The Sagrada Familia sits in the center of Barcelona.
CNN  — 

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona will finally be finished in 2026, more than 140 years after construction started, officials have confirmed.

The construction of the last of six towers will mark the completion of the structure of the basilica, the organization responsible for managing the site announced last week.

“The Chapel of the Assumption is expected to be finished in 2025 and the tower of Jesus Christ, in 2026,” the Sagrada Familia said in a statement announcing the publication of its 2023 annual report.

A scene of the interior of the Sagrada Familia during a mass to consecrate the cathedral in November 2010

The tower of Jesus Christ will stand at 172.5 meters (566 feet) tall, and will be finished with a 17-meter-tall (56-foot) four-armed cross, according to the cathedral.

When complete, the Sagrada Familia will become the world’s tallest church, overtaking Ulm Minster in Germany.

Construction began in 1882 according to a design spearheaded by celebrated Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who decided the monumental structure would have 18 huge, spindle-shaped towers, each symbolizing a different biblical figure—the 12 apostles, the four evangelists, the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

The Sagrada Familia pictured in 1940

When Gaudí died in 1926, only an estimated 10%-15% of the project had been built, including one transept, a crypt and some of the apse wall.

Construction, already slow, was interrupted in the late 1930s by the Spanish Civil War, when most of the designs and models of Gaudí— whose tomb lies beneath the cathedral—were destroyed.

Current designs are based on surviving and reconstructed materials, as well as reimagined adaptations of the original.

In 1984, the building was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI for religious worship in 2010.

The construction of the church was carried out illegally for 137 years, until 2019, when a building permit was finally issued by Barcelona’s city council. Authorities only discovered the “anomaly” that it had never been granted planning permission in 2016.