BARCELONA – A huge crystal star is installed on the tower of the Virgin Mary of the Sagrada Familia. Completely against the wishes of many residents of Barcelona. They accuse the religious foundation that builds Gaudí’s masterpiece of idiosyncrasy.
The star weighs 5.5 tons and measures 7 metres from tip to tip. And, it will grace the Barcelona skyline at a height of 138 metres. From December 8, the star will also be illuminated. According to Archbishop Juan José Omellá, the star marks the completion of the construction of the tower dedicated to the Virgin Mary, describing it as “a historic moment after a year of darkness and tireless struggle”. Moreover, its design and construction cost €1.5 million.
Sagrada Familia Star
The foundation and the municipality have been looking forward to the opening of the tower for a long time. Furthermore, it is hoped this attraction will again attract more visitors to the Sagrada Familia and the star, thus generating income. The basilica attracted approximately 60,000 visitors a day before the corona pandemic. However, that number has reduced significantly since, and with all the financial consequences that entails. Until September, the number of visitors made up 30% of that in 2019. Whereas, in October, it increased slightly to 40%.
Residents’ associations believe the religious foundation is once again treating them with pride with this new addition to the Catalan capital’s skyline. They describe the star as “aesthetically awful.”
However, the star is not their main concern. El País writes they fear the foundation plans to build a huge overhang at a height of 25 metres on the Gloria facade. It will be a kind of pergola of 50 metres long that will reach the pavement. This expansion will affect approximately 1,000 families and businesses in the area. Furthermore, dozens of houses will have to be demolished. Therefore, they are considering taking legal action. Although the plans affect them directly, they accuse the municipality and the foundation of never having consulted with them – except for one meeting earlier this year.
In November, the residents’ association called for all work on the site to be halted until future building plans had been worked out in the tripartite meeting between residents, the foundation and the city council.
Opponents of the plan argue that the staircase was designed by Gaudí’s disciples after his death and was not part of the architect’s original plans that were destroyed by anarchists at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
Synonym for unfinished business
Since work began 139 years ago, the Sagrada Familia has become synonymous with unfinished business. The end date was 2026, but this has been delayed due to the pandemic. A new date has not yet been announced.