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Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Will Finally Be Complete in 2026 After More Than 140 Years

It’s a landmark that’s been more than 140 years in the making—and now, it will finally be complete.

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which has been under construction since 1882, will be finished in 2026, CNN reported on Monday. Its Chapel of the Assumption is expected to be done in 2025, and the Tower of Jesus Christ will follow the next year, according to the organization in charge of managing the site.

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Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect whose work can be seen around Barcelona, designed the famous church. He envisioned the structure as having 18 spindle-shaped towers, each a nod to a different biblical figure: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the 12 apostles, and the four evangelists. By the time of Gaudí’s death in 1926, the Sagrada Familia was just 10 to 15 percent complete, including a crypt, a transept, and some of the apse wall. (Gaudí’s tomb actually rests beneath the cathedral.)

Then, in the late 1930s, the Spanish Civil War slowed down construction even further. During that time, most of Gaudí’s designs and models for the building were destroyed. In the following years, the Sagrada Familia has used surviving and reconstructed materials, CNN noted, along with interpretations of the original designs.

Despite not yet being a complete building, Sagrada Familia was honored as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, and Pope Benedict XVI consecrated it for religious worship in 2010. In 2016, authorities realized the structure had never been given official planning permission, meaning the construction had been occurring illegally for some 130-plus years. Barcelona’s city council belatedly issued a building permit in 2019. At that time, the project was about 70 percent complete, so crews have been working at a somewhat speedy clip in the intervening years.

Once fully finished, the Sagrada Familia will become the tallest church in the world, CNN reports, beating out Germany’s Ulm Minster for that title. The Tower of Jesus Christ, that final component, will stand 566 feet tall and feature a 56-foot-tall four-armed cross.

Now, locals and tourists alike have to wait just a couple of years to see the Sagrada Familia in all its glory—no cranes or construction crews in site. A full 100 years after his death, Gaudí would likely be pleased to see that outcome, too.

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