Procrastination on a biblical scale

Under construction since 1882, the Sagrada Familia church has been slow work, but Barcelona’s main attraction still re

Remember that feeling you had at school when, having had a whole year to prepare, you sat down surrounded by papers and books the night before an exam, trying to cram everything in at the last minute? Well, replace the exam with building a cathedral, and if the school year had started in 1882, you’d get some idea of how the team behind Barcelona’s main attraction is feeling right now.

Pope Benedict 16th is in town to consecrate the Sagrada Familia, a church which, even after 128 years of construction, is still very far from finished. A look at its intricate towers gives an indication as to why it’s taking so long. The architect who designed it all those years ago is Antoni Gaudi. His style is elaborate and unique. If I knew anything about architecture I could give a more sophisticated description, but as it is, I’ll say that it’s very curvy and influenced by nature, and hope that you can check out the pictures attached to this blog!

When designing the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi did not opt for simplicity, and scale did not faze him: The plan is for the church to have for 18 towers in total, to represent the key figures of Christianity. The tallest one, meant to symbolise Jesus Christ, hasn’t even been erected yet. So, after a century and a quarter, rush is a relative term, but hundreds of craftsmen have indeed been rushing to get the inside of the church ready for the Pope to celebrate mass.

The interior of the church may now ready for its special guest, but the earliest predicted date for the completion of the outside isn’t for another 15 years. In life, Gaudi was very religious and often said that he wasn’t in a hurry to finish his project because his client (God) wasn’t in a hurry either.

Still, the mere mortals who are curious and impatient to see the Sagrada Familia in all its completed glory should take heart from the story of the main cathedral in Milan, the Duomo: a whopping five hundred years in the making. The team in Barcelona can take their time…. 

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