The Real Housewife of Santa Monica
Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

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Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

This trip to Barcelona wasn’t my first. I had spent a few days there just after college when I was working in London. However, I only spent two nights and was close to penniless so I thought it would be good to go back a couple of decades later with fresh perspective and possibly a higher travel budget.

We booked only 2 nights in the apartment as we thought we might not want to be in cities for very long in the heat. The first morning, we ate breakfast at a cafe near our place. Then we set out walking to another famous Antoni Gaudi structure: La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica of the Holy Family).

It was really hot out plus crowded! We are the idiots who didn’t reserve spot on the tour so of course it was sold out. TIP: make a reservation ahead of time if you want to go inside! (Btw: this link is funny- b/c if you click it and go to the webpage it says “Your tickets help us build the Basilica.” It has been under construction since 1882!)

A Brief History of the Basilica

  • 1882 Construction began prompted by the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph. The first architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano drew up its Neo-gothic design and commenced work on the crypt.
  • 1883 – Lozano resigns and Antoni Gaudi takes over as architect.
  • 1889 – Gaudi finishes crypt and commences work on apse. Proposes “new and grander design” including a large church.
  • 1892 – Nativity facade is started as Gaudi believes it will continue to draw popular support (and therefore funding.)
  • 1894 – Apse facade finished
  • 1899 – Rosary portal finished.
  • 1909 – Provisional school buildings built.
  • 1911 – Pasion facade designed.
  • 1914 – Expiatory Temple
  • 1923 – Gaudi designed naves and roofs.
  • 1925 – First bell town on Nativity facade finished.
  • 1926 – Gaudi died in tram accident and was buried in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.
  • 1926 – Domenec Sugranes takes over until 1938.
  • 1930 – Bell towers on the Nativity Facade completed.
  • 1933 – Faith portal and central cypress tree completed.
  • 1936 – During Spanish Civil War revolutionaries set fire to the crypt and burned down the school.
  • 1939 – After the Spanish Civil War building resumed under architect Francesc de Paula Quintana i Vidal among others.
  • 1954 – Work begins on foundations to support the Pasion facade.
  • 1958 – Holy Family statues were added by Jaume Busquets.
  • 1961 – Museum opens in the crypt.
  • 1976 – 4 bell towers on the Pasion facade completed.
  • 1986 – Josep Maria Subirachs created the statues and sculptures for the Passion facade.
  • 2000 – Vaulting in the central nave and transepts was built & foundations of the Glory facade were started.
  • 2001 – Central window of the Passion facade finished. Stained glass installed. Four columns of the crossing finished.
  • 2002 – Wall of patriarchs and prophets completed by Josep Subirachs for top of porch on the Passion facade.
  • 2005 – Ascension sculpture placed between towers of Passion facade.
  • 2017- 70% of the work is complete.
  • 2026 – All work should be complete.

[Timeline info taken from]

Top of the Passion facade


Western Sacristy



Nativity Facade


Nativity facade closer

Another angle of the Nativity Facade


A merging of architectural styles


Fruit topped spires

When the complaining got to be too much we walked across the street to the shady park and ate fresh fruit popsicles. I am bummed we didn’t get inside but we probably pushed the kids enough at this point. One could spend days looking at this basilica and never get bored.

Loving sisters

After a short rest and a stop at Subway (where M had her regular 6″ tuna and Bea had plain turkey on bread) we continued walking towards another architectural marvel. (To be continued in next post.)

Click HERE for incredible photos of details.

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