Barcelona [ 巴塞罗那 ] • 3 JUNE 2015
The Nativity façade is the unique part of the temple directly built by Gaudí. When Gaudí died in 1926 only the tower of San Barnabas was totally finished and the other three very much advanced. This façade has been recently declared WORLD HERITAGE by the UNESCO.
While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
It is formed as the other façades by four bell towers of square plant in its base, that comes to be a cylindrical structure when arrived at one fourth of their height. Further up, they come to a parabolic profile to become a pinnacle that crown each one of the towers. The three spaces remaining among the edges, are take up by three entries forming the portico.
The judgment of Jesus
The bell towers:
With a height of 107 meters the two inside and of 98 meters the outsides.
This is one of the most characteristic and main elements of the façade.
Totally accessible through spiral stairs leaving an important central empty space and catching up to the top. All the length of the bell towers is opened through a sort of stone blinds allowing the tubular bells sound diffusion planed by Gaudí. The silhouette of the upper part resembles a Bishop's staff. Other symbols to see, are the knot symbol of the bishop's ring and in the culmination a golden cross showing the capital letters of the apostle to whom the tower is dedicated.
Each one of the towers of this and of the other two facades, twelve on the whole, four for each one, is dedicated to an apostle.
Statue of Jesus and a stone pillar - Flagellation of Jesus
The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column or the Scourging at the Pillar, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is the fourth station of the modern alternate Stations of the Cross, and a Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary. The column to which Christ is normally tied, and the rope, scourge, whip or birch are elements in the Arma Christi. The Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, claimed to possess the original column.
Those of the Nativity façade, are dedicated to Saint Barnabas, Saint Simon, Saint Judas Thaddeus and Saint Mathew. Each one of them is represented in a great seated statue, placed in the point in which the towers pass from a square structure to another circular one, what permits to do, in the triangular spaces resultant, balconies serving them as base.
The ornamentation includes the names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph linked together with palms and with the word "Sanctus" repeated nine times in each bell tower, in different colours: yellow when dedicated to God father, red when dedicated to God son and orange colour when dedicated to the Holy Spirit. For the pinnacles, Gaudí imagined between 1914 and 1922 different solutions. In the last one finally adopted, the pinnacles are culminate with stars doing as a crown and by underneath, six signs with the mention "Hosanna" and "Excelsis".
Unusual horizontal cross with “I” shape from the word INRI (Iesus Nazareneus Rex Ludaeorum) – Jesus The Nazarene King of Jews. Skull representing death.
On the left magic square – each row and column add up to 33, the supposed age of Christ at his death. Snake behind Judas represents evil.
In squares of order 4 where the numbers run sequentially from 1-16 the magic constant (the sum of a single line, row or diagonal) is 34, but Subirachs' square does not contain the numbers 12 or 16 (see image, above). Instead, 10 and 14 are included twice, making a magic constant of 33, the age of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. Subirach's cryptogram mounted on the facade. It is a magic square with all rows and columns adding to 33. In fact, there are dozens of regular symmetric combinations of 4 squares which add to 33. Every diagonal, row or line sum equals 33, symbolizing Christ's age at crucifixion.
Sellected examples of occurances of number 33 in History, Religion, Science :
The Christ in the Gospels accomplishes 33 miracles of which 24 were cures.
According to the law of Moses, Number of days following the circumcision of the foreskin of the child where the mother had to purify her blood. She did not have to touch nothing of sacred and not to go to the sanctuary until 33 days have been passed.
King David reigned 33 years to Jerusalem.
There are 33 doctors of the Church, or theologians, to which the Roman Catholic Church recognizes a particular authority of witnesses of the doctrine. The list of the 32 last is given in "Theo, New catholic encyclopedia", Droquet and Ardant, Fayard, 1989, p. 23. There are thirty men and three women.
The thirty-third year of a person, it is the perfect age, that of the full development, according to Mary Agreda.It is at this age that Jesus-Christ was crucified (lived 33 years).Saint Joseph was also 33 years old when he took for wife the Virgin Mary, according to visions of Mary Agreda.According to some authors, it is the age that will have the Antichrist at the time of his advent.The 33 litany of angels.The Basilica of saint Peter in Rome counts 33 chapels: 29 in the Basilica itself and 4 of more in the crypt.The Hebraic tradition distinguishes 32 ways of the Wisdom to which it adds "Ain Soph" or the unknowable one.
