Sagrada Família church in Barcelona has been under contruction for 128 years. “My client is in no hurry,” Antoni Gaudí once said, referring to God. Photograph: Alamy

Barcelona’s emblematic Sagrada Família church finally has a completion date — 2026 or 2028, more than 140 years after it was started.

Joan Rigol, president of the committee charged with finishing the building by Antoni Gaudí, said it should be finished in time for the centenary for the architect’s death – or, if not, two years later.

Five huge towers are being added to the eccentric building, which is among Spain’s most-visited tourist attractions.

Gaudí died in 1926 after being runover by the city’s No 30 tram. He had been living on the Sagrada Familía building site and looked so impoverished that it took several hours for doctors to realise who he was. The tram driver thought he had hit a drunken tramp.

Originally paid for by subscription, the church was always set to take a long time to build. “My client is in no hurry,” Gaudí once said, referring to God.


Giles Tremlett