The Sagrada Família, or its full name Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Catalan, "Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family" in English, is a basilica that is now a major symbol of the city of Barcelona throughout the world at the same time as the most famous monument by ’Antoni Gaudí. The architect consecrated sixteen years of his life to his construction, living as a recluse in the building before having an accident and dying in 1926 without his project being completed. Since then he rests in the crypt of the basilica that one can and must visit.
To your good heart! The construction of the Sagrada Familia has long been financed by donations as Gaudí wished. Today donations and almsgiving are rare. Its construction continues mainly paid by visitors ticket entry fees paid.
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A new religious architecture
In 1883, following the neo-Gothic project begun by Francesc de Villar, Gaudí aimed to build a "cathedral of the 20th century" that would model the exuberance of nature.
It is therefore a project radically different from that of Villar that proposes a 31 year old Gaudí in 1883. It foresees the construction of a temple with the architecture resulting from his personal imagination consisting of five aisles, a window, an apse, an exterior ambulatory, three facades and eighteen towers, twelve to symbolize the apostles, four for the evangelists (135 meters high), For the Virgin Mary (127.5 meters topped by the Morning Star) and the highest (172.5 meters) in the center to symbolize Jesus Christ.
With this project the church becomes much larger than originally planned and its symbolism is totally reimagined. Mystical religious references, the history and mysteries of the Christian faith, the stages of the life of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem symbolizing peace ... His imagination and his solid liturgical knowledge, Gaudi defined a new religious architecture that will be called naturalist -modernist. A symbolic creativity never equaled to this day.
The work realized during his lifetime, that is to say the façade of the Nativity, the tower of Saint Barnabé and part of the exterior wall of the apse, was declared a world heritage by Unesco in 2005.
The basilica of the Sagrada Familia was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI on November 7, 2010.
A very long construction that will end in 2026
Gaudí realized that he would never see his work completed, and that at his death, the project was likely to be cut off for lack of funding or interest. For this reason, he decided to elevate the heights of the significant but not very functional and external parts of the temple to its maximum: its towers, its apse, its facades. In this way it made it impossible to modify the height originally planned, leaving an important mark of his very personal architectural style and leaving behind a guide for the continuation of the construction site.
A unique work but very different styles !
Gaudi left plans - many of which disappeared - to give instructions to his successors. But he also wanted every generation of architect to bring his own style to the building. Thus since its disappearance each part of the Basilica is built separately, one after the other to testify of the new architectural styles over the years.
A successful mission since 6 architects have succeeded each other since its disappearance to carry out - not without some controversy - this project which will end in 2026, the year of the centenary of Gaudí's death.
Construction will have lasted 144 years. The initial plan includes 18 arrows, the highest of which measures 172 meters, making it the tallest church spire in the world.
What will you visit at the Basilica ?
As we have said, this work at the Sagrada Familia church is still incomplete because it advances according to the donations and ticket fees made by the visitors: it is therefore a site that you will visit!
In 2018, just over 70% of the Sagrada Familia will be built.
Among the places accessible to the public we advise you to visit: the basilica, the two facades, the crypt, the schools and the cloister.
A beautiful souvenir is to climb the towers which offer an exceptional view of the city and the aerial parts of the basilica. Two towers are now accessible by elevator: the tower of the nativity " Torre del Naixement " of 55 meters is the oldest and was built at the time of Gaudí. The tower of Passion "Torre de la Passió" high of 75 meters is the most recent. It is the latter that offers the most spectacular view. The descent is done by the stairs..
Finally, a visit of the Museum is necessary to understand the creative journey of Gaudi and its methods of construction. There are rough drafts, models and photos that explain the history and creation of the basilica, from its conception to its future completion.
Do not forget your camera, photos are allowed throughout the Basilica!
Our advice to visit this monument – Skip the line entrance and priority access !
It is the most visited monument in Spain with more than 4,500,000 visitors in 2016. It is necessary to organize because the queues are common. On the other hand, by going directly to the site you may not be able to buy tickets for lack of space.
We recommend you to read this page dedicated to the ’purchase of skip the line tickets to visit the Sagrada Familia, where we summarize all the information to organize your visit of the Basilica with or without audioguide or your guided tour with a guide speaking English.
Barcelona City Pass (includes Sagrada Familia & Towers + Park Guell)
The City Pass gives you everything you need when you are visiting Barcelona. All the absolute highlights are included:
· Sagrada Familia (you can choose if you want to include the towers)
· Hop on Hop off Bus
· Aerobus from El Prat of the bus from Girona
For only 65 euro you have everything you want to see in Barcelona. Click here for more information!
If you want to purchase the Barcelona City Pass including the towers click here!
These tips can be summarized in two words :
- It is preferable to buy a ticket in advance for a specific date (there is no other solution because beyond that date the ticket is no longer valid).
- You should preferably buy a skip the line ticket that will allow you to enter without waiting in the basilica.
You might be interested:
La Sagrada FamiliaMallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Eixample right
Website: Sagrada Familia - Barcelona
Opening hours: October to March from 9am to 6pm. April to September from 9am to 8pm. / 25 and 26 December – 1st and 6th January from 9am to 2pm
Prices: 17€ with guide
Phone: +34 932 073 031
Phone 2 : Fax: +34 934 761 010
Metro/Bus: Metro: L2 and L5 Sagrada Familia / Bus: 19, 3,, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20, B24
Barcelona metro map