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food / travel

La Sagrada Familia Delayed Again — Blame COVID-19 This Time

Hopes were dashed by local officials to see the completion of the iconic Barcelona church in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the death of its renowned architect Antoni Gaudí.

La Sagrada Familia Delayed Again — Blame COVID-19 This Time

Work on La Sagrada Familia has been delayed because of the pandemic

Laure Gautherin

By most accounts, it's currently the longest-running construction project in the world. And now, the completion of work on the iconic Barcelona church La Sagrada Familia, which began all the way back in 1882, is going to take even longer.

Barcelona-based daily El Periodico daily reports that work on the church, which began as the vision of master architectAntoni Gaudí, was slated to be completed in 2026. But a press conference Tuesday, Sep. 21 confirmed that the deadline won't be met, in part because of delays related to COVID-19. Officials also provided new details about the impending completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin).


El Periódico - 09/22/2021

El Periodico daily reports on the latest delay from what may be the longest-running construction project in the world.

One tower after the other… Slowly but surely,La Sagrada Familia has been growing bigger and higher before Barcelonians and visitors' eager eyes for nearly 140 years. However, all will have to be a bit more patient before they see the famous architectural project finally completed. During Tuesday's press conference, general director of the Construction Board of the Sagrada Familia, Xavier Martínez, and the architect director, Jordi Faulí, had some good and bad news to share.

As feared, La Sagrada Familia's completion date has been delayed. Because of the pandemic, the halt put on the works in early March when Spain went into a national lockdown. So the hopes are dashed of the 2026 inauguration in what would have been the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.

Although he excluded new predictions of completion until post-COVID normalcy is restored - no earlier than 2024 -, Martínez says: "Finishing in 2030, rather than being a realistic forecast, would be an illusion, starting the construction process will not be easy," reportsLa Vanguardia.

But what's a few more years when you already have waited 139, after all? However delayed, the construction will reach another milestone very soon with the completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin), the first tower of the temple to be completed in 44 years and the second tallest spire of the complex. It will be crowned by a 12-pointed star which will be illuminated on December 8, Immaculate Conception Day.

Next would be the completion of the Evangelist Lucas tower and eventually, the tower of Jesus Christ, the most prominent of the Sagrada Familia, reaching 172.5 meters thanks to an illuminated 13.5 meters wide "great cross." It will be made of glass and porcelain stoneware to reflect daylight and will be illuminated at night and project rays of light.

Pope Benedict XVI gets into the Glory Gate of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral to consecrate the temple, November 7, 2010 - EFE/ZUMApress.com

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Society

Lusail Postcard: City Of The Future And Window Into Qatar's Ambitions

The Qatar World Cup has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. However, the newly constructed city of Lusail in the country makes one thing clear: the West is not the target audience for this World Cup. Qatar has different, even bigger ambitions.

phot of a big oval and modern stadium

A general view of Lusail stadium, Qatar in April

© Marcio Machado / ZUMA Press Wire
Laura-Mai Gaveriaux

LUSAIL — In business class on Qatar Airways, the screens are showing a series of 3D images of a high-tech, utopian city. The focus is on environmental performance, luxury and sophistication. Shopping centers, high-rise apartment blocks and luscious green spaces reel past, 50 seconds of refinement and harmony accompanied by elevator music. In the final scene, a man wearing a white thobe and keffiyeh, the iconic traditional dress of the Gulf region, proclaims: “Lusail City, it’s my home.”

Some 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from the center of Doha, the “city of the future” is still emerging from the ground. Only three of the planned districts are ready to move into, but according to Lusail Real Estate Development, 90% of the homes have already been sold. However, it is impossible to know exactly what state the construction site is in – the authorities have not responded to inquiries. Lusail is a symbol of the new era that Qatar ushered in in 2010 when its bid to host the 22nd Football World Cup was successful. The city is due to host the final match of the competition on Dec. 18.

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