Sagrada Familia aerial view

10 Surprising Facts about Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is, by far, one of the most famous sacred buildings in the world. Its incredible beauty, history, and culture bring millions of interested tourists and pilgrims worldwide to see it every year! But how much do you really know about this basilica? Here are some fun facts about the Sagrada Familia to remember the next time you do a pub quiz.

1. What is the Sagrada Familia?

The Sagrada Familia, or the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, is a Roman Catholic basilica. It’s based in Barcelona, Spain.

2. It took a long time to come to fruition.

If you have ever seen the Sagrada Familia up close, its size is probably one of the first things you’ll notice. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that construction on the basilica took over a century! In fact, construction began back in 1882, and it’s still under construction until a projected 2026.

3. It’s a Gaudí project.

The Sagrada Familia is perhaps one of celebrated architect Antoni Gaudí’s most iconic projects. However, he died during the construction in 1926, and the basilica was only a quarter finished.

Sagrada Familia beginning stages

4. Several other monuments took much less time to build!

Although taking over 100 years to finish one building may seem fair when you see the structure in question, let’s put it differently. The Great Wall of China and even the ancient Egyptian Pyramids all took less time to build than the Sagrada Familia, and that is with very different technology available now!

5. It was once an educational building.

Believe it or not, the Sagrada Familia was once home to a school! Gaudí built the school directly on the site for the children of the construction workers. The school first set up in 1909.

6. It’s UNESCO-recognized.

As you can imagine, such an incredible building has not gone unnoticed! In fact, back in 1984, the Sagrada Familia received its UNESCO World Heritage Site status – and it is only one of seven of Gaudí’s buildings to receive such an honor. What an incredible talent!

7. There are 18 towers planned.

Once the Sagrada Familia is complete, it will have a total of 18 towers, and each tower will carry its own significance. 12 of these will eventually represent the apostles, four will showcase the evangelists, one will offer dedication to the Virgin Mary, and the final one, the highest tower in the middle of the basilica, will represent Jesus Christ.

8. It’s Gaudí’s resting place.

Having put so much into the basilica, it is only right that it be Gaudí’s eternal home. Therefore, in the underground level of the basilica lies Gaudí’s tomb – and it can be seen by tourists! Four chapels surround the tomb and, with his burial place housed in a worship room dedicated to the El Carmen Virgin.

Sagrada Familia tower plans

9. We nearly lost it all!

Sadly, the Sagrada Familia has nearly been destroyed several times. In fact, in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, anarchists broke into the basilica to set fire to the crypt. Thankfully, the building is still standing, some say, better than it ever did!

10. It’s a tall order!

Once the Sagrada Familia is finally complete, experts expect it to be the tallest religious building in Europe! The central tower should reach 170 meters tall – dizzying to look at from below!

Sagrada Familia from afar

FAQs about Sagrada Familia

Why is the Sagrada Familia not finished?

The Sagrada Familia is not yet finished due to multiple major setbacks - including the Spanish Civil War and the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, it’s thought construction will finally end here by 2026. Fingers crossed!

Is it free to enter the Sagrada Familia?

On certain days, you can visit the Sagrada Familia for free. However, you will have to check ahead of time as to what these days are before going!

What is the ideal dress code for the Sagrada Familia?

When you visit the Sagrada Familia, it is important to dress for the occasion! Therefore, you will need to have covered shoulders and legs.

Further reading:

Do you know any fun facts about Sagrada Familia? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on July 26, 2023. Suggest an edit

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