Sagrada Família now has two more completed towers

Barcelona's famed Basilica plans to finish two more in 2023, with central tower of Jesus expected for 2026

Evangelist Luke tower in Sagrada Família completed on November 23, 2022
Evangelist Luke tower in Sagrada Família completed on November 23, 2022 / Sagrada Família
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 29, 2022 11:59 AM

Barcelona's famous basilica, the Sagrada Família, still under construction after 140 years, took another step closer to completion after the construction of the first two Evangelist towers on Tuesday.

The board of construction directors expected to finish the towers dedicated to Luke and Mark, two of the four Evangelists, in December 2022, but fast works allowed them to be finished earlier.

Luke's tower was finished on November 14, topped with the figure of a calf. Since then, all efforts have been directed toward completing Mark's tower and setting the sculpture of the lion on top of the building. 

Sagrada Família is still awaiting three more central towers to be completed. The towers of John and Matthew are expected to be finished in 2023, while the central one dedicated to Jesus, which will be the largest when the basilica is finally finished, is expected to be completed in 2026.

Works have been completed using scaffolding which will now be removed to allow passersby to marvel at the two newly finished towers. 

Both will be illuminated for the first time on December 16, after the traditional Sagrada Família Christmas concert, and will be lit up until January 8 from 6 pm to 10 pm.

The speeding-up of construction comes after the recovery from Covid-19, which is now "a reality," as Xavier Martínez, CEO of the board of construction directions, said during a press conference in the Basilica back in September.

The current forecast is to welcome around 3.4 million visitors this year, 70% of the ones that entered the building in 2019. 

This increase has allowed the two new towers to be finished as construction is partially funded by ticket sales. 

The towers of the four Evangelists will be 135 meters in height, all equally the third-tallest towers after the 138-meter tall Virgin Mary tower, and the tower of Jesus Christ, which will be 172.5 meters tall.

The four Evangelist towers are 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, in which 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.

Gaudí also wanted the Sagrada Família basilica to be a clear connection between God and nature, which is why there are hundreds of tiny details relating to both worlds.

Jesus Christ tower completed in 2026

Visitors and locals will see a significant change in the Sagrada Família in 2026 when the board of directors expects to finish the Jesus Christ tower. It will not only be the basilica's tallest but also the tallest one in Barcelona.

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 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 in September. The goal is to reach the 12th level, at 144 meters tall, next year.

Almost completed Basilica in 2026

In 2026, the tower of Jesus Christ will be completed, 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. The temple claims Gaudí had planned a giant stairway to enter the basilica, but affected residents disagree.

It is a complex dispute that has been going on for years. While the city council was supposed to meet with residents and construction board of directors representatives, there have not been any developments.