Barcelona's Sagrada Familia to be finally finished 144 years after building work began

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The central tower of Barcelona's famous Sagrada Familia is due to finally be complete 144 years after the building work first started in 1882, according to the Sagrada Familia Foundation.

The completion of the central tower of Jesus Christ in 2026 will mark the end of the lengthy process of building one of the world's most iconic pieces of architecture.

The church is the most famous piece by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, who is buried in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.

If work on the tower is finished in 2026 as planned, the completion of the building will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.

The four Evangelist towers, representing Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, surround the tower of Jesus Christ, and together with the tower of the Virgin Mary, which was inaugurated in 2021, they make up the six main towers of the Sagrada Familia.

The city celebrated the inauguration of the Evangelist towers on November 12 last year.

Another incomplete element of the building, the Chapel of the Assumption, is expected to be finished in 2025.

People take a selfie outside the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona. Credit: PA

The Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited sites in Spain, having attracted more than 4.7 million visitors in 2023, according to the Foundation.

The original design for the church was by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, and included neo-Gothic elements such as ogival windows, flying buttresses and a pointed bell tower.

Technical differences about the cost of materials led then-up-and-coming architect Antoni Gaudi to take over in designing the church, which has since become one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.

The Sagrada Familia was the final project Gaudi worked on before his death in 1926, and he only saw one of the towers, the bell tower dedicated to the apostle Barnabas, completed within his lifetime.

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