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15 amazing facts you’ll love about Sagrada Familia

Iconic, symbolic, historic and breathtaking, Sagrada Familia captured my imagination in Barcelona and she’s as fascinating as she is a mighty beauty.

As it was my first time in Barcelona, a visit to Sagrada Familia was first on the to-see list. I will admit I was a very bad traveller and hadn’t done a great deal of research before we went to visit. But I’m kind of glad that I didn’t because when I finally did see it, it was that much more awe-inspiring. For those of you that don’t know, Sagrada Familia is a Catholic church that was designed by famed Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. It is Barcelona’s most visited tourist attraction with over 3,000,000 visitors passing through its doors every year and from a look at these photos you’ll soon understand why!

But in case you needed further convincing, here are 15 amazing facts you’ll love about Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia_
1) Although known as Gaudi’s masterpiece, the project wasn’t originally his. The idea was actually that of Catalan publisher and philanthropist, Josep Rocabella. After a dispute over designs with then architect, Francisco del Villar, Rocabella appointed Gaudi as the new project architect.

Ceiling Sagrada Familia

2) Construction of Sagrada Familia has yet to be finished. Work began in 1882 and is still going on to this day. When asked about the extremely long construction period, Gaudi once said: “My client is not in a hurry.” He wasn’t kidding as neither of them lived to see it finished!

Sagrada Familia by metro

3) Sagrada Familia means “Holy family” in Spanish. Rocabella was not only a published and philanthropist, he was the Chairman of the Holy Brotherhood and wanted to devote his new church to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the “Sagrada Familia”.

Windows and Statue inside Sagrada Familia

4) It was built with the aim of being able to see it from any point in the city. As Sagrada Familia is a holy place, its creators wanted it to be seen from all over Barcelona which is why its glass mosaics (which reflect the sun and moonlight) were added at its highest points.

5) During the Spanish civil war part of Gaudi’s design plans were destroyed. In 1936, Catalan anarchists forced their way into Gaudi’s workshop and destroyed part of his plans and models. Current building works are based on reconstructed versions of Gaudi’s plans that were burned in a fire as well as on modern modifications.

Detail outside Sagrada Familia

Statue scene Sagrada Familia

6) It has taken longer to complete than the pyramids in Egypt. Whaaaaat? Yep! Plans were in place to have it finished by 2026 in time for the centennial of Gaudi’s death, however experts now think that it won’t be ready for around another 25 years. Oh and how long did the pyramids take? 20 years without modern technology. Mind blown.

Old and new stone Sagrada Familia
7) Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Incase we needed further proof that Gaudi was an artistic genius, a project he didn’t see finished is now protected for future generations to enjoy, and it isn’t even done yet!

Midway Sagrada Familia

8) The church is Gaudi’s final resting place. Gaudi was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. He was hit by a tram and died aged 73.

9) When finished, Sagrada Familia will be 560 feet high. Gaudi believed that no man-made structure should be made higher than anything in nature (believed to be the work of God) so when Sagrada Familia is complete it will be 3 feet less than Barcelona’s highest point, Montjuic hill.

Looking down Sagrada Familia

Open Staircase Sagrada Familia

On the ground Sagrada Familia

10) Sagrada Familia will have a total of 18 towers representing key figures in Christianity.
When finished, Sagrada Familia will have 18 towers, 12 representing the apostles, four representing the evangelists, one representing the Virgin Mary and the tallest tower in the centre of the church representing Christ.

11) Sagrada Familia’s interior design was inspired by nature. Gaudi hated straight lines and angles because they don’t often appear naturally so after analysing different elements in nature, he used structural aspects to apply to his designs of Sagrada Familia. The interior pillars are symbolic of trees, as their shapes change in the way that trees would grow. The light that comes down from the ceiling gives the feel of the sun shining through a forest canopy.
Down the aisle Sagrada Familia

Light from the ceiling Sagrada Familia

12) There are three facades depicted three stages in Christ’s life. The three stages being, nativity (birth of Christ), passion (crucifixion of Christ) and glory (road to God).

13) The stain glass windows represent the earth’s four elements. The cool coloured, blue and green windows represent air and water and the warm coloured, red and orange windows represent fire and earth. And they are absolutely stunning!

Lights through the window Sagrada Familia

Warm Windows Sagrada Familia

Underneath the windows Sagrada Familia

Blue window Sagrada Familia

14) There are over 400 steps to the top. For a small fee you can take the stairs to the top of Sagrada Familia for one of the best views of Barcelona (and by far my favourite part of the visit). But there is the lift if you don’t fancy the climb ;)
View from the top Sagrada Familia

Looking out from the top Sagrada Familia

15) It’s an great day out with your friends and not to be missed on a trip to Barcelona. Fact.
Friends outside Sagrada Familia
Have you ever visited La Sagrada Familia? If you have, what was your favourite part? I’d love to know in the comments below :)
Mel x

About the author

Hi, I’m Mel! The adventure-seeking vegan travel blogger behind Footsteps on the Globe. On this blog you'll find my latest adventures, travel inspiration as well as tips and tricks on how to be vegan around the world. You don’t have to give up being vegan to follow your travel dreams and I’m here to show you how!