The Sagrada Familia is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world on a daily basis. You can spend hours discovering every corner of this architectural masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí. But there are some hidden details that are so interesting yet so difficult to find.
What is the Magic Square of the Sagrada Familia?
Before we tell you what’s so special about the Magic Square, you’re probably wondering what it is. Broadly speaking, this cryptogram, made from the finest material, shows a series of numbers on a square with its columns, rows and diagonals all adding up to the same number. Adding up its central boxes and its exterior boxes also equals the same number. If you do find it, the numbers always add up to 33, which was the age of Christ when he died on the cross.
At first glance it looks like a normal Sudoku, but by visiting the Sagrada Familia on our guided tour and panoramic route on e-bike, you can appreciate how complex and interesting this mathematical curiosity is.
The original Magic Square was designed to add up to 34, with its numbers ranging from 1 to 16, but to get to 33, they took out the 16 and the 12 and repeated the 14 and the 10. Consequently, the Sagrada Familia’s Magic Square did not comply with two basic rules; that there is no repetition and that they must form a series of consecutive numbers. There are many kinds of magic squares, the one with the number 16 is the most common.
Where to find the Magic Square of the Sagrada Familia
The Magic Square is not one of the easiest things to find. It’s found on the Fachada de las Pasiones facade, but this is not the only one. In total there are several spread out across the Basilica. But rest assured, none of them add up to anything other than 33! Maybe you can find them on our Barcelona Express City Tour: a panoramic journey on an open-topped minbus with access to the Sagrada Familia and a small-sized group?
Gaudi’s Magic Square… or not
Contrary to popular belief that it was installed by Antoni Gaudí, these minor details were created by Josep María Subirachs, the creator for the sculptural details on the Fachada de la Pasión, during the restoration work carried out at the end of the 80s. Some theories mention both Subirachs and Antoni Gaudí as members of the Freemasons, a cult in which the number 33 is very important. If it were true, this could be seen as a kind of homage, although the theory has lost momentum and even been rejected by some in recent years.