Sagrada Familia. Full name: The Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family (cat. Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, sometimes inaccurately called the Sagrada Familia) – a church in Barcelona , in the Eixample district, built on private donations since 1882, the famous project of Antonio Gaudi .

The architectural narrative of this author extends the chain of contributions to the construction from his followers to our contemporaries. It breathes the echo of the past, keeping within its walls the memories of past historical events, and sounds in unison with today’s 21st century. The Sagrada Familia is a truly unique architectural phenomenon, it is a bridge that connected generations and epochs and presented an exceptional opportunity not only to touch history, but also to join its creation. Throughout one and a half centuries the construction is being built, growing, changing.

The unusual appearance of the temple made it one of the main attractions of Barcelona.

History of construction

Beginning and continuing exclusively on private donations, construction is conducted on a site not belonging to the Church, and is not supervised by the episcopate.

1882-1926 years
The idea of ​​creating an expiatory temple dedicated to the Holy Family originated in 1874 and, thanks to generous donations, in 1881 in the Eixample area a land plot was acquired, located at that time a few kilometers from the city. The first stone in the foundation of the new church was laid March 19, 1882, and this day is considered the date of the beginning of construction. According to the original design of the architect Francisco del Villar (cat. Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano), the creation of the Neo-Gothic basilica in the form of a Latin cross, formed by five longitudinal and three transverse naves was planned. A huge apse was created, consisting of seven chapels and a bypass gallery behind the choirs, and the surrounding building was designed to connect three monumental facades of the church. However, soon after the construction began, at the end of 1882, del Villar left the project because of disagreements with customers and instead of him the management of the work was entrusted to A. Gaudi.

In 1883-1889, Gaudi completed the crypt, begun by his predecessor. Over the previously constructed del Villar structure, a higher arch was built, which allowed opening the windows to the outside. The vault is decorated with a wonderfully beautiful castle stone with relief on the theme of the Annunciation, and the crypt itself is surrounded by a shallow moat guarding the walls from dampness and improving the access of daylight.

The construction of the Neo-Gothic apse was already begun, when, having received an unusually large anonymous donation, Gaudi decided to seriously remake the original project, keeping from it only the layout in the form of a Latin cross and completely changing the shape and structure of the building. In accordance with the Gaudi project, the structure was to be crowned with a number of upwardly directed monumental towers, and all the elements of the scenery receive a deep symbolic meaning associated with the Gospel or the church rites.

In 1892, the architect began work on the facade of Christmas. He began with this facade, because he was afraid to scare off the inhabitants of the city with the realization of the design of the facade of the Passion, frankly and harshly telling about the crucifixion of Christ. In 1895 the works on the Neo-Gothic apse were completed. One of its features are decorative tops of towers and gutters of drain pipes, inspired by local flora and fauna, lizards and snails, which could be found in abundance in the vicinity. At about the same time, a part of the cloatro was built, corresponding to the portal of the Saint Virgin of the Rosary, adorned with rich ornamentation, full of symbolism. The portal of the Saint Virgin of the Rosary itself was completed in 1899.

School for children of builders near the church

In 1909-1910, the building of the temporary school was built on the site of the future main facade. It was created by Gaudi for the children of the builders and, as a temporary structure, had no bearing walls. Despite its ephemeral nature, this school has a unique design. Strength of the building is achieved through the use of curvilinear partitions and roofing, and the separation of classrooms with weight-bearing partitions makes it easy to change the layout of the interior space.

In 1911, A. Gaudi created a project of the second facade – the facade of the Passion, although the final architectural solution of the naves and arches appeared only in 1923, and the construction of this facade was begun after the death of Gaudi. Creation of sketches of the third facade – the facade of Glory – also dates from the beginning of the 10-ies of the XX century. Unfortunately, only structural and voluminous analyzes and sketches of symbolic and iconographic character have reached us. The project of naves and facades of the facade included the studies realized in the crypt of the colony of Güell, and the final result, according to the architect’s plan, should look like a “forest of tree-like columns”, flooded with light, penetrating through the various stained-glass windows.

On November 30, 1925 the 100-meter bell tower of the Nativity facade dedicated to St. Barnabas was completed. It was the only bell tower built in the lifetime of the architect, who gave the construction of the Temple for more than forty years of his life.

After 1926
After the death of Gaudi, his close associate Domenech Sugrañes i Gras, who worked with Gaudi since 1902 and helped in the construction of the Temple of the Holy Family and many other famous buildings (for example, the Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà), took over the management of the works. Before his death in 1938, D. Sugranes managed to complete the construction of the three remaining belfries of the facade of Christmas (1927-1930), completed work on the ceramic cypress, crowning the central entrance of the facade, and also carried out a series of studies of the rigidity of structures. The Civil War, which began in Spain, prevented the construction from continuing. To complete the woes, during the fire of 1936, many drawings and mock-ups stored in the Gaudi workshop were destroyed. Fortunately, some of them were later restored. Construction of the facade of Christmas was continued only in 1952. This year the staircase was completed and for the first time the illumination of the facade, which since 1964 has become permanent, has been carried out.

In 1954 the erection of the facade of the Passion was started. The work was based on developments and research carried out by Gaudi between 1892 and 1917. After the end of the crypt in 1961, it opened a museum dedicated to the historical, technical, artistic and symbolic aspects of the project. In 1977, four towers of the facade of the Passion were erected, and in 1986 works on sculptures were started to decorate this facade, finished at the beginning of the XXI century. Approximately at the same time, stained glass windows dedicated to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and a bronze sculpture of the Ascension of the Lord were installed.

In 1978-2000, the main nave and transepts, as well as their arches and facades, were erected. In the first decade of the 21st century, the vaults of the gallery were completed and by 2010 the environment and apse should appear. They will be built two towers: 170-meter tower of the central lantern, crowned with a cross, and the tower of the apse, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. According to the plan, this part of the structure should contain four more towers in honor of the Evangelists. The supposed completion of all construction works – in 2026, when the creation of the facade of Glory, which was begun in 2000, should be completed. However, in 2008, a group of more than four hundred cultural figures of Spain called to stop the construction of the temple. In their opinion, the creation of the great architect was the victim of a careless, inept restoration for the sake of the tourism industry. Nevertheless, the work continues.


You can get to the temple by metro, the station: Sagrada Familia, lines L2 (lilac branch), L5 (blue) or buses 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50 and 51, – Sagrada Familia stop.

The cost of admission: 15-22-24-29 EUR (with guide or audio guide); The price depends on the chosen program.

For excursions at the moment are open: one tower of the Facade of Christmas, on top of which you can climb a narrow spiral staircase. However, if you are not extreme, then for this case there is an antique vintage elevator. The entrance to one of the facades of the Facade of Passion and the museum is also open. Be mentally prepared for huge lines and believe me, it’s worth it!

The prices on the page are indicated in June 2016.

Opening Hours


9:00 - 20:00


9:00 - 20:00


9:00 - 20:00


9:00 - 20:00


9:00 - 20:00


9:00 - 20:00


9:00 - 20:00

from November to February - from 9:00 to 18:00, in March - from 9:00 to 19:00. in October - from 9:00 to 19:00, on December 25 and 26 as well as on January 1 and 6 - from 9:00 to 14:00.

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