The Holy Family
La Sagrada Familia means “The Holy Family” in English. The church is designed to honor Jesus’ family, with towers representing him, his mother, the four evangelists, and the twelve apostles.
It is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. Designed by architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), his work on Sagrada Família is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On 19 March 1882, construction of the Sagrada Família began under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883, when Villar resigned,
Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the church’s crypt. At the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.
Relying solely on private donations, the Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War.
La Sagrada Familia
In 1939, Francesc de Paula Quintana took over site management, which was able to go on due to the material that was saved from Gaudí’s workshop and that was reconstructed from published plans and photographs.
Construction resumed to intermittent progress in the 1950s.
Describing the Sagrada Família, art critic Rainer Zerbst said “it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art”, and Paul Goldberger describes it as “the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages”.
The basilica is not the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, as that title belongs to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral).