Long-gestating plans to complete work on Sagrada Familia, the fantastical destination in Barcelona designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, have been pushed back beyond the recent goal of 2026 to mark the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. The iconic cathedral has been unfinished since it began construction more than a century ago, and it will remain in its not-yet-completed state for more time to come.
According to the Agence France-Presse, officials in Spain have not yet announced a new expected completion date for the cathedral, which ranks among the country’s most-visited tourist sites. The recent delay has been attributed to the effects of the pandemic to the cathedral’s funding.
Esteve Camps, the chairman of the Sagrada Familia’s construction board, said, “The effects of the pandemic have forced us to rethink our planned timeline. This affects the end date we had planned for 2026.”
The AFP report said that the Sagrada Familia only has the funds to erect a tower devoted to the Virgin Mary, which, when completed, will be the second-tallest such structure in the cathedral. That 452-foot-tall tower is currently expected to be completed in 2021.
Construction began in 1882 on the Sagrada Familia, which is Gaudí’s most famous creation. Since then, construction has only been interrupted once, during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. When the architect died in 1926, not even a quarter of the cathedral was built.
Gaudí envisioned the cathedral as a structure that could present the life of Jesus Christ over the course of 18 spires. Like many of his other buildings, Sagrada Familia is extravagant, with an interior filled with stained glass inset in a colonnaded, cavernous hall that rises upward. When completed, it is expected to be the tallest cathedral in the world.