Photography: Bernard Gagnon

Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia has been under construction for 137 years despite having no official building permit, but it’s finally got the rubber stamp from the city’s planning department.

The license covers the building for seven years – running until its 2026 completion date, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of its architect, Antoni Gaudí’s death.

Construction work at La Sagrada Familia is scheduled for completion in 2026 – the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death
Photography: KarinKarin

Why precisely the building has had no permit for 137 years is somewhat unclear, though its original license, issued in 1885 by Sant Martí de Provençals, was invalidated when the town was absorbed into the city of Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia has agreed to pay a $41m penalty for the unauthorised building works over 10 years, with some of that money earmarked for improving public transport across the surrounding area. The iconic Modernisme landmark draws around three million tourists a year.

Sagrada Familia's nave details
Photography: SBA73

Read next: Antoni Gaudí’s first house in Barcelona opens as a museum

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