Society 29/11/2021

Star now crowns Sagrada Família's Mare de Déu tower

The new element, 138 metres above the ground, will be illuminated for the first time on 8 December

3 min
Star of the Holy Family

BarcelonaThe Sagrada Família has already reached 138 metres in height with the completion of the with the completion of the Mare de Déu tower, which, until the tower of Jesus (172.5 metres) has been completed, will be the tallest in the church. Today a large crane has placed the 12-pointed star on top of the tower so that it will be ready for the inauguration on December 8, when it will be illuminated for the first time. Barcelona's skyline, however, has already undergone a historic change today with the crowning of the tower.

The star, which has a diameter of seven and a half meters and weighs five and a half tons, has already been put in place, after it was assembled in the church's courtyard over the past few weeks. It is made of textured glass with a stainless steel structure s: during the day it will be illuminated by the sun and, at night, the light will come from inside, from the white light bulbs installed at the base of each of the points.

But this will not happen until nightfall on the day of the Immaculate Conception. And the church has already prepared a series of events to give notice of the great moment: from December 1st the website will be launched, where everyone who wants to can press a button to participate –free of charge– in the symbolic lighting of the column that supports the star: on Dec. 4th the base of the tower will be lit, and on Dec. 6th the shaft will be lit. The culminating moment will take place on Dec. 8th at dusk, when, after a solemn mass and the blessing of the tower, the star will be lit and, for the first time, both tower and star will shine. It is expected to take place at 7.40 pm.

The crowning of the tower of the Virgin Mary

The architect directing the works, Jordi Faulí, explains that, once lit, it will seem that the star is suspended in the sky, as if it were weightless. From the day of the Immaculate Conception, the tower will be lit every evening. The ex officio president of the Construction Board of the Sagrada Familia, Joan Josep Omella, is the one who will officiate the mass.

Once this tower, which is to be the second tallest in the church, has been completed, the work will focus on completing the towers of the evangelists and the tower of Jesus Christ, which will end in a cross-shaped viewpoint 172.5 metres above the ground. This will make it considerably taller than the 154 metres of the Hotel Arts and the Mapfre Tower, the tallest buildings in the city, but it will not be as tall as Montjuïc, which Gaudí wanted to remain as the main reference point in the city. The tower of St. Luke will be the first to be finished, for which the materials have already been produced, and visitors will also be able to visit the first two levels on the Jesus Christ tower.

The star at the top of the tower

What nobody dares to venture yet is when the Sagrada Família will be complete. The latest date was 2026, but covid – and the lack of income from tourism – threw that out of the window. The Construction Board's forecast is to update their calendar at the end of 2022. Although the projections for 2022 are "optimistic" – income is expected to reach 35% or 40% of 2019, with up to €34m allocated to the works – the temple is "cautious" and does not expect to recover pre-pandemic visitor numbers before 2024.