BARCELONA – The security measures protecting one of Spain’s landmark monuments, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia basilica and the city’s most visited monument, have now been beefed-up, the monument’s management said on Wednesday.
The security upgrades include 10 metal detecting arcs, scanners, closed circuit cameras and an additional dozen security agents has boosted on-site agents to 40.
The new director of the Sagrada Familia Foundation, Xavier Martinez, and the director of security, Marc Martinez, told journalists at a press conference that the new measures were similar to those used in the airports.
The upgrades arrived in the wake of August’s terror attack in Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most popular boulevard, which left a death toll of 15.
The Sagrada Familia basilica is the unfinished, and ongoing, masterpiece of Catalan Modernist architect Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926) who was buried at the temple.
The building has become Barcelona’s jewel in the crown, with 4.5 million visitors each year and one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable Christian places of worship.
Although the Sagrada Familia’s management stressed today that the measures were “not a result” of last year’s terror activity, it has been “taken into account.”
On Aug. 17, an Islamist terror cell killed 15 people in Barcelona and another one in the town of Cambrils but it was later revealed they were planning additional terror acts with explosives against monuments and churches, including the Sagrada Familia, according to a statement made in court by one of the surviving terrorists.
Previously, the 1,500 tourists per hour that visited this Catholic place of worship were only frisked and visually checked before being admitted inside.
During these checks, security members found knives of various sizes, self-defense sprays, and even taser guns, according to Martinez.
These security measures were inspired in the Vatican City’s security arrangements and cost 2 million euros ($2.4 million) and include a new CCTV network inside the basilica church.