THE architectural masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi took another step towards completion as a giant multifaceted star was lifted into place atop one of Sagrada Familia’s main towers.
The 12-pointed star, which weighs 5.5 tonnes and measures 7 metres across, was installed atop the tower dedicated to the Virgin Mary on Monday.
It will be illuminated from December 8, a national holiday in Spain to mark the immaculate conception.
Architects have been labouring to finish the basilica for close to 140 years and it was slated for completion by 2026 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
The visionary architect began work on his most ambitious project in 1882 but his death in 1926 beneath the wheels of a tram in the Catalan capital meant completion of his opus was entrusted to future generations.
Known as ‘God’s architect’ for his pious yet visionary obsession, Gaudi died penniless after sinking all his money into the project when public funds dried up.
During the Spanish Civil war of 1936-39 anarchists burned the original plans for the project leaving modern architects struggling to remain true to Gaudí’s vision.
However, as the target completion date of 2026 edges closer, the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll.
Without the huge numbers of tourists visiting the unfinished site – which is Barcelona’s most popular tourist site and the second in Spain after the Alhambra – resources are dwindling.
Before the pandemic hit, the site attracted 60,000 visitors a day and filled the coffers with around €100m in 2019 alone.