The 33 divinities, divided into three classes, invoked in the songs of the Rig-Veda.The Zen books represent us the genius solar surrounded by 33 atmospheric gods.After a fast of 40 days, Buddha left the desert to go to exert his apostolate and he was followed by 33 princes of spirits to which he gave the sacred instruments that are used by the musicians in the pagodas.A legend wants also that 33 "Arhats" spread Buddhism.In his "Divine Comedy", Dante attributed 33 songs to the Purgatory and 33 songs to the Sky.The 33 ranks (or degrees of initiation) of the Masonic hierarchy, divisible in 3 series of 11.And 33 members compose the Council of the Order of the Great Orient of France.33 - Number of days of the "intellectual" cycle in the biorhythm.The United Nations logo represents a terrestrial globe divided in 33 fragments.Total number of vertebrae of the spinal column of the human body, in which pass 33 pairs of nervous groups.
Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph marriage
The number 33 is used 6 times in the Bible.
The words "cross" and "devil" are used 33 times in the New Testament and the word "sickness", 33 times in the Old Testament.The words "miracle" and the verb "to blaspheme" are used 33 times in the Bible.The Bible contains totally : 66 books (33 + 33)
Gaudí designed for this portico an impressive iconography in which besides the religious figures, enormous quantities of vegetable elements have been carved making a link among the different religious motives in a imaginative explosion of life. The portico is composed by three entries devoted to the three Christian virtues: the Faith (to the right), the Hope (to the left) and the Charity (in the centre) with a fantastic representation of the life of Jesus. The archivolt of each entry continues up forming a flashlight finishing in a pinnacle.
The Charity hallway, that is the central one, is divided into two different entrances by a column that supports statues of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and angels, completed to both sides by sculptural groups representing the adoration of the kings and the shepherds. In front of the large window of the two ogives composed tympanum and a rose window we see the star of Bethlehem and on some pedestals the image of the Archangel doing the Annunciation to the Virgin.
Further up, we find musicians angels figures, all it surrounded by a vegetable world with flowers of several species and animal and birds, covering all the surface of the portico and giving it an impressive aspect unity for a so large surface. In the upper part of this ensemble, a representation of the signs of the Zodiac is found just as they were found the night of the birth of Jesus.
Further up and in a cave surrounded by birds, we find the images of the coronation of the Virgin. Further up, other images culminating in a sort of pinnacle constituted by a cypress with pigeons symbol of the purity and that among others decorative symbols raises itself between the two central towers and far above the base of the tympanum.
Birth of Christ in Sagrada Familia Basilica
The Hope hallway, is the situated to the left, is a lot more small than the central one and exceed him something less on the façade, it has a single door. Contains also an exuberant vegetation in this case aquatic, because in this scenes the Egypt escape is represented and also the sacrifice of the "Sants Innocents" (Fool saints).
At the base of the pedestals, it is aquatic fauna and gooses.
The entry is presided by a statue of Saint Joseph with the child Jesus standing. Also images of Saint Joachim and Holy Ana. The flashlight culminates in a pinnacle that represents the mountains of Montserrat and on top the group of the marriage of the Virgin and Saint Joseph.
In the top end, an imperial crown on a polyhedral star.
The Faith hallway, located to the right of the central one, it is of similar dimensions to the one of Hope. With a single door, we find in it pedestals with domestic birds and vegetables and a frieze of arabesque. On top and to the right side, an image of Jesus working in a bank of carpenter and Joseph and Mary seeking Jesus in the temple. To the left, the Visitation of the Virgin to his Holy cousin Isabel and further up Zachariah, Saint John Baptist father. Further up in a niche, an image of this saint. Over the lintel of the door and presiding the entry, an image of Jesus seated at the age of twelve.
Sculptures representing two of the Three Kings in Birth of Christ facade of Sagrada Familia Basilica
The Magi , also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings were, in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.
The tympanum has a large ogive and a rose window. The archivolt is decorated with an exuberant vegetation with branches of apple tree, to the left some angels playing clarions among others decorative elements. The flashlight seemed to the central one is concluded by a pinnacle in whose interior there is an image of the Immaculate Conception and on top the group of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple, composed by the images of Joseph and Mary prostrated and Simeon with the child Jesus.
