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Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain The House of God devotedly open to absolutely everyone from all walks of life

A UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited monument in Spain, Sagrada Familia is an iconic Roman Catholic Church located at Europe’s 5th most visited city Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. One of the most significant work of man in our age, this monument was designed by the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. In November 2010, Sagrada Familia was consecrated and proclaimed as a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. Sagrada Familia is said to be an international center for spirituality that imparts love, harmony, generosity and peace. Although unfinished till date, still Sagrada Familia is a must see monument for every visitor to Barcelona.

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History and Belief

Originally an insight of a bookseller, Josep Maria Bocabella, Sagrada Familia was initially designed in the form of a Gothic revival church by Francisco de Paula del Villar in 1882. The first stone of the church was laid on 19th March 1882. After Villar’s resignation in 1883, Antoni Gaudi took over the responsibility for the design and changed the entire composition with the intent to build a cathedral of the 20th century.

Initially, Gaudi completed the work on crypt in 1889. With ample private donations, Gaudi further proposed a grander design plan. In 1894 the foundation for the Nativity Façade was completed. From 1914 to 1923, Gaudi exclusively focused on designing and construction of Expiatory temple of Sagrada Familia. The construction of the first bell tower culminated in 1925. Unfortunately, due to a tram accident injury, Gaudi died on 10th June 1926, and was buried in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Sagrada Familia.

After Gaudi, his collaborators took over the management and continued the construction. Although it was interrupted during the Spanish Civil war in 1936, still its construction was resumed but with a slow pace. Gradually the different parts of the Familia were completed, with still 30% unfinished as on 2017. Thanksgiving Mass took place on December 14 this year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Brothers of Saint John of God.


A masterpiece of the great master of Modernism in architecture, Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia was ambitiously constructed by Gaudi during his lifetime and is still under construction, as per his plans. Expected to be finished by 2026, the year of the centenary of Gaudi’s death, Sagrada Familia’s construction period will last up to 144 years. Very famously said by Gaudi for slow erection of the building, “My client (God) is in no hurry”.

The basilica has a central nave flanked by four aisles and intersected with a central nave flanked by two aisles, forming a Latin cross. The top of the cross is closed by the semi-circular apse. The basilica has three monumental facades, each one representing one of the three crucial events of Christ’s existence:

    his birth- Marina;
    his Passion, Death and Resurrection- Sardenya; and
    his present and future Glory- Mallorca.

Four, 40 meters high domed structures are sited at each corner, which will be linked by a wide covered corridor and a double wall that will allow circulation from one building to another without the need to cross the main nave.

The monument has 18 towers with individual significance. In the middle is the tower dedicated to Jesus Christ (172.5 meters high) and around it are four towers representing the Gospels (135 meters high). The tower above the apse represents Virgin Mary, while the remaining 12 towers represent the 12 Apostles.

Gaudi had further designed the Sagrada Familia cleverly with colour and light, in the form of construction materials, and also stained glass windows and inscriptions on the light as well as skylight in the vaults.

There is a crypt where Gaudi is buried as well as the transept and central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. A museum narrates the history of the church and tells the story of its great architect. An elevator and a long walk will lead you to the top of the tower from where you can have a magnificent view of Barcelona.


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5 interesting Facts & Myths about Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

  • 1. Upon the completion of its construction, it will take 10 times longer to finish Sagrada Familia, Barcelona than the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza and 123 years longer than the time taken to finish Taj Mahal.

  • 2. Antoni Gaudi was well aware that the basilica will take generations to complete, thus he was not very concerned with the pace of its work.

  • 3. The only other person buried in Sagrada Familia is Josep Maria Bocabella, the person who took an initiative to come up with this monument.

  • 4. The Sagrada Familia’s construction is funded by private donations through friends of the Sagrada Familia and through entry tickets to the monument.

  • 5. When fully completed, one of the tower representing Jesus Christ will give the basilica its full height of 560 feet, intentionally slightly shorter than Montjuïc hill, Barcelona's highest point. The architect’s reflection was that nothing made by man should surpass what was made by God.

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Daily programs

International Masses take place every Sunday and holy days of obligation from 9 am onwards in several languages.
December 8: Mass of the Immaculate Conception of Mary from 9am- 10am.
January 1, 2018: Mass of Saint Mary Mother of God from 9am to 10am.
January 6: Epiphany of our Lord

For more information of International Masses schedule, contact on the email:

Singing days for choirs interested in singing at the temple, along with guided tours, at the Basilica are from Thursday to Sunday. The tour starts at noon and lasts for one hour. All bookings to be made ahead of time. Refer to the following link for more information:

Special programs

Thanksgiving Mass takes place in December every year, the schedule for the same can be seen in the link provided below.  
December 25: Christmas Mass from 9am to 10am.
Mass of the family takes place every December at 5 pm with live broadcast. Exact dates can be seen in the calendar given in the link below.

