La Sagrada Familia cathedral, the symbol of Spain’s second largest city Barcelona, obtained a belated construction permission. It has been 137 years since its construction started in 1882.
According to a report of The Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday (local time), the city government of Barcelona issued a construction permit effective until 2026 to the Sagrada Familia construction committee.
The cathedral also known as “Gaudi cathedral” because it was designed by world-class architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) started its construction in 1882, but the government found that its construction has never been officially permitted as late as in 2016. The committee agreed to pay 4.6 million euros (around 6.164 billion won) after a long negotiation with the government.
The cathedral famous for its unique exterior was designated as world heritage by the UNESCO in 2005. More than 4.5 million tourists pay to look around Gaudi’s masterpiece every year. The admission fee of 17 to 38 euros (some 22,700 to 50,900 won) is the main source of income of the city. “Some 20 million tourists visit the cathedral if we include those who do not actually go inside,” said an insider of the city government.
Ever since Gaudi died after getting hit by a tram in 1926 when just one side of the cathedral was completed, construction has continued based on the architectural drawings he left. “We will complete the construction at all costs by 2026, the 100th year since Gaudi’s death,” said staff members of the cathedral. “The current progress rate is 70 percent.” Its height will be 172.5 meters, the highest religious building in Europe, when the central tower is completed.