If you’re in Barcelona, then you absolutely MUST visit the still unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Gaudi’s masterpiece. It’s a church unlike any other and must be experienced in person. But if you have time, then by all means you should also visit the historic and beautiful Barcelona Cathedral. It’s also a busy place, with many people waiting in line to enter.
Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a lovely Gothic construction. The site where the Cathedral currently sits has been home to various Christian temples dating to the fourth century. Construction of the Cathedral you visit today began in 13th century and it was mostly completed by the 15th century. However, the final touches were added in the twentieth century, when the church’s façade was finished.
As you enter, you find a vast cathedral with a lofty roof and many interesting things to see.
The Cathedral’s main highlights
Saint Eulalia’s Crypt: Under the high alter is Saint Eulalia’s crypt, the burial place of a young Christian woman who was tortured to death in Roman times for defending her faith (in 304 AD). Eulalia is the co-patron saint of Barcelona. Tradition has it Eulalia was captured and exposed naked in the public square, when a miraculous snowfall occurred in mid-spring which covered her nudity. The Romans were furious and put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it; they then rolled the barrel down the street.
The Choir: A lovely spot, with beautiful carved wooden chairs.
The Cloister: Barcelona Cathedral has a large cloister, which has a pleasant open space . The Atrium of the Santa Eulalia contains a historic fountain. The cloister is home to 13 white geese as Eulalia was thirteen years old when she was murdered.
Rooftop: An elevator takes visitors to the rooftop where they can see the city. It was a cloudy rainy day when we visited, so we skipped this option.
There are many interesting side chapels off the main nave, including the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto.
If you visit:
Be sure to check out the Cathedral’s website for current hours and more information. Remember that Barcelona Cathedral serves a large active congregation and has hours devoted only to worship and prayer, during which visitation is limited, so plan your time accordingly.
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