As promised, here are some photographs of the exterior of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. These specific photos are of the entrance on the Nativity side, which depicts the birth and early years of Jesus. The detail is quite spectacular both close up and from afar!
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what you’re even looking at unless you back up. After we entered through security at our appointed time (you must buy tickets in advance-MONTHS in advance!), we were able to get up close and see the details of the carvings.
The Nativity façade faces the rising sun to the northeast, a symbol for the birth of Christ. It is divided into three porticos, representing hope, faith and charity. The Tree of Life rises above the door of Jesus in the portico of Charity. Four steeples complete the façade and are each dedicated to a Saint.
The Tree of Life and doves:
This side of the basilica is unique in that is is the only area in which Gaudí, the designer, directly participated. The initial building was the inspiration of a bookseller named Josep Maria Bocabella, who, upon returning from a trip to Italy, wanted to build a church inspired by the basilica at Loreto (a church which enshrines a house where the Virgin Mary is believed by some Catholics to have lived). Bocabella enlisted Francisco de Paula del Villar as architect in 1882, but Gaudí assumed responsibility for the design after Villar resigned in 1883. Villar had planned on a standard Gothic revival-style church, but Gaudí strayed immensely from the original design, favoring a mix of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Gaudí was named the official Architect Director in 1884.
The Charity portico, above, shows the star of David, along with heavy vegetation, flowers and elements from the natural world. These natural elements signify unity with all of life.
I can’t even really show you all the detail. But, I’m sure you are getting the picture. And this is just one side of the building! This basilica was one of the highlights of the entire trip though. We took a tour of the Nativity Tower and of the inside, which was just as incredible as the outside.
Throughout this week I’ll share some more photos of the Nativity Tower. I highly recommend opting for that tour since you get to see the building from high up. There are things/details you’d never see from below. And not to mention the fantastic view of the city from the top of the tower! Check it out:
Tips for you if you plan on visiting La Sagrada Família:
BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE (AS IN, MONTHS IN ADVANCE). You will be disappointed if you try to buy tickets the day of because you will not get them! We paid roughly $30/person for a visit with an audio-guided self-tour and a trip up one of the towers. When you buy tickets online you must choose a time of day. Always think about time of day and when the lighting is best if you want better photos. (Yes, I plan my tours around the sunshine). See the basilica’s website here: https://sagradafamilia.org/en/tickets
Here’s one from inside the basilica:
I can’t wait to share more about this experience with you. It truly was an aha! moment that brought me to tears…