15 Awesome facts about Sagrada Familia that you’ll love!

Pinterest image of the outside of Sagrada Familia, a gothic cathedral in Barcelona with the text: "15 Awesome facts about Sagrada Familia that you'll love!"

15 Awesome facts about Sagrada Familia that you’ll love!

Sagrada Familia is one of the most iconic, historic and breathtaking churches in the world! She’s as fascinating as she is beautiful, which is why the church is Barcelona’s most visited tourist attraction. Want to know more cool facts about this incredible structure? Here are 15 awesome facts about Sagrada Familia that you’ll love!

1) Over 4.5 million people visit Sagrada Familia every year!

It should come as little surprise that Sagrada Familia receives over 4.5 million visitors per year!

It’s one of the most famous churches in the world and revered in global architect circles as one of the most original and ambitious modern structures of all time.

It’s bucket list stuff and a MUST-SEE when visiting Barcelona!

If you’re planning on visiting Sagrada Familia, I highly recommend booking a guided tour with skip-the-line access.

You’ll learn more about the history, construction and design of Sagrada Familia whilst avoiding the hours’ long snaking queues to get inside!

Mel taking a selfie outside Sagrada Familiea

2) Although known as Gaudi’s masterpiece, Sagrada Familia wasn’t originally his idea

One of the most fascinating, little-known facts about Sagrada Familia is that it wasn’t actually Gaudi’s idea. It was the brain child 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.

Sagrada Familia and its reflection in the pond in front of it with a blue sky

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”.

Balconies and stained glass windows inside Sagrada Familia

4) Construction of Sagrada Familia has yet to be finished

One of the craziest and well-known facts about Sagrada Familia is that it is 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!

The difference in new and old stone work outside Sagrada Familia

5) There are over 400 steps to the top

For a small extra fee you can take the stairs to the top of Sagrada Familia to see one of the best views of Barcelona.

The view is absolutely breathtaking and well-worth the extra ticket! It was by far my favourite part of my visit to Sagrada Familia.

But don’t worry there’s a lift if you don’t fancy the climb. 😉

If you’d like to see the view from the top of Sagrada Familia when you visit, I recommend booking a Sagrada Familia entry ticket with tower access.

This also includes a guided tour so you’ll learn more about the history, construction and design of Sagrada Familia.

High view of Barcelona from the balcony viewpoint at Sagrada Familia

6) Sagrada Familia was built with the aim of being seen from any point in Barcelona

As Sagrada Familia is a holy place, its creators wanted it to be seen from all over Barcelona.

This is why the glass mosaics (which reflect the sun and moonlight) were added to its highest points.

A man wearing a white tshirt looking over a balcony at the Sagrada Familia from a high view point

7) 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.

Light coming in from the ceiling in Sagrada Familia

8) Sagrada Familia has taken longer to complete than the pyramids in Egypt!

One of the most unbelievable facts about Sagrada Familia is that it has taken longer to complete than the pyramids! Craziness.

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 you may wonder? 20 years without the modern technology we have now to build. Mind-blowing!

Sagrada Familia at dusk with a purple sky in the background amongst the trees

9) Sagrada Familia is (of course!) a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In case 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 becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Ceiling of Sagrada Familia with stained glass windows and columns

10) Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s final resting place

Gaudi was buried in the chapel of ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ in the crypt at Sagrada Familia.

You’d think he died of old age because it was taking so long to build the church but he was actually killed when he was hit by a tram at 73!

Outside the Sagrada Familia lit up at night with a full moon in the background

11) It will be 560 feet high when it’s complete

Gaudi believed that no man-made structure should be made higher than anything in nature which he believed to be the work of God.

So when Sagrada Familia is complete it’ll be three feet shorter than Barcelona’s highest point, Montjuic Hill.

Sagrada Familia high in the sky above the skyline of Barcelona at dusk

12) 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.

Gothic towers outside the Sagrada Familia with cranes in the background

13) 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. Whereas the light that comes down from the ceiling gives the feel of the sun shining through a forest canopy.

The flowery ceiling inside the bright Sagrada Familia with columns in Barcelona

14) There are three facades depicting the three stages in Christ’s life 

The three stages are: nativity (birth of Christ), passion (crucifixion of Christ) and glory (road to God).

Jesus Christ facade of the nativity and the three wise men presenting gifts outside Sagrada Familia

15) The stained 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.

They’re absolutely stunning, especially when the sun shines through the window and the colours light up the inner coves!

Orange stained glass windows inside Sagrada Familia

final Bonus fact: It’s a great day out with your friends and not to be missed on a trip to Barcelona!

Mel with her arms extended outside the entrance to Sagrada Familia

Book your tickets to Sagrada Familia here.

What were your favourite facts about Sagrada Familia? 😄

Quick FYI guys – this post contains affiliate links to tours I recommend. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

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