This massive unfinished monument to the Sacred Family was Gaudi’s greatest dream and ambition.
It’s easy to forget any controversy when walking to Sagrada Familia. Soaring majestically over the buildings and treetops as you approach it, Gaudi’s monument to the Sacred Family does take your breath away. And the original concept – a vast and spiritually transcendant church with 18 spires up to 600 feet tall – does not lack for inspiration or drama. But over a century as a “work in progress” has beset Gaudi's dream with challenges. Lack of funding, fighting over his intent, construction proceeding at a snail's pace and the clash of old and new artistic styles are just a few of the bones of contention. Even so, Sagrada Familia is something most people will want to see, as a fascinating example of Gaudi’s imaginative and idiosyncratic design, in spite of construction cranes, scaffolding and debris. Interestingly, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated Sagrada Familia as a basilica in 2010, revitalizing hopes that funds (and popular momentum) can now be found to complete it before its due date – in 2026!