Even La Sagrada Familia's Final Completion Date Isn't Final

The towering Barcelona basilica could be completed by 2026

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Barcelona's iconic La Sagrada Familia basilica, the soaring, surreal brainchild of architect Antoni Gaudi, has been under construction forever. Well, more accurately, since the early 1880s. A 560-foot central tower with a giant cross (a structure that will mark the city's highest point) and several other towers have yet to be built, and construction stalled in April when a man set fire to the church's sacristy (the picture above shows firemen standing outside the building after the incident).

But the president of the foundation overseeing the project delivered big news this week: An end is in sight! "If nothing new happens, construction work may finish in 15 or 17 years," Joan Rigol explained. A completion date of 2026 would be particularly appropriate since it would mark the centenary of Gaudi's death. But, of course, that's if things go to plan. And Rigol is already cautioning that they might not. "I'm not saying [the finish date] is wrong, I hope it is not, but it is not that simple," he told a local radio station. "This is a very complex work and needs a lot of investigation." Sometimes one gets the feeling that La Sagrada Familia will always be under construction. And tourists, intrigued by the towering, incomplete masterpiece, will flock to the site nonetheless.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.