For further information on Masses schedule, please refer to the link:



How to travel

  • By air: Aeroport de Barcelona-El Prat, Aeroport de Barcelona (Catalan) or Aeropuerto de Barcelona (BCN)
  • By train: Barcelona Sants station
  • By road:
  • Metro: L2 and L5 Sagrada Familia
  • Bus: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, H10, B20, B24

Restaurants serving vegetarian meals along with non-vegetarian delicacies are easily accessible near the basilica. It is preferable to visit the monument between Monday to Wednesday to avoid the overcrowded situation during weekends. Although with pre booked tickets the queue can be avoided.

Around 66 kms from Girona and 120 kms from Latour de Carol, Barcelona is well connected with other parts of Europe.


November- February: 9AM- 6PM

March & October: 9AM- 7PM

April- September: 9AM- 8PM

December 25th & 26th, January 1st & 6th: 9AM- 2PM

Travel Tips

  • Formal clothing is advisable.
  • Visitors should behave cordially and not raise their voices.
  • Smoking, eating and drinking is strictly prohibited inside the monument.
  • Simple admission ticket to skip the line guided tour ticket or ticket with audio guide are advisable to be taken beforehand. Tickets sale finishes 30 minutes before the closing time.
  • No tripods are allowed for photography.

See Sagrada Familia, Barcelona on map

Nearby Attraction

  • Casas of Modernism: Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batllo is now a museum dedicated to modernism. Casa Mila, known as La Pedrera, was also designed by Gaudi and built as an apartment building, which is 1 km from basilica.
  • FC Barcelona: Football Club Barcelona is a professional football club founded in 1899. It is one of the most followed clubs in the world and can be reached via metro from the basilica.
  • Poble Espanyol: It stands as an architectural museum of 117 buildings, streets and squares built to showcase a model Spanish village of various areas in Spain. It is just 2.5 km from Sagrada Familia.
  • Parc Guell: It is a park designed by Gaudi that contains amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. It is around 3 kms from the basilica.
  • Barceloneta Beach: Barcelona’s most popular beach that has a literary history of showdown between Don Quixote and the Knight of the White Moon in Cervantes’ classic novel. It is 3kms from Sagrada Familia.

Additional Information

1. As it is a Catholic church, visitors must dress appropriately, following these restrictions:

  • No see-through clothing
  • Tops must cover the shoulders
  • No plunging necklines or exposed backs or bellies
  • Shorts and skirts must come down to at least mid-thigh
  • Visitors will not be allowed to enter with special clothing to celebrate any sort of festivities, nor with any decorations designed to distract or draw attention for artistic, religious, promotional or any other purposes.

2. Since commencing construction in 1882, advancements in technologies such as computer aided design and computerized numerical control (CNC) have enabled faster progress and construction passed the midpoint in 2010. However, some of the project's greatest challenges remain, including the construction of ten more spires, each symbolizing an important Biblical figure in the New Testament.

3. The basilica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona: over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudí's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí's death disregarded his design,[9] and the 2007 proposal to build an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed rail link to France which could disturb its stability.

4. The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages

5. Parts of the unfinished basilica and Gaudí's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists. The present design is based on reconstructed versions of the plans that were burned in a fire as well as on modern adaptations. Since 1940 the architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner have carried on the work. The illumination was designed by Carles Buïgas.

6. The current director and son of Lluís Bonet, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, has been introducing computers into the design and construction process since the 1980s. Mark Burry of New Zealand serves as Executive Architect and Researcher. Sculptures by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and the controversial Josep Maria Subirachs decorate the fantastical façades. Barcelona-born Jordi Fauli took over as chief architect in 2012.

7. The central nave vaulting was completed in 2000 and the main tasks since then have been the construction of the transept vaults and apse. As of 2006, work concentrated on the crossing and supporting structure for the main tower of Jesus Christ as well as the southern enclosure of the central nave, which will become the Glory façade.

8. The church shares its site with the Sagrada Família Schools building, a school originally designed by Gaudí in 1909 for the children of the construction workers. Relocated in 2002 from the eastern corner of the site to the southern corner, the building now houses an exhibition.

