Barcelona during COVID-19: Sagrada Familia and NO Tourists!

On any given year the Sagrada Família receives over 4 million visitors. They say that 20 million people come and stand outside just to stare at it. So it’s incredible to see the streets surrounding Spain’s most visited monuments in 2019 without anybody here. 

Construction of the Sagrada família began on March 19th, 1882 and since then this is the longest work stoppage since the Civil War. Doors officially reopened on July 3rd with tickets going to citizens and health care workers so they can see the Sagrada Família without any tourists. Tickets are already sold out until September with the next batch being available on the official website in August. Maybe you won’t have that opportunity so I thought it would be fun just like with La Rambla to get out the camera check out the Sagrada Família with nobody here. 

We’ve started our walk over here along the Passion Façade which is one of the three façades designed to be in the temple upon completion, the other two being the Nativity Façade, which was the first to be constructed, and the Glory Façade, which work has just begun this calendar year. 

As we come up on that Glory Façade we’ll see what will be the entrance to the temple upon its completion in the year 2026 to mark the 100th year anniversary of Antoni Gaudí’s passing. One of the issues that has been brought up in the last couple years surrounding the Sagrada Família and its continual construction and specifically this façade is to how much it’s going to affect, not only the neighborhood of Sagrada Família, but also a specific block of apartments that lay directly in front of that eventual entrance. 

Why this is all become an issue recently is because while the Sagrada Família was started in 1882 and filed for its building permit just three years later, it took 133 years for them to receive that official license and what that new permission allows for is the continuing of the plans to have the main entrance on the other side of the street allowing for the cars to continue to pass through by the connection of a bridge just over the street.

Now in a city like Barcelona that receives over 30 million visitors a year in front of a monument like the Sagrada Família looks like the one that we just received wouldn’t really happen in a normal year but because the borders have been closed and we haven’t received tourism in over three months, someone walking around with a camera and a backpack sticks out like a sore thumb.

Now as we round the corner onto Marina, this is the one street that’s really going to show everybody just how empty the streets are surrounding the Sagrada Familia. Marina has been closed to through traffic since 2017 following the terrorist attacks that took place on La Rambla and it’s scare for what could have happened over here in front of Sagrada Família. 

The lack of cars offers a great space for other selfies and group photos but even better pictures can be found on the other side of the park in the Plaça de Gaudi.

The Sagrada Família more than anything is the Bible in stone and the Nativity Façade reflects that birth and the life of Christ. This was also the first facade that Gaudí began to work on and really the only façade that he worked on during his lifetime. And it would be the Nativity Façade that became the blueprint for what the other façades would look like in the future with other architects in charge. Gaudí also began on the Nativity Façade not for any chronological order but because he felt that people would receive this façade in a better light than that of the Passion and give more donations to help continue construction. 

The current goal within the last two years is to finish each of the 18 towers that atop the Sagrada Família 4 on each of 3 façades that represent the disciples 4 more for the Evangelist, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; one tower representing the Virgin Mary; and the final tower, the Jesus tower, which will be 172.5 meters tall, making theSagrada Família not only the tallest building in Barcelona but the tallest Church in the world.

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