The expiatory church of La Sagrada Familia is a work of grand scale which was begun on 19 March 1882 from a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.
The building is in the centre of Barcelona, and over the years it has become one of the most universal signs of identity of the city and the country. It is visited by millions of people every year and many more study its architectural and religious content.
The temple was seen as a symbolic construction. The pyramid structure represents the symbol of Christ, with 3 monumental facades. The east one is at calle Marina and is called “the birth” and is the only one that was finished by Gaudí himself. The west side is at calle Sardenya and got the name “the passion”. The south side isn't finished yet, but it will be the biggest one and become the main entrance. It is located at calle Mallorca and will represent the glory.
In the project, each facade has 4 towers that symbolize the 12 apostles. They have a height between 80 and 112 metres. Inside one of them, there is a spectacular winding stairs that brings you to the top. Don't miss the splendid views of Barcelona and the temple you get from here. On the outside, there is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The Sagrada Familia has always been an expiatory church, which means that since the outset, 125 years ago now, it has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: "The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." The building is still going on and could be finished in the first third of the 21st century. (taken from www.sagradafamilia.cat).
When you finish your visit of the Sagrada Familia, go up on Avenida Gaudí, a walking street that brings you to the “Hospital de la Santa Creu y de Sant Pau”, This has been one of the projects of the architect Luis Domenech i Montaner in 1901 and is another precious work of modernism.