The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família, declared world heritage by UNESCO
On 17 July 2005, at a meeting held in Durban in South Africa, UNESCO decided to add the expiatory church of La Sagrada Família to the works which have been declared world heritage. Specifically, the Nativity facade, the apse and the crypt; in other words, the parts Gaudí did directly and were finished by his immediate successors. Casa Vicens and Casa Batlló won the same recognition.
It is worth pointing out that the crypt was begun by the architect of the diocese, Francesc de Paula del Villar, who built the foundations and raised the perimeter walls and the pillars a few metres. Gaudí, who was his successor, made major changes which modified the original project. Specifically, he replaced the staircase joining the floor of the church with the crypt by the two new circular flights of steps on either side of the apse chapels. He also introduced a moat to provide the interior with ventilation and light and give the central vault greater height. The capitals, the cartouches with figures of angels and the Annunciation keystone, as well as the stained glass, are mostly his work, as are the liturgical elements and the furniture.
Despite the fire and the damage caused in 1936, the faithful restoration by the architect Quintana and the manufacture of the furniture by the craftsmen who had worked with Gaudí have ensured that the altars, confession boxes, benches, etc., are fully part of the master’s work.