Around 137 years after architect Antoni Gaudí began building La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, a building permit has finally been issued. Gaudi devoted much of his life to constructing the multi-towered cathedral, until his death in 1926. Construction has continued since then, using the Catalan modernist’s plaster models and photos of his original drawings. Gaudi’s ambitious design featured 18 towers, including 12 to represent the biblical disciples. Although construction is scheduled to be finished by 2026, only eight towers are complete, and it’s possible that some of the distinctive spires will never be built.
And the building continues:
- If the Roman Catholic basilica actually reaches 566 feet (173 m), the maximum height that Gaudí envisioned, it will become the tallest religious building on the European continent.
- The basilica’s first stone was laid in 1882, but Barcelona officials say there are no records showing that a building permit -- first requested in 1885 -- was ever granted.
- The newly-acquired building permit is good until 2026. If the church is completed by then, the nearly 150-year construction period will be longer than that of the Egyptian pyramids. It took about 200 years to build the Great Wall of China.