First two Sagrada Família towers dedicated to Evangelists to be finished in December
Barcelona's Basilica plans to inaugurate two more in 2023, and only five towers would remain to complete monument
Barcelona's unfinished Sagrada Família Basilica is closer to completion. The construction board of directors expects to finish the towers for Luke and Mark, two of the four Evangelists, in December 2022, as announced on Thursday.
"Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is a reality," Xavier Martínez, CEO of the construction board of directors, said during a press conference in the Sagrada Família. The current forecast is to welcome around 3.4 million visitors in 2022, 70% compared to 2019. In fact, during July and August 2022, the number of visitors was 94% of levels seen in the summer of 2019.
The increase in the number of visitors has allowed setting a finish date for two of the towers currently under construction since they are partially funded by ticket sales. These, once completed, will be 135 meters in height, the third-tallest towers after the 138 meters tall Virgin Mary, and the tower of Jesus Christ which, will be 172.5 meters tall.
While Mark and Luke's towers are expected to be completed in December 2022, the Matthew and John ones will be finished in 2023.
Once all four towers dedicated to the Evangelists are inaugurated, only five more will remain in order to see the construction of architect Antoni Gaudí's most famous masterpiece come to an end.
Jesus Christ tower completed in 2026
But the big change visitors and locals will see will be in 2026, when the board of directors expects to finish the Jesus Christ tower. This will be not only the basilica's tallest but also one of Barcelona's.
On top of it, workers will place a 17-meter height cross and 13.5-meter diameter, with a viewpoint of Barcelona. The idea is to build up a prototype in 2023, three years before the expected finish date.
The expected completion date, 2026, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudí's death and the celebration of Barcelona as the world capital of architecture.
So far, workers are building the eighth level of 12 at 126 meters in height, as Sagrada Família's head architect Jordi Faulí said during the press conference. The goal is to get to the 12th level, at 144 meters tall, next year.
No official inauguration in 2022
Having the Mark and Luke Evangelists' towers finished in 2022, will not mean that an inauguration will take place, as the board of directors expects.
"Once the scaffolding is off, the towers will be completely visible, but an official ceremony is not planned," Faulí said, before adding that "the reality is that in fact, the Evangelist towers will not be finished until we complete John and Matthew, as all of them are part of the same group."
However, people will get to enjoy the new towers coinciding with the Christmas concert on December 16 in the basilica.
But this opportunity will not have anything to do with that which was organized for the Virgin Mary's tower on December 8, 2021, when thousands of people gathered onsite and online to watch the lighting of the 12-point star on top of the 138-meter construction.
Four towers, three different parts
The four Evangelist towers are clearly marked, as Gaudí had planned in the XIXth century, with statues of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John.
These towers have been divided into three different parts: the shaft, the icosahedron, where workers will place lightbulbs to light up Jesus Christ tower, and the tetramorph, where the statues of animals, the books with the initials of each Evangelist, and wings will be placed.
These are elements that have been used by art and Christianity to represent the four preachers, all of which will be at a height of 135 meters.
"On top of the four Evangelist towers, architect Antoni Gaudí wanted the tetramorph, the historic and traditional Christian representation of the four Evangelists," Jordi Faulí, Sagrada Família head architect, said to Catalan News.
Gaudí wanted the Sagrada Família basilica to be a clear connection between God and nature, which is why there are hundreds of small details relating to both worlds.
Almost completed Basilica in 2026
In 2026, the tower of Jesus Christ will be completed, at least according to the board of directors' expectations. That year, however, Sagrada Família will not be finished.
Workers will still have to complete the main façade on Carrer de Mallorca street. There, the temple claims Gaudí had planned a large stairway to enter the basilica, but affected local residents disagree.
This is a complex dispute that has been going on for years, and while the city council was supposed to meet with residents and construction board of directors representatives, there have not been any developments.