10 cool facts you need to know about the Fabulous Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain. It is the most renowned work by Antoni Gaudi. Even though over 3 million visitors explore this monument per year, it is still a place of worship. Here are ten stunning facts that you may not know about La Sagrada Familia

1. The first completed facade is titled The Birth of Christ and within this facade are three portals: "The Portal of Hope","The Portal of Mercy," and "The Portal of Faith." The faces on "The Portal of Mercy" was how Gaudi paid tribute to the people as they are sculpted from the death masks of diseased Barcelona citizens.

2. La Sagrada Família will take longer to complete than the Egyptian pyramids, which only took 20 years. It started in 1882 and is hoped to be completed in 2026. When Gaudi died in 1926, only a quarter was completed. However, it's believed that it's now in the final stage of construction.

3. Gaudí based his design on the curves of nature as he found much disdain in straight lines and angles. He believed that straight line often didn't appear naturally.

4. Within La Sagrada Família, the structure is supported by large pillars that look like trees. One pillar has a turtle at its base, and another a tortoise to show the balance between land and sea. Gaudí explored plants, animals, and geothermal formations to develop architectural techniques. The orbit of the stars was used to design the helicoidal columns.

5. Due to Gaudíls belief that no man-made object or structure should be taller than any work of God, La Sagrada Familia, when completed, will be 170 meters, which is 1 meter less than Barcelona’s highest point, Montjuïc hill.

6. In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, a group of anarchists and revolutionaries set fire to the crypt and destroyed the workshop which contained all of the plans and models. Luckily, a few were saved. Due to the fire, construction during this time was very slow.

7. Gaudi was a thoughtful man, who built a school for the children of the construction workers to attend while their fathers spent their days and nights building the La Sagrada Familia. The name of the school was the Sagrada Familia Schools building

8. When construction began in the late 1800s, there were no computers or digital animation to rely on for the project. They had to rely on paper sketches to build this magnificent building. In the middle of the 20th century, the progress sped up quite rapidly.

9. La Sagrada Familia currently has eight towers. However, when it's finished, it will have 18 towers. 12 of the towers will represent the apostles, four of them will represent the evangelists, one will be designated for the Virgin Mary and the last and highest one in the middle, will represent Jesus Christ.

10. Gaudi was killed a few days after being hit by a tram. La Sagrada Familia is home to his tomb, which is located in the underground level of the building.

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By Sandy Karwacki-Farber, BA about Barcelona

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