At last, after more than a century of ongoing construction, Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família receives its building permit.
On Friday, June 7, the Barcelona City Hall finally issued a work permit for the unfinished church that’s famous for its intricate architectural design and a hundred years-worth of construction work.
According to reports, it was only three years ago when authorities discovered that the basilica did not have proper paperwork.
Officials claim that a permit for building the church had been applied for in the year 1885. However, there are no records that show whether the application had ever been granted or rejected.
To address this concern, the La Sagrada Familia foundation, a group committed to the completion and preservation of the church, stepped in to make the necessary arrangements with the Barcelona government.
The foundation signed a contract with the city government and paid for the building permit––an amount which came to a hefty $5.1 million dollars!
As stated in the contract, the city government will help in the preservation and completion of the basilica. Janet Sanz, Barcelona’s deputy mayor for Ecology, Urbanism, and Mobility, also confirmed that a new metro station will be built to provide visitors direct access to the church and to help minimize traffic in the area.
In turn, the La Sagrada Familia foundation vowed to keep the maximum number of visitors to the basilica at its current level. After all, these visits help with the church’s upkeep. The foundation will also be held co-responsible for the revenue the basilica brings to the city. (As reported, about 4 million visitors come to the basilica every year––with each person paying a total of 17 to 38 euros for a tour around the UNESCO World Heritage site.)
A Century of Work
The start of the historical construction of La Sagrada Familia dates back to as early as the year 1883. Its head architect, Antoni Gaudí, was a devout Catholic whose structures all over Barcelona still inspire countless architects of this generation.
According to literature, Gaudi dedicated most of his professional life to the basilica––he even stopped all of his other projects in 1914 to work exclusively on its building!
Sadly, however, Gaudi wasn’t able to witness the completion of his work. He died in a road accident in 1926, when only one facade of the basilica was completed.
Since Gaudi’s death, construction of the basilica has been based on his plaster models and drawings, which had been partially destroyed in a fire during the Spanish Civil War. Fortunately, these were later reconstructed.
La Sagrada Familia is expected to be completed in 2026, a hundred years after Gauid’s death. When finished, the basilica will be declared as the tallest religious structure in Europe, standing at 566 ft tall.