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Sagrada Familia - Façades

Sagrada Familia - Façades (56A)

The Nativity façade is the only one to be finished almost entirely by Gaudí himself. It is his greatest figurative work and tries to express and communicate the joy of creation on the birth of Jesus Christ.

It has four bell towers, the two central ones measuring 107 metres and the outer ones 98 metres. And if you like you can go up the inside of them almost to the top. Inside there will be tubular bells placed as planned by Gaudí.

There will be a total of 12 towers, four for each façade, and each one will be dedicated to a different apostle. The towers on the nativity façade are dedicated to Saint Barnabus, Saint Simon, Saint Jude and Saint Matthew. Each one is represented by a large statue.

In the central area of the façade you can see Jesus, Joseph and Mary between the ox and the ass under the star of the East, surrounded by angels, musicians and a choir. If you look closely at the arch mouldings and niches you can see a hundred or so different animal and vegetable species – a true explosion of life!

This façade has three doors. The central door is the charity door and you can see on it the names of the genealogy of Christ, the serpent with the apple, baby Jesus with the ox and the ass, and the signs of the zodiac as they would have been on the day that Jesus was born, the coronation of the Virgin Mary...

On the left hand side is the Hope door, presided over by a statue of Saint Joseph standing with the baby Jesus, a representation of the wedding of Mary and Joseph, the slaughter on the day of the innocents and the feeling from Egypt, and a representation of the mountain of Montserrat with the inscription "Salveu-nos" (Save us), as well as more exuberant vegetation, but this time aquatic. 

And on the opposite side you will find the Faith door, with an image of Jesus seated at the age of 12, and where you can also see the episode of The Visitation, Jesus working at his carpenter’s bench, birds, apple tree branches and angels blowing their trumpets. 

The Passion façade is a recent construction. It represents the passion and death of Jesus Christ. As a whole it respects the initial project by Gaudí in terms of its general characteristics, which was that it should be everything that the nativity façade is not. This façade was to be austere and evoke desolation, nakedness, pain and sacrifice. Gaudí said that if he had started with this façade, the people would have rejected the Sagrada Familia.

The Passion façade is harsh and raw, as if it were made of bones. The lack of decoration means that the main figure of Christ, naked at the time of his death, is the focus of all the drama of the scene. 

Of its four bell towers , the two central ones are 112 metres high and the outer ones are 107 metres, and they are dedicated to Santiago the Lesser, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Thomas and Saint Philip. Between the two central towers at a height of 60 metres there is a bridge which joins them. Gaudí had the idea of situating an image of Jesus ascending triumphantly to heaven, in contrast with the drama of the rest. 

The portico will give access to the interior of the temple through three doors, also dedicated to the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. On the central door you will be able to see a united Alpha and Omega chiselled by Subirachs. The whole portico is a spectacular sculptural representation of the passion and death of Christ, but here Gaudí’s plans were not taken into account as they were not sufficiently developed, and a very different approach was chosen which represents an adaptation to modern times. Over a hundred figures have been sculpted by Josep Maria Subirachs.

The Glory façade is currently being built. It will be dedicated to the Glory of Jesus Christ. For it, Gaudí left only a sculptural study and a graphic and symbolic plan. It is the main door to the temple, and Gaudí had planned for a spectacular and immense staircase which would occupy the areas which has been built today.

Its four bell towers are dedicated to Saint Andrew, Saint Peter, Saint Paul and James the Greater.  

Here, the portico will rest on twenty-one columns. And there will be five doors, each of them dedicated to a sacrament and one of the petitions of the Our Father. The most spectacular element will be a series of cloud-shaped constructions which will climb up the four bell towers and carry the script of the Credo. These clouds will surround an image of God.

In his project, Gaudí wanted this façade to been seen from the sea. 

On the portico there will be images of purgatory and the life of men and their trades. There will also be images of the saints, and in the upper space a representation of the Final Judgement. The sing of the cross and the Holy Family with Jesus in the middle will also be shown, and above him the Holy Spirit and god the Father. 

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