Sagrada Familia Will Pay Millions After 136 Years Without a Permit

The Sagrada Familia | Photo by Erin L. McCoy
Erin L. McCoy
More than 130 years after construction began on Barcelona's most iconic church, it turns out that the Sagrada Familia never had a building permit. Now, the basilica has agreed to pay the city back-fees for all those years of nonpayment. The Sagrada Familia will pay millions—$41 million, to be exact—to the city of Barcelona in a space of just 10 years.

The basilica was designed by famed Catalán architect Antoni Gaudí. Construction began in 1882, and is expected to reach completion in 2026. By 2022, it will be Barcelona's tallest building, according to Spanish newspaper El País.

The funds that the church is slated to pay back will cover improvements in public services and transport, TIME reports. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau called the culmination of the agreement a "historic day" for the city.

The Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws 20 million visitors a year—4.5 million of whom pay to step inside the awe-inspiring structure. It can be expected, then, that the church will not find it too difficult to muster up the funds necessary to pay back the city of Barcelona.

Construction plans around creating an access road, tunnel, and staircase to help visitors reach the Sagrada Familia have also generated controversy, as some have proposed removing as many as 150 homes in the area to achieve these aims. Neighbors of the temple demonstrated on Oct. 18 calling for a resolution to this question.

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Tags : architectureBarcelonafeaturedGaudíSagrada Familia
Erin L. McCoy

The author Erin L. McCoy

Erin L. McCoy is an award-winning photojournalist who holds an MA in Hispanic studies from the University of Washington. She's traveled to 20+ countries, five continents, and 45 U.S. states, but she's starting to lose count of how many times she's visited Spain.

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