Sagrada Familia History

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The Sagrada Familia is more than just a church; it tells a story in stone. 

It began as a bookseller’s fantasy in 1872 and evolved from neo-Gothic blueprints into Antoni Gaudi’s whimsical masterpiece. 

Despite dedicating his life to it, Gaudi died before it was completed. 

Nonetheless, construction continues, guided by his vision and driven by unshakeable faith. 

The Sagrada Familia is a must-see attraction in Barcelona, thanks to its compelling story of beauty, devotion, and human labor.


1882: Project begins under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar.

1883: Antoni Gaudí takes over.

1885: Crypt chapel opens for worship.

1891: Work starts on the Nativity facade.

1914: Gaudí dedicates himself solely to the Sagrada Familia.

1926: Gaudí dies, Domènec Sugranyes continues the project.

1936: Spanish Civil War damages plans and models.

1961: Sagrada Familia Museum opens.

2005: Nativity facade and crypt become UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

2010: Basilica consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

2012: Jordi Faulí becomes a head architect.

2016: Construction begins on central towers.

2018: Cross placed on Passion facade.

2021: Tower of the Virgin Mary completed.

2022: Two Evangelists’ towers completed.

2023: All four Evangelists’ towers inaugurated.


The Sagrada Familia dates back to 1872 when a bookseller named Josep Maria Bocabella established it. Here is a breakdown of the main players and events:

The Inspiration 

Inspired by the Basilica of Loreto in Italy, Josep Maria Bocabella established the Spiritual Association of Devotees of St. Joseph in 1872. 

Their purpose was to construct a church dedicated to the Holy Family in Barcelona.

The First Architect

The group hired the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar to design the church in 1882. His plans envisioned a neo-Gothic revival style.

Gaudí Takes the Helm

Villar quit because of differences. The group committed the project to Antoni Gaudí, a young and inventive architect in 1883.  

Gaudí modified the design into his characteristic style by combining Gothic and Art Nouveau elements.

Gaudi’s Dedication

Gaudí focused on the Sagrada Familia in his later years. He even lived on the Sagrada Familia grounds for a while and died in 1926, leaving the basilica unfinished.

Construction History

Construction History

The Sagrada Familia tale began with a dream: a church dedicated to the Holy Family. 

In 1882, construction began in a neo-Gothic style. 

However, Antoni Gaudí, a young architect, took over a year later. 

He modified the proposal by combining Gothic features with his distinctive Art Nouveau curves. 

Gaudí dedicated nearly 40 years to the Sagrada Familia and died in 1926, leaving the basilica unfinished.

His blueprints and rescued models have been rigorously followed since construction began. 

The journey has not been simple; the Spanish Civil War inflicted devastation, and money was a difficulty. 

Despite challenges, the Sagrada Familia has progressed, with each completed facade and tower demonstrating human creativity and Gaudí’s vision.

Significance of Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia goes beyond its position as a cathedral and becomes a symbol of Barcelona itself. Here’s why it is so significant:

Architectural Marvel: It is a stunning example of Gaudi’s unique blend of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Its soaring spires, ornate façade, and stained-glass windows combine to create a masterpiece.

Symbol of Faith: Despite its lengthy construction, the Sagrada Familia remains a tribute to unflinching devotion. Millions of people visit it to worship and be inspired.

A Work in Progress: The continuing building adds an extra dimension of significance. The Sagrada Familia represents the spirit of continual creation, a legacy passed down through generations.

Barcelona’s Crown Jewel: The Sagrada Familia towers over the city and attracts visitors from all over the world. It exemplifies the city’s creative energy and diverse cultural traditions.

Hidden Stories

The Sagrada Familia conceals mysteries beyond its magnificent splendor. 

Take a good look at the turtles flanking the entrance; one signifies land, the other sea, and both signify universality. 

The Passion Facade conceals a cryptic square with numbers that sum up to 33, maybe referring to Jesus’ age at the time of his crucifixion.  

Some say the spires depict the apostles, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus reaching for the heavens.  

In the interior, the hanging weights represent a tribute to Gaudí’s structural genius. 


1. How long did it take to construct each facade of the Sagrada Familia?

2. How has the Sagrada Familia influenced architecture globally?

3. When is the Sagrada Familia expected to be completed?

4. How long has the Sagrada Familia been under construction?

5. What parts of the Sagrada Familia did Gaudí design?

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