Begun in 1882 by public subscription, the Sagrada Família was originally intended as a modest, expiatory building that would atone for the city’s increasingly revolutionary ideas. When Antoni Gaudí – only 31 years of age – took charge, he changed the direction and scale of the project almost immediately, seeing in the Sagrada Família an opportunity to reflect his own deepening spiritual and nationalist feelings. Indeed, after he finished the Parc Güell in 1911, Gaudí vowed never to work again on secular projects, but to devote himself solely to the Sagrada Família, which became perhaps the most daring creation in all Art Nouveau. Gaudí even ended up living in a workshop on site, and he was adapting the plans ceaselessly right up to his untimely death. Run over by a tram on the Gran Vía on June 7, 1926, he died in hospital three days later – his death was treated as a Catalan national disaster, and all of Barcelona turned out for his funeral procession. Following papal dispensation, he was buried in the Sagrada Família crypt, a fitting resting place for an architect whose masterpiece was designed (he said), to show “the religious realities of present and future life … man’s origin, his end”.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Barcelona features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities, but relatively few tourists venture beyond the suburbs. Yet, just a couple of hours’ drive from the met…

04 Aug 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
Madrid or Barcelona: which should you visit first?

Madrid or Barcelona: which should you visit first?

Spain’s two biggest cities have long had a friendly rivalry – and it goes far beyond football. Madrid is, of course, Spain’s capital city and as well as b…

27 Apr 2016 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Barcelona

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Barcelona

Barcelona – Spain’s second city – sets the template for urban style, hip design and sheer nonstop energy. Where others tinker at the edges, time and again…

22 Apr 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook