The Sagrada Familia invitations medical workers to reopen on July 4th

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The Sagrada Família designed by Antoni Gaudí will reopen on July 4th after more than 100 days of closure due to the coronavirus crisis.

The unfinished basilica, which had to be closed to tourists on March 13, offers medical practitioners and their families free admission on Saturday in the first phase of their reopening.

Cardinal Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona and President of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, will meet the presidents of the colleges of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and physiotherapists on the same day, the Religión Digital website reported.

The entry into the first phase will also be extended to other people involved in the fight against the pandemic, including security forces, employees of social organizations and NGOs as well as employees of companies and retail groups.

This tribute to Barcelona's frontline workers will last two weekends, July 4th to 5th and July 11th to 12th.

In the second phase, the “Hora Barcelona” (“Barcelona Hour”), the city's residents have free entry to the basilica, in small groups and without the presence of tourists.

When the first batch of 37,000 tickets for the second phase was made available on June 16, all tickets were reserved within five hours. The second phase covers the months of July and August.

In the third phase, the Sagrada Familia will accommodate both local and international tourists.

The basilica is expected to be completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí's death.

Gaudí, a pious and ascetic personality, started working on the project in 1883. In 1914, he stopped all other work to focus solely on the basilica, which he dedicated to until his unexpected death.

He was hit by a tram in 1926 at the age of 73 when he went to confess to the St. Philip Neri Church in Barcelona. Passers-by did not recognize the famous architect because of his worn clothing and the lack of identification papers.

He died three days after the accident and was buried in the crypt of his unfinished basilica. His reason for canonization was opened in Rome in 2003.

Last month, the basilica finally received official building permit 137 years after the start of construction.

The construction work was slow at first because the work depended on private donations. Construction was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, during which the combatants set fire to the crypt and destroyed some of the architect's designs and plaster models.

Gaudí created numerous famous works in Barcelona with his distinctive style, which was inspired by natural shapes and avoids the sharp corners of modernist architecture.

He summed up his approach by saying: "The straight line belongs to people, the curved God."

When asked how long it would take to build the basilica, he reportedly said, "My client is in no hurry" – and referred to God.

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