The Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família, located in the Eixample district, is a Catholic basilica in the city of Barcelona. It is undoubtedly one of the most well-known examples of Catalan Modernism architecture and the only building of its kind in the world, making it an emblem of the city. It has also become the most visited monument in Spain, ahead of the Alhambra and the Prado Museum, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.
The Sagrada Família is an example of Gaudí’s great artistic talent, which strikes the perfect balance between structural and ornamental elements, integrating all the arts into a logical, well-structured whole.
From 1915, Gaudí devoted himself entirely to the Sagrada Família, which is a synthesis of his architectural evolution where he applied everything he learned through previous experiments, for example at the crypt at Colònia Güell. After building the crypt and apse, still in the original neo-Gothic style, Gaudí designed the rest of the temple in an organic style, imitating shapes found in nature, where ruled geometric shapes abound. The inside looks like a forest, with tree-like branching columns, inclined and with helicoidal trunks, making for a simple yet strong structure. During the lifetime of Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), only the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity façade (only the tower of Saint Barnabas) were completed.
As it is an expiatory temple, it is paid for through donations only, which has forced construction to stop at times. However, since the 1990s, the huge influx of visitors and the Basilica’s booming popularity worldwide have changed the project’s economic situation and work has really taken off.