9. Since 2013, AVE high-speed trains have passed near the Sagrada Família through an underground tunnel that runs beneath the centre of Barcelona.

10. The central vault reaches sixty metres (200 ft). The apse is capped by a hyperboloid vault reaching seventy-five metres (250 ft). Gaudí intended that a visitor standing at the main entrance be able to see the vaults of the nave, crossing, and apse; thus the graduated increase in vault loft.

11. There are gaps in the floor of the apse, providing a view down into the crypt below.

12. The towers are decorated with words such as "Hosanna", "Excelsis", and "Sanctus"; the great doors of the Passion façade reproduce words from the Bible in various languages including Catalan; and the Glory façade is to be decorated with the words from the Apostles' Creed.

13. Entrance to either of the towers requires a reservation and advance purchase of a ticket. Access is possible only by lift (elevator) and a short walk up the remainder of the towers to the bridge between the towers. Descent is via a very narrow spiral staircase of over 300 steps. There is a posted caution for those with medical conditions.

14. The construction budget for 2009 was €18 million

15. Visit with audio guide-

  • Available in Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese
  • Approximate duration: 45 min.
  • Entry: C/Marina, in front of the Nativity facade.
  • audioguide is not available for children under 12 years old

16. Visit with guide-

  • Available in Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian and German*.
  • Approximate duration: 50 minutes.
  • Entry: C/ Marina
  1. Booking and payment must be made at least 15 days in advance. Please arrive 15 minutes before the time of your visit.

17. Unused tickets are refundable

18. Visitors’ bags, rucksacks, luggage and personal effects will be inspected at the entrance.

19. Sale of tickets finishes 30 minutes before closing time.

20. The Nativity façade celebrates the birth of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God made man. It is also referred to as the façade of Life, of Joy, or of Christmas


There are two options if you would like to contribute funds to help build the Sagrada Família:

VISA donations under €100

(*In compliance with Law 10/2010 on the Prevention of Money Laundering )

Other donations, by bank transfer

You can contact us directly at The Foundation:

  • Children under 10 enter the Basilica free.
  • Special discounted tickets for senior citizens.
  • If you are a student you are entitled to a € 2.00 discount on your ticket.
  • Visitors under 30 get a discount of € 2 on their entry tickets.
  • All pensioners are entitled to a discount on their tickets.
  • If you are a Targeta Rosa holder, you are entitled to the same benefits as pensioners.
  • All unemployed people in Spain who can provide proof of their status are entitled to a basic ticket to enter the temple every Wednesday afternoon, from 14:00 onwards
  • Tourist Bus:
  • Sagrada Família: €1.00 discount or €1.00 discount on audioguide tickets. Only in ticket offices.
  • Barcelona Card:
  • Sagrada Família: €1.00 discount on audioguide tickets. Only in ticket offices.
  • Gaudí House Museum: €1.00 discount on tickets. Only in ticket offices
  • The museum Sagrada Familia opened in 1961 in the semi-basement under the Passion facade.
  • the Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is launching a new travelling exhibition to bring the experience of the Basilica to more people.
  • After the tour, the group will have access to space set aside in front of the Glory Portal to sing a cappella for 20 minutes. Singing days at the Basilica are from Thursday to Sunday. The tour of the temple lasts one hour and begins at 12:00 noon. Afterwards the group can sing inside the nave. All groups must book ahead of time.
  • the most popular, with nearly 3 million visitors per year.
  • Much of the basilica and museum are wheelchair accessible, but the towers are not.
  • The main entrance sits along Carrer Marina in front of the basilica’s nativity facade.
  • The Sagrada Familia is open throughout the year but can be extremely busy in summer, so a skip-the-line ticket is recommended. The facade looks markedly different when illuminated at night than it does during the day, so plan for at least a short visit during both periods.
  • The few original plans the master of Catalan Modernism created for the church were destroyed by anarchists in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, leaving trustees to piece together what they perceive as Gaudí's vision
  • entry tickets to the monument, which run between €15 to €29 (about $17 to $32)
  • The most stunning are the incredible ceiling vaults which reach 200 feet in height. This space represents a spiritual forest where the columns act as trees branching out as they reach the ceiling.
  • Guided tours available in Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian and German.
  • Ticket office closes 15 minutes prior to the closing time.
  • Only the Mapfre Tower and the Arts Hotel (both 154 meters) at The Olympic Port stand that tall. When completed (in 2026), the Sagrada Familia will stand at 170 meters and will be the tallest building in Barcelona.
  • Curiously, it was proposed as one of the new seven wonders of the world, but it didn’t make the final cut.








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