WHAT comes to mind if you were to guess what the most popular tourist attraction in the world is?

If you guessed the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, or the Empire State Building you’d be wrong. It’s a church in Barcelona that is yet to be completed. 

Some three million people visit The La Sagrada Família every year and the impressive Roman Catholic church is the most reviewed tourist attraction in the world on TripAdvisor, with over 164,200 reviews and counting.

Antoni Gaudi’s fairytale basilica is something of an architectural wonder but when he died in 1926,  his church was only a quarter complete. 

During his lifetime, Gaudi completed the crypt and the Nativity facade at the side, which have been declared a World Heritage Site.

Work has continued since his death, with surviving models and drawings making it possible to continue the architectural feat, which continues to be funded by private donations and entry tickets. 

Sagrada Familia Cross Of Virgin Mary's Spire Installed
November 29, 2021, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain: Operators install a giant crystal star on top of the Virgin Mary’s Spire of the Basilica ‘La Sagrada Familia’.

The pandemic forced the work to be abandoned temporarily but the goal is for the church to be completed to coincide with the centenary of its architect’s death. 

Thanks to the tireless work of thousands of workmen, The Sagrada Família is at last approaching completion, with the dodecahedron star placed atop the second-highest tower on December 8. 

Standing tall at 138 metres and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is the tallest of the nine completed towers and the first to be inaugurated since 1976. 

At 12m wide, weighing 5.5 tonnes and with a price tag of €1.5 million, the star will illuminate the progress for the next stage of work, which includes a vast ramp stairway. 

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