Barcelona is one of the most traveled and visited city in Spain, primarily because of its great architectural works.
The most influential architect in the history of Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí. His exceptional works can be seen all over the city. But the greatest of them all is the very famous unfinished Templo expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, or in English, Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family. Sagrada Familia, as it is often simply called, is a very huge church of the Roman Catholic. The church is so massive that its construction, which started in 1882, is still continuously done up to this very day.
Gaudi conceived the building as a “20th Century Cathedral” when he started it in 1883. At that time, he had already perceived that he would not finish the structure in his lifetime but should be fully accomplished by year 2030. The famous architect became obsessed with his basilica project that the office he had set up on the site had become his permanent residence. He worked on the project for more than 40 years of his life.
His plan included facades that would represent the life of Jesus Christ – His birth, death, and resurrection. He would build eighteen towers, which would symbolize 18 significant characters – Jesus Christ Himself, the Virgin Mary, the twelve Apostles, and the four Evangelists. The tower that would represent Christ would stand 170 meters high, making it the tallest tower.
When Antoni Gaudí was asked why the basilica should take an extremely long period of construction, he would only remark that his client is not in a hurry. When Gaudi died at the age of 74 in 1926, the project was still continued under the supervision of Domènech Sugranyes. However, the work was interrupted in 1936 because of the Civil War. During this time, a lot of the original plans made by Gaudi were destroyed by Catalan anarchists.
It was until the year 1952 that the project was resumed. The basilica is now being constructed based on the reconstructed versions of Gaudi’s lost plans complemented with contemporary adaptations. Architects Isidre Puig Boada, Francesc Quintana, Francesc Cardoner, and Lluís Bonet i Gari carried on the work under the direction of Jordi Bonet i Armengol.
Barcelona’s Templo expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia has a rich history of a lifetime that is built stone after stone. Its life seems to go on as it rises little by little, as if trying to reach the sky. This uncompleted yet very magnificent architectural work is one of the best attractions in Spain, particularly in Barcelona.