Europe’s iconic churches flooded with tourists

 Saturday, July 22, 2023

A recent mass at Sagrada Familia parish on Saturday evening had all the characteristics of a neighborhood worship service. It had prayers for the unwell and departed souls to name-day wishes for two congregants in the pews.

However, it also featured safety checks to get in and from above, inquisitive tourists looking carefully to take photos of the worshippers.

The usual mass is organized in the basement of modernist architect masterpiece church of Antoni Gaudi, one of the most visited monuments in Europe.

In Barcelona, with tourism exceeding pre-pandemic records and across southern Europe, famous sacred sites are under tremendous pressure to lodge the faithful who come to pray and visitors who often shell out to inspect the art and architecture.

Rev. Josep Maria Turull, said that they’re working to move ahead of this, so that they don’t collapse. Maria is a rector at Sagrada Familia and the director of tourism for Barcelona archdiocese.

The famous strategy is to have visitors and the faithful go different ways with services organized in separate places, visits stops at worship times, or in total different entry queues.

The Vatican in spring opened a separate pathway that will start outside St. Peter’s Basilica.

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