The Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, ​​which is still under construction after almost a century and a half, attracted almost 3.8 million visitors last year. That’s about three times more than in the previous year, Catalan media reported on Thursday, citing church spokesmen. In 2022, revenue of a good 100 million euros was achieved, it said. That was about as much as before the corona pandemic, although the number of visitors in 2022 was still around 20 percent below that of 2019.

The money will be used to advance the construction work. What is certain, however, is that the construction of the Roman Catholic basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí cannot be completed as originally planned for the 100th anniversary of the architect’s death in 2026 due to the pandemic. The church, whose construction began in 1882 and which was long closed during the pandemic, will thus live up to its reputation as the “eternally unfinished” for a few more years.

The money to complete the construction comes entirely from donations and entrance fees. Because of Corona, for example, in 2021 there was only a budget of 17 million euros. According to estimates by the construction company, the lifework of the legendary Gaudí (1852-1926) required a total of around 400 million euros to be completed.

There is no new date for completion yet. By 2026, however, the tower of Jesus should be built. With a height of 172 meters it is said to be the tallest church tower in the world. “We’re on the home stretch,” the head of the construction company, Esteve Camps, told La Vanguardia newspaper.

The church north of the old town, built in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. dedicated to the basilica, is a symbol of Barcelona and, next to the palace-like Alhambra Castle in Granada, southern Spain, the most visited attraction in Spain. The sacred building combines the neo-Gothic and modern styles. The church has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005.