The Sagrada Familia of Barcelona | History and characteristics

la sagrada familia

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is the most iconic temple and symbol of this city. The magnitude it possesses does not exist in any other religious temple. A feature that has earned it prestige, admiration and, above all, that more and more people want to visit it.

Even many of the tourists who return to Barcelona, venture back inside the walls of La Sagrada Familia to discover the new things it hides. That’s right, as difficult as it may seem, the temple is not yet finished.

Although more than a century has passed since its construction began, every year new details, galleries, among others, are included. Making this an unprecedented masterpiece. Below, we will reveal the most important details about La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and some curious facts.

The Sagrada Familia of Barcelona: History

The idea for the construction of the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona came from the Association of Devotees of St. Joseph in 1878. This religious group had been founded more than a decade earlier by Josep Maria Bocabella.

The members of the association met to ask its creator to build a new temple and he handed over the project to Francisco de Paula del Villar, who was the first to begin the work.

But his work did not last as long as expected, because after a few months he decided to abandon the construction. And so it was his disciple, Antoni Gaudí, who took up the work and even transformed the original design, to turn the temple into a masterful work of art.

Gaudí’s work as an architect began in 1883 and continued for 43 years. During this time, he planned to build 5 naves, apse, the cloister, the facades and 18 towers. However, with his death in 1926, only part of the project was completed.

For more than 20 years the construction of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was paralyzed. Until 1954 when the work was resumed where Gaudí had left it. Today, the temple still has some areas under construction.

Characteristics of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Many of the characteristics of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona can be seen with the naked eye in a tour of its surroundings. If we add to this the wonders in its interior, it makes this temple something incomparable. Such is the case of:

Its façade

Arriving at the gates of La Sagrada Familia the first thing we find is the difference between its facades. This is because the Nativity Façade was the only one built under the direction of Antoni Gaudí before his death.

Here you can see the architect’s unique modernist style, which from the beginning represents the first years of Christ’s life. Right next to it is the Passion Façade, which is characterized by its minimalist appearance. The latter was completed in 2018.

Interior of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

When you enter the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona you can see the 5 naves that Gaudí had conceived. However, they were built after his death. The most important thing is the structure itself, which is approximately 90 meters long and at least 60 meters high. Every detail inside has been placed to represent the 12 apostles.


The crypt of the temple is perhaps one of the areas less known by tourists. It was built by Gaudí and it is the place where his remains rest.

The temple museum

The original design did not include a museum inside the temple. But in view of the amount of history it holds, it was necessary to show every detail of its construction. In this place you can find the original models created, as well as photographs that show how this work of art has been carried out.

The temple towers

Of the towers that are built in their entirety, 4 were completed by Antoni Gaudí. As for those on the facades, they are the only ones that can be accessed.

Facts and curiosities about the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona

Have you ever wondered why the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is only a little more than 172 meters long? Or what is the reason for the particular aspect of the sculptures found in the temple? Here are some curiosities.

The Holy Family does not surpass the work of God

Gaudi’s idea was to build a temple worthy of God, but without surpassing his celestial work. So he decided to give 172.5 meters of height to the temple a little below the Montjuïc mountain which is the highest in Barcelona.

Realism in sculptures

A work of art of this magnitude deserves equally impressive sculptures. That is why Gaudí resorted to real models in order to detail different factions. The result can be seen in the Trumpeter Angels and the sculpture of the Immaculate Conception.

Why is the exterior of the apse decorated with reptile figures?

One of the characteristics of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is right in these figures, which is also a curious fact. Firstly, they were placed in order to decorate the exterior of this area and secondly, as water drainage.

But most interestingly, each represents evil and how they succumb to the power of God.

How do I get a tour of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona?

If you come on vacation to Barcelona or just want to know personally the temple of La Sagrada Familia, all you have to do is come. This monument is open to the public every day.

Now, if you want to take a simple tour of the facilities, the entrance fee is 15 euros. But if you want to know every corner of the temple accompanied by a guide, the entrance fee varies between 22 and 29 euros.

This is because for the guided tour you can choose between three routes, which include different areas inside the temple. Our recommendation is that you do not fail to climb the towers and have the opportunity to see Barcelona in all its splendor.