The Sagrada Familia holds the title of being the world’s largest unfinished Catholic church. But that is about to change, it seems. After around a century and a half of building work, the yet unfinished minor basilica that is both Barcelona’s best-known landmark and the architectural masterwork of the Servant of God Antoni Gaudí, is just one tower away from being complete. Its first stone was laid in March 1882.
Now, the organization in charge of the Basilica just announced that the four towers of the Evangelists are now complete. Of the 18 towers Gaudí included in his final design, 17 are finally fully built: 12 of them dedicated to the Apostles, four to the Evangelists, and one to the Virgin Mary (which was finished in 2021).
As read in the note published by The New Daily, “the towers of Matthew, John, Luke and Mark that surround the tower of Jesus Christ are each 135 metres tall, making them the third tallest at the basilica.” On this coming November 12, the towers will be officially inaugurated. They will then be illuminated for the first time and will stay lit until Christmas.
One more tower to go
The final and tallest tower, rising 172.5 meters high, will be dedicated to Jesus Christ. It’s the only piece of the structure that remains unfinished.
If everything goes as planned, the basilica will be finished in 2026.
The reason why this is the highest tower is self-evident. Being dedicated to the main character of the Christian Bible, God-made-man, it is only logical it is indeed the tallest one.
But the reason why the tower is not any taller is even more interesting.
The Montjuïc Hill, in Barcelona, rises 177 meters above sea level. Gaudí firmly believed architecture and nature should harmoniously coexist. This is a principle that permeates all of his work. However, he would always give nature the seat of honor, convinced as he was that human ingenuity should never yield to hubris. God’s work, nature itself, is always of a “higher” order. The tallest tower in his church could never be taller than one of the mountains overlooking the city.