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Barcelona’s Sagrada Família finally gets building permit 130 years too late

Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona pictured in 2017 (Getty Images)

Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Família basilica has agreed to pay €36 million in back payments after going without a building permit for more than 130 years.

The church, designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, has been under construction since 1882, but without any official permit.

Until now, the building has only been marked on property registries as an empty plot belonging to the Archdiocese of Barcelona.

Barcelona mayor Ana Colau has been negotiating with the construction board to regulate the building since 2015.

“Today, the Sagrada Familia and [Barcelona city council] signed an agreement to begin the procedures to obtain the works licence of the Antoni Gaudi project,” the Sagrada Família’s Twitter account said.

The church, often mistakenly called a cathedral, is already a UNESCO world heritage site, despite being unfinished. It is due for completion in 2026.

Pope Benedict XVI raised it to the status of minor basilica in November 2010.