La Sagrada Família (Catalan, 'The Holy Family') is a massive Roman Catholic basilica under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".
Construction began in 1882 and its formal title is Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. Antoni Gaudí worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to this endeavour. On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have joked, "My client is not in a hurry." After Gaudí's death in 1926, work continued under the direction of Domènech Sugranyes until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1935.
Parts of the unfinished building and Gaudí's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists. The design, as now being constructed, is based both on reconstructed versions of the lost plans and on modern adaptations. Every part of the design of La Sagrada Família is rich with Christian symbolism, as Gaudí intended the church to be the "last great sanctuary of Christendom". Its most striking aspect is its spindle-shaped towers. A total of 18 tall towers are called for, representing in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary and, tallest of all, Jesus Christ.
The Church will have three grand façades: the Nativity façade to the East, the Glory façade to the South (yet to be completed) and the Passion façade to the West. The Nativity facade was built before work was interrupted in 1935 and bears the most direct Gaudí influence. The Passion façade is especially striking for its spare, gaunt, tormented characters, including emaciated figures of Christ being flogged and on the crucifix. These controversial designs are the work of Josep Subirachs.