*Work on the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (the Church of the Holy Family) commenced in 1884 and continues to this day
*Gaudi did not produce accurate designs of the building; he preferred an organic process where his sketches would change and evolve as it was being built, he even took up residence on site so he could resolve all issues as they happened
*The work on the Sagrada Familia was interrupted by the Spanish civil war in 1936. During this time anarchists destroyed parts of the models and Gaudi’s sketches, making it difficult for his successors to accurately recreate his vision
*There are plans for the church to have a total of 18 towers. They represent Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, 4 evangelists and the 12 apostles
*Francesc de Billr was the original architect on the building, he designed a neo-Gothic style church, but after a year of disagreements with the founder, Josep Bocabella, the role was handed over to a young Gaudi
*Gaudi spent 40 years on the Sagrada Familia, his last 15 years were dedicated solely to the project. He died 3 days after a tram accident, and is buried within the Basilica’s Crypt
Visited by 2.5 million people a year, it is Barcelona’s most popular tourist attraction.
*The Sagrada Familia boasts some of the best view of the city
The Sagrada Familia is expected to be completed on the 10th June 2026 in honour of the 100-year anniversary of Gaudi’s death; however, its realistic completion date will largely be determined by funding.
*Gaudi was a perfectionist; he was involved with every aspect of the building all the way down to the fine details of the nativity scene. He was so particular about getting every detail correct, that he had a live donkey raised up the side of the building so he could get an idea of how it would look in his nativity scene.
*Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church in November 2010 after the roof had finally been finished and the area made waterproof. It is now an operational church, with mass held every day in both Spanish and Catalan
*There are three major facades on the Sagrada Familia: The Nativity on the east, which was largely finished by Gaudi, The Passion façade on the west which was recently built, and the Glory façade to the south, which remains unfinished and will be the largest and most impressive of the three
Visitors to the Sagrada Familia provide the sole funding of the project.
Jesus written on the door of sagrada familia in barcelona.
Find "Jesus" in the Doors - The gospel doors contain text from the New Testament depicting the Passion of Christ. 8,000 bronze characters were used to cast the door
Intracacy would be an understatement when discussing a building with features like those at the Sagrada Familia. These two massive entrances at the cathedral stood closed, with sculpted words adorning the outer panels of the Passion façade. These words are all taken from the Bible, representing various languages including Catalan. You’ll also see certain words highlighted with gold, my favorite of which is Cel, if you can find it, meaning Heaven or sky in Catalan. Three total entrances to the cathedral represent the three virtues, being Faith, Hope, and Love. Each also represent one part of his life.
Pope Benedict XVI blesses the door of the Sagrada Familia prior to celebrate a solemn mass consecrating Barcelona’s famous temple in a basilica on November 7, 2010, during his two-day visit in Spain. The basilica's three main exterior facades depict Christ's birth, death and resurrection;the 52 palm treelike columns inside represent the 52 Sundays of the year.
Benedict praised Gaudi for integrating nature, scripture and liturgy in his masterpiece in a way that overcame the distinction between the temporal and the eternal world.
Josep M. Subirachs work history is comprised of many other previous forged bronze doors. The repeated letter is one of the most emblematic techniques he used in order to turn message into a work of art, paying thus a tribute to typology: art that has always drawn the artist attention.
The middle part of the main access doors is inscribed with the Lord's Prayer in Catalan with relief letters, and highlights the fragment 'Give us, o Lord, our daily bread' (Translation from original Catalan: 'el nostre pa de cada dia doneu-nos-el avui') in Catalan and 49 more languages (in alphabetic order: Albanian, Arabic, Aramaic, Aranese, Basque, Berber, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Coptic, Croat, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Galician, German, Greek, Guarani, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua , Rumanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Sardinian, Serb, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog , Tibetan, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Wolof).
The first doors sculpted by Subirachs (1959-1961) can be found in the Virgen del Camino Sanctuary (León). On that occasion, the young sculptor created four doors. However, it was on the main façade where he applied typography as an architectural technique for the first time. As background for the rest of the elements, ora pro nobis can be found inscribed thereon repeatedly. This sculptural technique is so powerful that he will take it up again later.
The rest of 'typographical monuments' can be found in La Sagrada Família. For the description of Christ's passion, Subirachs created single sculptures, sculptural groups and relief letters, and four bronze doors dedicated to Gethsemane's garden (1995), the Coronation (1997), the Gospel according to St. Matthew and the Gospel according to St. John (2000). The sculptor wanted all the façade work to be captured in the centre door (2000). For this reason, he decided to reproduce the text of the Gospel illustrated by means of the sculptures, with over 8,000 smelted bronze letters erected 'like two enormous open books', as Subirachs put it.
