Sagrada Familia: The Secrets of Gaudi’s Opus

By Michelle Yastremsky

Out of all the breathtaking sites of Barcelona, there’s one that literally towers over the rest: the otherworldly Sagrada Familia. Construction for this architectural masterpiece began over 150 years ago, and is finally slated to be completed in 2026!

If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia will want to be at the top of your itinerary alongside Gaudi’s other masterpieces. But be sure to reserve tickets online ahead of time, as lines for this majestic cathedral can be up to 3-4 hours long!

Here are six fun facts about the Sagrada Familia

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1. It’s been under construction for over a century

Construction for this architectural masterpiece began in 1882, and continues to this day! Gaudi knew the project would not be completed in his lifetime but had no concerns since according to him his “client is not in a hurry."

2. It used to be the site of a school

During the beginning of the cathedral’s construction, a school was built called the Sagrada Familia Schools building. This building was for the children of the construction workers commissioned to work for the Sagrada Familia.

3. Gaudi is buried there

Visitors to the Sagrada can pay homage to the psychedelic architect at his tomb, which is located in the underground level of the Sagrada Familia.

4. It’s a man-made masterpiece, inspired by nature

The intricate symbolism carved into the structure all ties back to one theme: nature. In fact, the cathedral’s interior pillars resemble trees, and seem to warp in shape depending on what angle you view them from!

5. It’s the tallest religious building in Europe

Or it will be, once construction is finished. The Central tower will be over 550 feet tall! Gaudi believe that no man-made object should be constructed higher than the work of God, so the size of the towers was intended to be 1 meter (about 3 feet) shorter than Barcelona’s highest point, Montjuic Hill.

6. Builders of the Sagrada Familia are immortalized in stone

One of the Sagrada Familia’s many facades you’ll find a collection of faces embedded within the stone; these faces are sculpted from the death masks of deceased Barcelona citizens as well as builders of the great work.

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