The first stone of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia was laid in 1882, but following 137 years of illegal construction the Basilica has finally received a building permit.
The city of Barcelona awarded the permit on Friday, allowing construction to continue with a projected 2026 completion date.
The Basilica of the Sagrada Família, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, submitted its application and a blueprint of plans signed by the man himself, architect and visionary Antoni Gaudi, in 1885.
Described as “ahead of his time” Gaudí devoted more than 40 years to the Temple of Sagrada Familia, taking over the project from architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, when Gaudi was aged 31.
Some 137 years later, Barcelona's city council has granted the building permit to the committee in charge of completing the construction of the church, the temple trust, for 4.6 million euros.
The permit provides for a maximum floor space of 53,495sq m, with two floors below ground.
The licence covers the site currently occupied by the temple, but doesn’t include the project’s external access staircase for the Gloria façade, which council says will be studied in a working commission by the temple trust, local residents and organisations.
The Sagrada Família is one of Barcelona’s most visited sites, receiving up to 20 million visitors a year, with 4.5 million of whom visit its interior.
Construction of the Sagrada Familia is finally expected to reach completion by 2026, with a maximum height of 172 metres and a 374-million euro budget.
Activity licences have also been processed, establishing the main use of the temple as a prayer centre open to visitors, and a museum space.
Last year the city council signed what it describes as a “pioneering” agreement that will see the Sagrada Família contribute 36 million euros across ten years to ensure it manages the high volume of tourists and improves the surrounding area with upgrades such as bus service and metro access.
Plans for construction to be successfully completed by 2026 will see the Sagrada Familia's finish commemorate the centenary of Gaudi's death.