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Barcelona’s Top 10 : Sagrada Família (part 2) - Key Sagrada Família Dates

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Key Sagrada Família Dates

Spiral staircase

Detail of doorway, Passion Façade
  1. 1882

    The first stone of the Sagrada Família is officially laid, with architect Francesc del Villar heading the project. Villar soon resigns after disagreements with the church’s religious founders.

  2. 1883

    The young, up-and-coming Antoni Gaudí is commissioned as the principal architect. He goes on to devote the next 40 years of his life to the project: by the end he even lives on the premises.

  3. 1889

    The crypt is completed, ringed by a series of chapels, one of which is later to house the tomb of Gaudí.

  4. 1904

    The final touches are made to the Nativity Façade, which depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph amid a chorus of angels.

  5. 1925

    The first of 18 bell towers, 100 m (328 ft) in height, is finished.

  6. 1926

    On 10 June, Gaudí is killed by a tram while crossing the street near his beloved church. Noone recognizes the city’s most famous architect.

  7. 1936

    The advent of the Spanish Civil War brings construction of the Sagrada Família to a halt for some 20 years. During this time, Gaudí’s studio and the crypt in the Sagrada Família are burned by revolutionaries, who despise the Catholic church for siding with the nationalists.

  8. 1987–1990

    Artist Josep Maria Subirachs (b 1927) takes to living in the Sagrada Família just as his famous predecessor did. Subirachs completes the statuary of the Passion Façade. His angular, severe and striking sculptures draw both criticism and praise.

  9. 2000

    On 31 December, the nave is at long last declared complete.

  10. 2010–2030

    The vaults of the crossing and the apse underwent renovation until 2010. The completion of the entire Sagrada Família is forecast for 2030, though this depends largely on funding. The building of the Sagrada Família – as Gaudí intended – relies on donations. With so many paying visitors pouring in daily, construction work is gaining momentum.


Antoni Gaudí

A flag bearer for the late 19th-century Modernista movement, Antoni Gaudí is Barcelona’s most famous architect. A devout Catholic and a strong Catalan nationalist, he led an almost monastic existence, consumed by his architectural vision and living in virtual poverty for most of his life. In 2001, he was beatified and there are currently moves within the Catalan Catholic Church to declare him a saint.

Gaudí’s extraordinary legacy dominates the architectural map of Barcelona. His name itself comes from the Catalan verb gaudir, “to enjoy”, and an enormous sense of exuberance and playfulness pervades his work. As was characteristic of Modernisme, nature prevails, not only in the decorative motifs, but also in the very structure of Gaudí’s buildings. His highly innovative style is also characterized by intricate wrought-iron gates and balconies and trencadís tiling.

Chimneypot, Casa Vicens

Trencadís Tiling Gaudí’s revolutionary use of trencadís tiling, a decorative art form which consisted of smashing up ceramics and piecing them back together in mosaic patterns, is particularly prevalent at Parc Güell. Another fine example of this technique is the rooftop of La Pedrera where some of the chimneys were tiled using hundreds of broken cava bottles.

Trencadís-tiled lizard, Parc Güell Top 10 Gaudí Sights in Barcelona
  1. Sagrada Família

  2. La Pedrera (1910)

  3. Parc Güell (1900)

  4. Casa Batlló (1905)

  5. Palau Güell (1890)

  6. Bellesguard (1875)

  7. Finca Güell (1887)

  8. Casa Calvet (1899)

  9. Colegio Teresiano (1890)

  10. Casa Vicens (1885)

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