Sagrada Familia Nativity Facade

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The Nativity Facade of the Sagrada Familia is like a breathtaking storybook carved in stone. 

It’s a giant puzzle of detailed sculptures that tell the tale of Jesus’s birth, with animals, angels, and people intricately woven together. 

Gaudi, the mastermind behind this masterpiece, brought the story to life in stone. 

He created a facade that is not just a church entrance but a magnificent celebration of the joyous Nativity scene.

Most visitors believe it to be the best facade at the basilica.

Opening Hours: 9 am to 8 pm (Variable)

Time Needed: 1 hour

Best Time: Early mornings and weekdays

Ticket Cost: From €69

Address:

C/ de Mallorca, 401, L’Eixample, 08013 Barcelona, Spain. Get Directions

Entrance for Access:

General Entrance on c/ de la Marina

What is the Nativity Facade?

The Nativity Facade is one of the three grand facades of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain.

It was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and it’s a visually stunning and deeply symbolic representation of the birth of Jesus Christ. 

What is its Significance?

  • Like most elements in Gaudi’s design, the towers hold symbolic meaning. The number four is significant in Christianity, often representing the Four Evangelists. These towers could be seen as a subtle tribute to them.
  • The towers were originally intended to house bells, but currently, they offer stunning panoramic views of Barcelona. 
  • The towers add a touch of dynamism to the facade and represent a hierarchy within the apostles or a sense of movement toward the heavens.

Highlights

History & Location:

  • It was designed between 1892 and 1912, focusing on the birth of Jesus Christ and the message of hope and salvation.
  • The facade is on the western side of the basilica.

Layout & Features:

  • The facade has three portals, each depicting a scene from the Nativity story.
  • Gaudí’s signature organic forms are evident, with elements like the columns resembling gnarled tree trunks and the facade itself resembling a mountain landscape.

Historical Context 

The construction of the Nativity Facade tower began in 1893 and is the only major part of the basilica that was completed before Gaudi passed away in 1926.

This facade stands as a testament to Gaudi’s architectural genius. He was inspired by nature, which is reflected in the curving lines and organic shapes throughout. 

On its three portals, you can see sculptures showing Jesus being born, the shepherds, and the three Wise Men with angels around them.

Interestingly, this facade is currently the main entrance to the Sagrada Familia. This is because the permanent entrance, part of the Glory Facade, is still under construction. 

The construction of the towers themselves is a remarkable feat of engineering and artistry. 

Though often referred to as a single tower, the facade boasts four:

  • The two inner towers stand at a height of 107.5 meters (352.7 feet), while 
  • The two outer towers are slightly taller, reaching 112 meters (367.4 feet). 

Insider Tip! Just remember, with its popularity, tickets sell out fast! Be sure to book online in advance to avoid disappointment.

How to Enter?

How to Enter
Image: Getyourguide.com

Entering the basilica requires a pre-booked ticket. This helps manage crowds and provides a smooth experience.

Tickets sell out fast, so you will need to book a separate Tower Access Ticket to explore the basilica’s towers.

Ticket Prices:

Adult ticket (11+ years): €69
Child ticket (6 to 10 years): €47

Note: Kids under five years old are not allowed.

If you are not interested in going up the towers, you can always opt for the General Entry Ticket. This ticket also includes an audio guide.

Once you have your ticket, look for the general entrance on Carrer de la Marina. 

This is right next to the Nativity Facade, identifiable by the black umbrellas placed near the entrance.

You can use the lift to go up the tower and experience the beauty of Barcelona from the top.

According to the official rules, you must return down the stairs, but in special situations, you can also use the lift.

The View from the Facade

At 65 meters (214 feet), the tower on the Nativity Facade offers great views of the city and the basilica. 

This facade lets you get a closer look at the intricate details carved under Gaudi’s presence. He was alive when this facade was built. 

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Barcelona City Views: When you go up this tower, you get to see the eastern skyline of Barcelona. Look out for famous landmarks like Montjuïc Hill and the Torre Agbar Tower.
  • Sparkling Sea: Depending on which tower you visit, you might even catch a glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea in the distance!
  • Sagrada Close-Up: Get a bird’s-eye view of the Nativity Facade itself. See the intricate sculptures and colorful details you might miss from ground level.

Nativity Facade Towers

Nativity Facade
Image: Americamagazine.org

The Nativity Facade has four out of the 18 towers that were to be constructed in the Sagrada Familia.

These church towers represent four of Jesus’s apostles: Saint Matthias, Saint Barnabas, Saint Jude, and Saint Simon the Zealot. 

Gaudi wanted to honor the lives and teachings of these four apostles through the tower.

The sculpture and symbols on each tower tell a story that adds to the artistic richness of the cathedral.

Best Time to Visit 

Do you want to experience the Nativity Facade? Here is a quick guide to make the most of your visit!

AspectBest TimeBenefit
Overall ExperienceEarly Morning (9 am to 11 am)Fewer crowds, easier access to lifts and stairs
Tower AccessEarly Morning (9 am to 11 am)Less crowded towers and shorter queues
Morning PhotographyEarly Morning (9 am to 11 am)Capture the intricate details of the facade in sharp light.
Evening PhotographyEvening (4 pm to 6 pm)Capture the basilica bathed in a warm, picturesque glow.

Vacatis Tips to Visit:

  • If you have a guided tour, pay attention because your guide will share fascinating details about the facade and the views.
  • Book your tickets well in advance, especially during peak season.
  • Wear comfortable shoes suitable for climbing stairs.
  • Don’t forget your camera! The views from the towers are breathtaking.
  • If you are sensitive to heights, consider the inner towers. They are slightly shorter than the outer ones.

FAQs

1. What does the Nativity Facade depict?

2. How long did it take to build the facade?

3. Can I visit the facade separately?

4. What is the significance of the towers?

5. When is the best time to photograph the facade?

6. How much does a ticket to the facade cost?

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