Spain church gets building permit 137 years after construction start

Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia, which receives 4.5mn annual visitors, gets building permit 137 years after first stone was laid

An aerial view of the La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.
An aerial view of the La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.

The La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, Spain referred to as a “historical anomaly” by the city’s deputy mayor of urbanism, Janet Sanz, has been issued a building permit in 2019  137 years after its first stone was laid  allowing it to continue building work until 2026.

Designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, the church receives around 4.5 million visitors every year.

However, the structure's building permit only came through on 7 June of this year. 

It is still unclear why the tourist attraction didn’t have a building permit yet, but city officials reportedly expect the permit to allow the structure to achieve full completion by 2026, to coincide with the centenary of Gaudí's death.

In a report, the BBC said that the city would be paid $5.2m as part of an agreement with the church’s foundation, which is responsible for its completion and preservation.

The Unesco heritage site was previously penalised $41m for work progressing without a permit.

The final phase of La Sagrada Familia’s construction will be based on copies of Gaudi’s plaster models and drawings, the original versions of which were destroyed in a fire in the 1930s.

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