The Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Family with the passing of time has become one of the symbols of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, well known throughout the whole world and also the most visited monument in Spain. This interesting work is the best example of modernist Catalan architecture, designed by Antoni Gaudi, and whose history dates back to 133 years ago.
On 19th March 1882 the work began on this monumental church. At that time the architect in charge was Francisco de Paula del Villar, who because of differences with the promoters abandoned the project after a short time. Gaudi took over the project in 1883 giving it a resounding change in order to impose his own style.
The 31 year old Catalan architect became profoundly implicated in the building of the Sagrada Familia, so much so that he spent the rest of his life with this project. The last 15 years he dedicated his time exclusively to this which explains why there are no other important buildings of Gaudi during these years. His dedication was such that at one point he was living in the workshop adjoining a part of the Sagrada Familia.
For all his effort the work continued to progress at a slow rate and Gaudi was conscious that he would never see his great work finished. However, for him the most important thing was that the spirit of the work would be always be conserved, because he said that “the life of the building will depend on how this is transmitted by future generations living and incarnate.
Gaudi died in a tragic accident, run down by a tram on 10th June 1925. He only saw the first bell tower of the Fachada del Nacimiento (Birth Facade) finished, which meant that the prestigious artist was only able to contemplate a small part of his great work. However, thanks to the plans and models designed by Gaudi, his work was able to continue, carried out by different architects who have always respected Gaudi’s original idea.
In July 1936 with the military uprising and the Spanish Civil War, the Sagrada Familia suffered an attack by revolutionaries who set fire to part of the space. Although the plans and models were damaged, they were recuperated and enabled them to continue with his masterpiece.
It should be noted that the Sagrada Familia is a sacrificial temple, so its construction has always been possible thanks to donations from the people. This is the principal reason that the work has taken so long and, in fact, it is not known when it will finally be finished.
We do not know when we will see Gaudi’s finished work but we are sure that his spirit and style will live on for ever. Additionally, his remains rest in Carmen’s chapel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia, the place to which he devoted himself body and soul.
If you visit Barcelona city to see the Sagrada Familia, we recommend that you stay at one of the Petit Palace Hotels in Barcelona, from where you can easily visit places such as the Eixample district or the Gothic district.