Gaudí’s Sagrada Família finally enters last stage of construction

The sprawling unfinished basilica of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain has been under construction for more than 130 years, but has now entered the final stages of construction.

Six new towers will be added, with the tallest reaching 172m in height, making the basilica the tallest religious building in Europe.

It will be known as the "Tower of Jesus Christ" and, topped with a cross, it will direct sunlight into the structure.

The five other new towers will be named after Mary and the Four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

When complete La Sagrada Familia will contain 18 towers, each named after a religious figure.

The project’s annual construction budget of $28m is raised by entrance fees. Last year 3.2 million people visited the site.

There is still no finite date for the end of construction, chief architect Jordi Fauli said in a press conference: "It’s difficult to predict but we can say that it will be completed by 2030, 2032."

Most of the structure will be finished by 2026, the centenary of the death of Antoni Gaudí, the architect of La Sagrada Familia.

Only one façade of the basilica was completed before Gaudí died in 1926 after being hit by a tram. Crucial medical treatment was delayed as passersby mistook the unconscious man for a beggar.

Earlier this year there was a movement to canonise Gaudí, who has been dubbed "God’s Architect".

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