#1 Gaudi Is Buried There
Antoni Gaudi also supervised the construction of the Sagrada Familia from 1883 until 1926, when he died at the age of 73. The church was not even a quarter finished by then.
#2 The Church Was Inspired By Nature
Gaudi wanted to incorporate the traditions of medieval Byzantine and Gothic cathedrals. He viewed color as an expression of life and thus used a lot of it. Gaudi used grapes and corn ears to symbolize the wine and bread used in Holy Communion. Similarly, he used other natural images as symbols; chameleons, for example, represented change.
#3 Sagrada Familia Has Taken Longer To Build Than The Colosseum & The Great Pyramid Of Giza
Construction on the Colosseum began in 72 CE during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. His son and successor, Titus, began using the Colosseum eight years later. The Colosseum, however, wasn’t truly completed until the reign of Titus’ brother Domitian, who ruled from 81 to 96 CE. In other words, it took less than 25 years to complete the Colosseum. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of the Egyptian pyramids, and it was built during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu. Construction took 20 years from 2580 to 2560 BCE. Whereas the Sagrada Familia has taken 136 years and counting!
#4 Pope Benedict Consecrated Sagrada Familia in 2010
He also declared it to be a minor basilica, rather than a cathedral. The latter needs to be the seat of a bishop.
#5 Sagrada Familia Isn’t Its Full Name
In Spanish, the church’s full name is “Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrado Familia.” The English translation of that is “The Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family.”
#6 There’s A School On The Site
In 1909, Gaudi built a school for the construction workers’ children. It has three classrooms, a chapel, a hall, and some bathrooms.
#7 Sagrada Familia Will Have Eighteen Towers
The tallest spire will be around 560 feet (170 meters) tall. Each tower will represent the twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus Christ. The completed towers will make Sagrada Familia the world’s tallest church.
#8 It May Be Complete By 2026
The current chief architect, Jordi Fauli, believes that the church will be finished in 2026 after the structure and remaining towers have been completed. That means it won’t be finished until 100 years after Gaudi’s death. There are also some “decorative elements” that won’t be completed until the early 2030s.
As these fun facts about Sagrada Familia indicate, visitors to Barcelona should put it on their “must-see” list.