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Perhaps the most famous Barcelona landmark of all, the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, more commonly known as simply the ‘Sagrada Família’ is a Roman Catholic church designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It attracts over 2.8 million visitors each year and is one the world’s most iconic churches.
Construction began on the Sagrada Família in 1882, but remarkably the architect Antoni Gaudí did not become involved with the project until 1883 and was appointed director in 1884. Gaudí was aware that he would not be alive to oversee the full construction of the building but left detailed designs to guide its completion. In fact only a quarter of the construction had been completed when Gaudí tragically died in 1926. The building of the church is still not complete today, and it is estimated that the current construction represents only 70% of the final design. Despite this, the edifice was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and declared a minor basilica.
The Sagrada Família is famous for being one of the most iconic examples of Antoni Gaudí’s unique style, combining elements of Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish Late Gothic design. The theme of nature figures prominently in Gaudí’s design, both in terms of symbolism and the use of organic shapes and forms. The church, when completed, will have three facades each with their own theme and style: the Nativity Facade (dedicated to the birth of Jesus), the Passion Facade (dedicated to the passion of Christ) and the Glory Facade (dedicated to the glory of Jesus). The original designs calls for 18 spires in total, representing the 12 Apostles, the four Evangelists, Mary and Jesus. So far, only eight spires have been completed and it is expected that when the building is complete, it will be the tallest church in the world.
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