Speed Reads

It's about time

It took 137 years, but Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia basilica finally has a permit

Bureaucratic snafus have always been a thing, as the La Sagrada Familia Foundation and city of Barcelona can attest.

Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí began construction on the La Sagrada Familia, a Catholic basilica, in Barcelona in 1882. In 1885, he applied for a permit, sending the city signed blueprints for the church, but he never received a response. That didn't stop him from building the church, and 137 years later, it's still under construction, with the work based on Gaudí's plaster models and copies of his drawings.

The church is a major tourist attraction, with more than 4 million people visiting every year, and the city decided it was finally time to make things official with a permit. Over the last three years, the La Sagrada Familia Foundation and the city of Barcelona have been working on getting a permit for the building, and it was finally granted on Friday. With this new license, construction can continue, with an estimated completion date of 2026.

Barcelona's Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urbanism, and Mobility Janet Sanz told NPR it was "a historical anomaly that La Sagrada Familia did not have a license," and the "La Sagrada Familia team knew they could not continue like this and that they would need to pay accordingly." The foundation will pay $5.1 million to Barcelona, and moving forward, the foundation and city will both cover the church's expenses.