Sagrada Familia’s 137 Year Wait For A Building Permit


We can of course – and should – giggle over this little story, it taking Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia, some 137 years to gain a building permit:

Sagrada Familia gets building permit after 137 years

As to why it took so long just happenstance:

As recently as 2016, municipal officials were shocked to discover that the request for a permit had been pending since 1885, when Gaudí, having taken over the project from Francisco de Paula del Villar, submitted his plans to the town hall of Sant Martí de Provençals, a village now part of Barcelona, but never received a reply.

Eh, it got lost. But that’s not actually what the real story is, not at all. This is:

The foundation added that the licence is “the result of a combined effort between Barcelona City Hall and the Sagrada Família, who have worked closely together over the last two years”.

There’s a bloody great cathedral rising in the middle of the city. It’s a Unesco World Heritage Site. It’s one of the most visited buildings in the entire world. There’s absolutely no way at all that it’s not going to get a building certificate. Come on, Barcelona’s – even Barcelona’s not going to do this – not going to tell them to tear down the illegal construction now, is it?

So, the licence always was going to be issued. And yet it still took them two years? Which actually is a good lesson in how bureaucracy makes the modern world slower and thus poorer, isn’t it?

By the way, would be willing to make a sizeable bet that this isn’t, by any means, the longest wait for approval. Has anyone actually seen the one which reads “Dear Mr. Cheops, on consideration your plans have been approved”? Or perhaps “Dear Ozzie, on consideration thy mighty have not been granted approval and therefore must be removed”?

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Dodgy Geezer
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By the way, would be willing to make a sizeable bet that this isn’t, by any means, the longest wait for approval.

There is a reasonable case to be made that these 15,000 year old paintings were destroyed because they did not have the necessary paperwork…


It is most definitely not in the middle of Barcelona. It was begun on an area of wasteground outside a village on the fringes of Barcelona. Even in the 1980s, Barcelone had not expanded to the village. There was empty land between the basilica and the city