With the creation of the main access doors of the Expiatory Church of La Sagrada Família, Josep M. Subirachs becomes again a sculptor, a bronze smith and a typographer.
The slim stone piers soar 45m high above the nave, bifurcating like branches as they meet the vaulted roof. Stained glass windows form a glowing, translucent membrane of kaleidoscopic hues.
The Sagrada Familia is the most famous symbol of Barcelona and certainly one of its most impressive sights. The church is huge in its dimensions, so it is often called the "cathedral", although it is without a bishop's headquarters. On 11/07/2010, the Sagrada Familia was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI and elevated to the status of a basilica.
The completion of the interior and consecration was a great moment for Barcelona. Now, finally, the imposing, yet ingenious design of the brilliant Antoni Gaudí could be admired. And all this without scaffolding and machinery noise.
The layout of the church has the shape of a Latin cross - with enormous dimensions. The Sagrada Familia is one of the world's largest Church buildings: from the entrance to the apse is 90 metres, the five naves are limited by a 60 metre long and 45 metre wide transept. The four side naves are 7.5 metres wide each, the main nave is 15 metres - exactly twice as wide. The vault of the main nave is 45 metres high, and the side aisles are 30 metres high.
Construction of the naves was started in 1987, based on models that were created by Antoni Gaudí, and which were not destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.
In the outermost naves, the chancels are both situated in a gallery. These provide space for over 1,500 singers. In contrast to the Gothic style Gaudí’s design requires no supporting side walls, and heavy vault: he used this freedom to incorporate numerous windows that allow plenty of natural light inside.
Columns in the interior of the Sagrada Familia resemble a palm grove. The altar in the apse.
Within architecture an Apse is known as one half of a dome roofed area. In a church, it is usually the area where the altar stands.
Immediately after the completion of the crypt Gaudí had the apse built above. The Gothic-style apse is surrounded by seven chapels and two side stairs to the left and right.
These lead to spiral staircases from the crypt and continue up into the facades. As an indication of the spiral staircase you see two big stone snails crawling down the wall on the outer walls of the apse. The inside walls of the apse are decorated with angels' heads and tears that should remind one of the suffering of Jesus.
The apse was completed in 1893 by a huge crowned dome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which are supported by massive columns. The entire apse and dome are flooded with light; it is very bright for Gothic Architecture.In the centre is the raised altar, crowned by the Latin cross with a canopy, decorated with vines and grapes of a vine, as Gaudí's only concession to the traditional church design. Behind the altar are the organ pipes, which, although they have very large dimensions, represent very delicate work.
You are going to love it or hate it, but you will not forget it and you won't stop talking about it. I loved it. It is unlike anything I have seen and will ever see. This place really makes you appreciate Gaudi's genius and his view of religion.
A magnificent work of art. Truly breathtaking. This is absolutely a must-see if visiting Barcelona. This magnificent specimen of architecture has been under construction for over 140 years, started in 1882 when the foundation was laid. They have said it will be done between 2026 and 2028. Hopefully we will be back again in 2026.
Carrer de Mallorca, 401
Phone number +34 932 073 031
Location: Sagrada Familia Square Barcelona.
Qualification: xxxxx (5 on 5). The Nativity façade and the Crypt of the Sagrada Família, are recently declared "WORLD HERITAGE" by the UNESCO.
Present condition: The church of the Sagrada Família is in process of construction and consequently the interior is open and submitted, the same as the outside, to the weather harshness's. In spite of it, in general the building is in good conditions.
How to go to: Buses: 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50, 51, B20, B24, N1, N7
Metro: L2, L5 (Sagrada Família)
Visits: Open every day: from January to March and October to December from 9 to 18 h.,
from April to September from 9 to 20 h. 25 and 26 December and 1 and 6 January from 9 to 14 h.
The precincts are closed 30 minutes after the ticket office closure. As the temple is permanently in works, spaces exist that cannot be visited for security or other reasons.
Guided visits in English: From May to October: 11 h., 13 h., 15 h. and 17 h.
The elevator rises the visitors up to 65m. of height, in the Passion and 55m. height in the Nativity façade.
Price: 2'50 €.