“La Sagrada Família,” a dramatic, imposing cathedral designed by Spanish architect Antoni Guadí, is easily Spain’s most recognisable landmark, and it isn’t even finished yet. Construction began on the church 133 years ago, in 1882, and it continues to this day.
Work crews recently began the final phase of construction, meaning the church will soon be complete after more than a century of work. It’s expected to be done in 2026.
Tourists have come from across the world to see the progress of construction on the cathedral, which has soaring ceilings, intricate facades, and bright stained-glass windows. More than three million people visit the temple each year, according to National Geographic.
The tallest tower will eventually be 564 feet high, making it the tallest religious structure in Europe.
The Neo-Gothic design was initially being planned by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, the first architect to work on ideas for the church.
Famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí took over the design of the Sagrada Família in 1883 and continued until he died in an accident in 1926. He is considered the main architect of the church.
Many challenges have come up in the progress of construction. Gaudí's designs were incredibly complex and expensive, and the Spanish Civil War completely halted progress in the late 1930s. This is how the church appeared in 2004.
Now, in 2015, it's getting much closer, but we're still a little over a decade away from its scheduled completion. The church is surrounded on all sides by residential buildings.
The main projects left to complete are the west sacristy, the central towers, and the Tower of Jesus, which will eventually be crowned with a cross 557 feet above the ground.
Barcelona's authorities are constantly figuring out how to control the number of tourists in the city. Millions visit each year.
But besides donations from private individuals, tourists pay a large portion of the estimated $27 million it costs to work on the cathedral's construction each year. It costs about $16 to get inside the Sagrada Família, or $21 to get in with a guide.
'A church is the only thing worthy of representing the soul of a people, for religion is the most elevated reality in man,' Gaudí has been quoted as saying.
When he was still alive, Gaudí was often criticised for how long it was taking to build the church. 'My client is not in a hurry,' he would reply, referring to God.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.