Expats eager to see work on Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia restart

Published:  5 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, Australia, Euro
For British expats in Spain fascinated with the history of the as yet unfinished La Sagrada Familia, it’s bad news.

Still under construction since the late 19th century, the famous cathedral was designed by Spain’s master architect Antoni Gaudi, whose stunningly innovative buildings in the city are, along with the as yet unfinished cathedral, some of Barcelona’s strongest tourism and expat magnets. The magnificent concept isn’t expected to be completed until 2026 and, even now, is the most-visited tourist attraction in the whole of Europe.

Construction on the massive cathedral ceased in March as the coronavirus took hold, a state of emergency was announced and all tourist attractions were closed to workers, residents, expats and visitors. At present, the city authority’s tourism officials are suggesting the Sagrada Familia may be opened to visitors as early as June, but nothing’s as yet set in tablets of stone as all is dependent on the virus. Last year, revenues from the famous landmark totalled €103 million, €55 million of which went towards the continuing costs of construction.

So far this year, 45 of the 100 construction staff are now unemployed, with officials from the Catholic Church unable to state a timetable for restarting the project. The as yet unfinished cathedral is known worldwide for its designer’s genius in the use of two contrasting designs, Art Nouveau and Gothic. Gaudi himself was buried in the crypt in 1926, leaving less than 25 per cent of his innovative project completed, and the site has been a must-see for generations of tourists and expats ever since.
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