The Sagrada Familia Nativity Facade

Completed in 1930, The Sagrada Familia Nativity Facade is the only part of the Cathedral that was finished in Gaudi's lifetime. The Nativity Facade celebrates the life of Jesus with scenes from his birth and childhood. Angels are featured playing musical instruments, heralding the "Triumph of Life."

Nativity Facade Fast Facts and Highlights

View from Placa Gaudi - When you arrive, don't enter the Cathedral. Instead, cross Carrer de la Marina and enter the park called Placa Gaudi. From here you can see the facade in its entirety. From this vantage point, you'll understand why the Cathedral is described as a "Cake in the Rain" or what happens when a careless giant pours melted, candle wax over a Gothic Cathedral.

The Nativity Facade is dotted with animal and plant imagery. Gaudi wanted to use images that the everyday person could relate to and that existed naturally. Gaudi stated, "Nothing is invented. It's written in nature."

Find the Tree of Life - High above the doorway is a green ceramic cypress studded with white, marble doves for peace. The cypress represents eternal life because the tree has resistant wood and evergreen leaves. The dove at the top represents the faithful who turn to God.

Find the White Pelican feeding babies - A primitive symbol of the Eucharist. In ancient times it was believed that a pelican opens its chest to find its young.

How Many Different Birds and Plants Can You Count - There are 36 different species of birds, and 30 different species of plants.

Find the Two Turtles at the base of the columns. The sea turtle with flippers is looking out to sea. The land tortoise with a paw is looking landward. The turtles symbolize permanence.

Find the chameleons - They are everywhere and are Gaudi's favorite creature. They symbolize change.

Facts About the Three Doorways or Porticos

The Nativity facade is divided in three doorways separated by what looks like giant, stone palm trees. The doorways represent Faith, Hope and Charity.

Find the Faith Portico- To the right of central door. Shows Jesus working as a carpenter. This imagery of this portico contain numerous birds and vegetables.

Find the Harp Player - An angel playing a harp.

Find the Hope Portico- To the left. The Hope portico contains aquatic themes representing the flight from Egypt. It has Jesus as a child with Joseph in the center. It also displays the blessing of Mary and Joseph's marriage.

Find Angels Playing Trumpets. The wingless angels with elongated bronze trumpets were modeled on the guardsman that practiced around the cathedral site. No angels on the Sagrada Familia Cathedral have wings because Gaudi believed that angels cannot fly.

Find the Charity Portico - In the center. The Charity Portico shows the birth of Jesus. It is also called the "Love" portico.

Find the Birth of Jesus - With a column containing his genealogy.

Find the Three Wise Men - Offering Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Find Adoration of the Shepherds - The shepherds were the first people to see the star announcing Jesus' birth.

Find Angels - Celebrating the birth of Jesus and looking over the manger.

Find the Serpent - A snake eating an apple sits at the bottom of Jesus' genealogy column. It represents the serpent and the apple from the Garden of Eden, and man's fall from grace which is the reason for Jesus' birth.



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