History of the Monument
The construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and it is the greatest masterpiece of the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi’s plan was to design and build a symbolic representation of the Christian faith in the form of a grand basilica. He designed the building plan for the temple based on the combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles, creating a new and revolutionary style. Gaudi also drew inspiration from nature, incorporating elements from vegetal and animal life into his temple design. Gaudi dedicated the rest of his life to the construction of the basilica and he died in 1926, leaving the project unfinished. His successor, Francesc de Paula, continued the construction and he was the first builder to add modern elements to the complex.
In 1931, the Sagrada Familia was declared an official monument of Barcelona and in 1984, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since then, four other architects have continued the construction, sticking to the original design as closely as possible and faithfully respecting Gaudi’s vision. Today, the construction is still ongoing and it is expected to be completed in 2026.
The entrance to the Sagrada Familia is located at Carrer de Mallorca, 401. It is marked by a beautiful, monumental gate, facing the street. This is the main entrance and the most commonly used one, located as it is on the basis of the monument. It is usually a busy entrance with a lot of people coming and going so it is important to be aware of your belongings and stay alert. The nearby street is filled with souvenir shops and there is also a ticket office where you can buy your tickets for a guided tour inside the basilica.
If you are planning to visit the Sagrada Familia, it is advised to arrive early in order to be able to avoid long queues and to have enough time to explore the complex and its surroundings. You can also buy a combination ticket which grants you access to both the basilica and the Sagrada Familia visitor center. The visitor center is an interesting place to get more information about Gaudi’s most iconic work and admire the exhibitions about the history of the monument.
The Sagrada Familia was designed to be an iconic representation of Christianity and has been planned to look like a temple of penitence, a temple of glory and a temple of light. Inside the basilica, astonishing works of art can be seen, from sculptures created in plaster, wood, or stone to paintings, mosaics, and stained glass. Gaudi himself curated most of the decorations inside and he personally directed the installations of the furniture, sculptures and stained glass to match his original design.
One of the most impressive features inside the temple is the Nativity Façade, a creation of Gaudi himself, located on the eastern side of the complex. It is composed of a tower crowned with a giant star of Bethlehem and has been named one of the most beautiful architectural wonders of Barcelona. Other impressive details are the Saint Joseph Tower, which stands as a symbol of grandeur, and the Church of the Holy Family, adorned with murals and frescoes.
Touring the Complex
The Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited monuments in Barcelona and it can be toured by those interested in admiring its intricate details and admiring the magnificence from inside. The visit usually starts in the cloister and it continues with the exploration of the church, the museums and the crypts, which are full of exquisite pieces of art and artifacts that tell the story of the basilica. Depending on the tour you chose, it could also include a visit to the Sagrada Museum and the Contemporary Space, where works of modern art can be seen.
Those who wish to explore the complex on their own can do so by purchasing a ticket to the gardens, located at the northern side of the temple. The gardens are home to a variety of Mediterranean plants and offer great views to the basilica, allowing visitors to admire its design.
The Sagrada Familia organizes regular promotional events with the goal of educating the public about the monument and its importance. The events usually include conferences, art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural activities, mainly focused on the history and significance of the monument. Most of them take place in the Sagrada Familia auditorium and some are organized in collaboration with other institutions such as museums, universities and schools. Participation in these events is free of charge, although some of them may require pre-registration.
Every year at Christmas, the Sagrada Familia organizes an event called the Nativity Fair, where visitors can purchase hand-crafted sculptures and tons of other colorful products related to the monument. This event takes place in the Crypt of Saint Joseph and it is a unique opportunity to get closer to the Christmas spirit of Barcelona.
Interesting Facts About the Monument
The Sagrada Familia is a fascinating complex, with many interesting facts and interesting details that make it a unique site. For example, the basilica combines elements from nature, such as plants, rocks and animals, as well as features inspired by the Bible. One of the most extraordinary features of the complex is the Porta del Oro, a golden door on the main entrance which is adorned with smaller doors decorated with scenes from the Bible.
It is also remarkable for its size. The total area of the basilica is 11600 square meters and it stretches over 172 meters from east to west and 56 meters from north to south. It is composed of a total of 12 towers that stand as symbols of the 12 apostles. The temple also has a crypt where the remains of Gaudi, his successors and many other prominent figures in the history of the basilica are buried.
The Sagrada Familia is an iconic monument, recognizable throughout the world as one of the crown jewels of Barcelona. Its construction began in 1882, under the architectural guidance of Antoni Gaudi, and it is still ongoing today, with an expected completion date of 2026. It is located in Carrer de Mallorca, 401 and its entrance is marked by a monumental gate. Inside the basilica, visitors can admire the intricate art and decorations, as well as the gardens located on the northern part of the complex. Every year the temple organizes different events and activities to promote awareness about its importance and promote culture in Barcelona.