At the turn of the 20th century, Barcelona was the center of the Catalan Modernist architectural movement. The goal of Catalan Modernism was to promote Catalonian culture and transform Barcelona into a city on par with the great European cities. Featuring asymmetrical shapes and a preference for curves over straight lines, the architectural style was considered quite rebellious for the time.
The movement shaped Barcelona into the city it is today. Six of the several dozen Modernista buildings have been declared World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), making Barcelona a city perhaps best enjoyed on foot.
A short walk from the Hotel Diagonal Barcelona, you’ll find the crown jewel of the city’s modernist landmarks, the Sagrada Família church. Built by famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, the Roman Catholic Church is considered his masterpiece and a must-see for anyone visiting Barcelona.
Construction on the temple began in 1882. Despite its breathtaking beauty in its current form, Barcelona’s most visited monument is still under construction. Work is expected to continue through 2026. Five generations have been visiting the Sagrada Família year-after-year to see Gaudi’s plans come to life.
Antoni Guadi worked almost exclusively on the Sagrada Família and remained involved in its construction right up until his death in 1926. At the time of his death, the church was an estimated 15-25% complete. Construction continued up until 1936 when the Spanish Civil War caused work to be temporarily put on hold.
During the war, Gaudi’s workshop was set on fire by arsonists. His models and the original design plans burned in the fire forcing Gaudi’s predecessors to work off a reconstructed version of the plans based off Gaudi’s notes and their own improvisions when construction resumed.
The exterior of the church features three breathtaking facades dedicated to the birth, passion, and glory of Jesus. When it is completed, there will be eighteen imposing towers: four on each side to represent the twelve apostles, four on the transept symbolizing the evangelists, one on the apse dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and a larger central tower representing Jesus.
The interior of the church is just as awe-inspiring. With beautifully decorated ceilings and ornate columns designed to look like trees, there is no church in the world quite like the Sagrada Família.
Words can’t do Antoni Guadi’s opus justice. You’ll have to visit Barcelona yourself to truly appreciate its magnificent beauty.