144 Years Later, Barcelona Landmark Will Finally Be 'Complete'

Work on Gaudi's Sagrada Familia to wrap up in 2026, though additions are possible
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2024 9:35 AM CDT
144 Years Later, Barcelona Landmark Will Finally Be 'Complete'
Worshippers attend a Mass in the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, July 9, 2023.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Work began on Barcelona's famed Sagrada Familia in 1882. Today, the massive cathedral towers over the city—but the work continues. The building, long accompanied by cranes and scaffolding, has never been completed. No more than 15% was complete in 1926, the year architect Antoni Gaudi died, per CNN. Construction was impeded by the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, when most of Gaudi's designs and models were destroyed. That meant a reimagining of the design and more delays. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic halted construction for two years. But there's now an end in sight. On Wednesday, the group that manages the site announced the building would be completed in 2026. Construction on the Chapel of the Assumption will wrap up next year, followed by work on the tower of Jesus Christ the following year, the statement said.

There's a caveat, however. "Work on sculptures and decorative details and, above all, the controversial stairway leading to what will eventually be the main entrance, is expected to continue until 2034," the Guardian reports, noting that "the stairway, which would extend across two large city blocks, would involve dislodging about 1,000 families and businesses." Esteve Camps, head of the Sagrada Familia group, says the stairway formed part of the plan Gaudi presented to the local authority in 1915—though at that time, the site was surrounded by farmland, not city blocks—and "we are following Gaudi's plan to the letter," per the Guardian. As the city has yet to approve the stairway, however, it's not clear it will ever be built. The date of the building's supposed completion, 144 years after construction began, will mark 100 years since Gaudi's death, per Sky News. (More Barcelona stories.)

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