One of Barcelona's most popular attractions is seemingly under perpetual construction, but Gaudi's famed and much anticipated Sagrada Familia church has entered its final stage of development.
Over 140 years ago construction was started on the epic monument to religion, and after a number of setbacks over the years, the Sagrada Familia will finally be completed in honor of the church's creator. Developers plan to finish the project within the next decade, with a goal date of 2026.
The Sagrada Familia History
The world-famous architect Antoni Gaudi, who died in 1926, designed this spectacular monument. The expectation of those currently involved is to have the project completed in time for the 100-year anniversary of his death.
When Gaudi started the project, the goal was to take as much time as needed to create an epic destination for the world's Catholics to visit. Gaudi began the project with minimal church funding and mostly by asking for donations for the project, calling it "the cathedral of the poor."
Sagrada Familia Facts: A Rocky Past
Other than Gaudi's original funding attempts, the Sagrada Familia has seen a number of setbacks that have contributed to the delay in construction. In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out, which meant that financial and physical resources - as well as human labor - were no longer available to dedicate to the project.
Current times have been no better towards the treatment of the church. In April of 2011, when the roof was finally completed and Pope Benedict consecrated the site, an intruder set a fire in the church which significantly halted progress.
The sheer scope of the project has also led to a number of obstacles. Because of the height of some of the towers - the sixth one rises to over 170 meters - elevators will have to be installed to allow visitors to reach the top. Similarly, a train line to the area, which is slated to be built within the next several years, has preservationists wondering about the impacts of modern amenities to the building's structure.
With the growth of technology over the years, it has become more popular for history buffs and preservation enthusiasts to get involved with restoration projects around the world. Despite its unfinished status, the Sagrada Familia attracted over 3 million visitors in 2011 alone, bringing with it a huge influx of capital to dedicate to the endeavor. Similarly, new technology has offered a number of ways to make the construction process more efficient, giving a completion date in the near future much more viability.
The current project leaders have done lots of outreach in recent years, in the form of videos and documentaries of the project, to ensure that attention remains on the Sagrada Familia so that it continues to receive the funding and resources required to reach completion. They hope to interest visitors from near and far to participate in the project's efforts; to finally finish one of Spain's most anticipated religious and historic attractions.
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