Unknowns About The Unfinished Church La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia Church (holy family) is one of the most important works of Christian architecture in Barcelona, which is flocked by millions of tourists every year. The building, which started to be built in 1882, is known as the “Unfinished Church” because it has not been completed since 139 years. This building, to which Antoni Gaudi devoted his life and wealth, is one of the most striking structures in the world in terms of architecture and aesthetics. We have prepared a list of unknowns about La Sagrada Familia, which is considered among the most outstanding examples of church architecture, its unending construction and Gaudi’s unique design.
1- Who is Gaudi ?
Antoni Gaudi was born in Reus in 1852. He studied architecture owing to his close relationship with geometry and his admiration for nature. Gaudi created a unique style by blending art nouveau and neogothic elements. He aimed to benefit from nature in order to achieve aesthetic beauty. Apart from the construction of La Sagrada Familia Church, which he took over at a very advanced age and could not complete, he built many architectural works in the city of Barcelona. Casa Mila building in Barcelona, Finca Miralles Gate, Park Guell Catalan are just a few of his other works. After his death in 1926, he was buried in the garden of La Sagrada Familia.
2- The Story of La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia (Holy Family), which was started to be built in 1882 in Barcelona, Spain, is a church affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. It was first started to be built by the architect Lozanzo. However, due to a disagreement between the administrators of the church foundation and the architect, Antoni Gaudi was appointed as the head of the project. He worked for 43 years to bring his magnificent plan to life. Initially funded by donations from the public, the church continued, with Gaudi spending his personal wealth there. Today, the construction continues with the income from the entrance fees.
3- Reason for Non-Completion
Actually, there is no single answer to this question. Gaudi’s death in 1926 as a result of being hit by a tram is one of the answers to this question. As a result of the civil war that broke out, the work was interrupted for a while. World War II interrupted the work once again. In addition, financial difficulties directly affected the prolongation of the project. For these reasons, La Sagrada Familia, which started to be known as the unfinished church, is undoubtedly one of the most important works of world architectural history with its splendor, misfortunes and unknowns.
4-Combination of Neogothic and Art Nouveau
The construction of La Sagrada Familia was started by Lozanzo in a neogothic style. Later, with Gaudi as the head of the project, a combination of neogothic and art nouveau (modernism) was adopted. In addition, while constructing 18 towers, which are among the most striking elements of his work, he took care not to exceed the highest point of the city at 172 meters and limited the length of the highest tower to 170 meters. In general, the church has revolutionary features on architectural rules. He positioned no columns straight and no walls perpendicular. In this way, no matter which direction one looks at, a perfect movement dominates the structure.
5- Has Three Fronts
The church has three façades: Nativity on the east, Passion on the west, and Glory on the south, which has not yet been completed. The first built east façade was dedicated to the birth of Jesus and was decorated with paintings and scenes in a naturalistic style.The Passion façade, completed in 1987, represents the crucifixion of Jesus, while the Glory façade represents the path to God. The church, which contains very intense depictions, is united with Gaudi’s religious personality and aesthetic ability. La Sagra Familia Church, one of the most magnificent structures of modern architecture, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
6- Hidden Meanings
In addition to being the product of an architectural genius, the church is thought to contain symbolic meanings and signs of Christian mysticism. The reliefs on the main entrance, the eye figure in a triangle, the rumors that the Relief of Jesus looks at you wherever you go are just a few of them. La Sagrada Familia, also known as the never-ending church, preserves its mystery today with its esoteric meanings, being filled with very intense symbolic elements, blending architectural and religious motifs, and unknowns about it, and this makes the building unique.
7- Gaudi’s Inspiration from Nature
La Sagrada Familia Church, which forms the skyline of the city of Barcelona, is a work of Gaudi inspired by nature. It is seen that he successfully represents these motifs in his work by internalizing the situation enough to say “Nature is my teacher”. Snakes, lizards and snails in the apse are some of the examples that he reflects in his work inspired by nature. It is possible to watch the view of the city of Barcelona by climbing the snail-shaped stairs to the top of the church. Turtle and chameleon forms on the western façade are also shown as examples of Gaudi’s inspiration from nature.
8- Criticism of Completion
After Gaudi’s sudden death, whether the construction of the building would continue or not was also a highly debated issue. Many people, including Salvador Dali, considered continuing the work without an artist as a betrayal. In addition, some of the drawings were lost during the civil war and Gaudi’s inability to guide his work due to his death caused some hesitation about the structure that would emerge. However, those who advocated the continuation of the project out of respect were victorious and the work continues today.
9- Opening for Worship
La Sagrada Familia Church, which could not be opened for worship for a long time like 100 years, was opened by Pope XVI on 7 November 2010. It was consecrated by Benedict and opened to worship. The building, which is visited by more than 4 million tourists a year, has started to be used for worship purposes by people of the Christian faith as well as its architectural charm. From this date on, the masterpiece, for which Gaudi spent all his wealth and mastered his architectural competence, hosted its visitors for the first time in accordance with its purpose, and the first mass was held in company with Pope Benedict. However, since its construction is still ongoing, the part that is opened for worship is only a part of the building.
10- Ends in 2026!
With Gaudi’s death, wars and financial difficulties, the construction process that has been going on since 1882 will end in 2026. With the Barcelona local government giving the construction permit, the completion process of the building began. With the permission granted for 4 million 600 thousand euros, the building is expected to be completed in 2026. However, it is thought that this period may be extended due to the financial losses due to the suspension of the construction for 9 months due to the pandemic. La Sagrada Familia Church, one of the most iconic structures of the city of Barcelona, will be completed exactly 144 years after its construction, if it can be finished on the predicted date.