In 1882, the first brick was laid in the construction of in Barcelona. Months later, the original architect resigned from the project and was replaced by Antoni Gaudí.
Designing and building the church quickly became a passion project for Gaudí, who abandoned the basilica's original Neo-gothic plan for an ambitious, modernist creation. Though he devoted much of his time and energy to the project, it was less than a quarter complete at the time of his death in 1926, according to
Now, over a century since ground first broke, La Sagrada Família is entering its final stage of construction, which is slated to be completed in 2026 to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of Gaudí's death. Work on the structure has been ongoing since he died, only coming to a halt during the Spanish Civil War.
Throughout the decades, it has become a popular tourist destination and landmark in the city, and it's easy to see why. Inside, magnificent vaulted ceilings and intricate stained glass leave visitors captivated. But it's the building's façade that makes the biggest impression.
When completed, the basilica will feature 18 soaring towers, the highest reaching 172.5 meters, or almost 566 feet, making it the tallest religious building in all of Europe, reports. For Gaudí, the spires were essential to the design. When asked why, he responded, "The angels will see them."
Though it is estimated that it will require four to six additional years to decorate the finished structure, there's no doubt that Gaudí's masterpiece will be worth the century-long wait.