stained-glass windows, created by famed Barcelona-based designer Joan Vila Grau, who used a range of distinct shapes, tones and colours to represent the many monoliths in the Sagrada Família narrative.

Interior Design and Characteristics

On the interior, the basilica is equally as captivating and represents Gaudí’s audacious use of lines, shapes and elements from nature. This synthesis of design has been described as a “living church” and is one of the few examples of its kind that can be found around the world.

The Sagrada Família’s labyrinthine interior, akin to its exterior, is illuminated with stained-glass accents, which combined with its intricate columns and pillars, step back from the more traditional religious architecture. Its domed roof, modestly curved and supported from the inside the structure, was designed to further evoke associations between the church and its natural surrounds.

Cultural Significance and Legacy

The Sagrada Família stands in testament to Gaudí’s genius, revealing the inventor and creator on an even grander scale than that of the other works that have been credited to his name. Furthermore, its undeniable spiritual qualities, both on the inside and out, have cemented the religious temple as one of the most impressive man-made works today.

In its modern day usage, the church has become a revered symbol of Catalonia and its people. When the sun sets, it glitters in front of the Tramuntana Mountains, embodying its aim to become “the most beautiful building in the world”. As such, its structure binds symbolism of both faith and modernity, which hold true amongst a generation of believers and non-believers alike.

Economic Significance

The Sagrada Família is not only a symbol of faith, hope and passion in Barcelona – it is also a major hub of economic activity. Its annual influx of 5.5 million visitors has had a great effect on the Barcelonan economy, generating millions of euros in taxes and millions of investment in infrastructure and services. In fact, it has been estimated that visitors to Barcelona leave €12 million of spending money in the city each year.

This trickle-down effect has helped sustain and improve the livelihoods of the locals, offering direct and indirect jobs, as well as increased revenues to small businesses.


The Sagrada Família is a protected historical monument and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, requiring special precautions to be taken in order to ensure its longevity for future generations.

The preservation process is both lengthy and complex, due to the fragile nature of the materials used in the structure and its age. The current crew of conservators, led by Jordá Coenders, use sophisticated laser technology and 3D modelling to scan the work in order to create a complete inventory of the pieces to be cleaned and restored.

Aside from the external upkeep of the structure, ongoing archaeological investigations have also been necessary, with the excavation taking place in and around the temple in order to uncover its history and deeper meaning.

Social Impact

The construction of the Sagrada Família has been, and continues to be, an unifying effort amongst all citizens of Barcelona. During Gaudí’s time, Barcelona was a divided society, and the project served as a form of catharsis in which individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life could come together to build something of iconic stature.

To this day, the project serves as a reminder of solidarity and a source of inspiration for all its citizens, provoking feelings of hope and admiration in the process.

Environmental Impact

The Sagrada Família foundation is committed to an effective sustainability strategy in all its restoration efforts. For instance, they are dedicated to the use of effective energy practices such as the introduction of solar panels to power the structure, as well as the reforestation of certain areas near the building.

Furthermore, they strive to promote sound eco-tourism by encouraging and supporting the use of public transportation and pedestrian routes to reach the temple. The foundation has also sponsored a range of local environmental initiatives and has implemented a policy for the use of eco-friendly materials for its building system.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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