Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Eulalia) is located in the very heart of Barcelona, in the Gothic Quarter, La Seu Cathedral or the Cathedral of Barcelona is one of the most visited sites in Barcelona and it is in a walking distance from Plaça de Sant Jaume and Sinagoga Major de Barcelona (The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona). The Cathedral is also the residence of the Archbishop of Barcelona and a prayer place for the locals.
The Gothic masterpiece was built on the foundations of a paleo-Christian basilica from the 4th century and the subsequent Romanesque Cathedral from the 11th century, therefore the site is considered to be a holy place. In 343 there was a church known at the time as Mons Taber, which stood in the very same location. During the 980’s the Mons Taber was demolished by the Moors of Al-Mansur. Later on, another cathedral was built on the same site, making the Cathedral of Barcelona the 3rd church built there.
The construction of the Cathedral began in 1298 and took more than 150 years with some parts being finished only in the 20th century due to lack of funds.
The Cathedral is dedicated to the Saint patron of Barcelona – Santa Eulalia, a young girl that was stripped naked and sacrificed by Roman soldiers near the cathedral because she refused to abandon her beliefs in Christianity. The legend says that while she was exposed, a mysterious snow flake covered her nudity. The body of Santa Eulalia was encrypted under the High Altar of the Cathedral de Barcelona and the legend of her became part of the history of Barcelona.
What do you see in Barcelona Cathedral?
The Cathedral is magnificent from the inside and also from the outside. It has three naves with a total of twenty-eight chapels, two 50 meter tall bell towers protecting the Cathedral and stained-glass windows that gives a beautiful lighting effects interiorly. Inside the Cathedral you will be delighted by many sculptures and paintings of local Catalan artists, the most famous one is the Black Madonna sculpture. The prayer complex is surrounded with beautiful wood carvings such as imaginary creatures with sharp pointed teeth that are used for intimidation of the ghosts.
One of the main tourist attractions is the cloister that dates back to the 14th century and can be visited directly from the Cathedral. The inner courtyard is surrounded by a beautiful gothic patio, where the monks used to conduct classes and debates. Nowadays, you will always find there thirteen geese, symbolizing the 13 years of Santa Eulalia, the age when she was martyred.
Under the gallery of the cloister there is an access to a museum that used to be a soup kitchen for the poor people. Although this museum is quite small, it contains beautiful masterpieces worth seeing, such as the sculpture of Saint Eulalia or a baptism font from the old Romanesque temple.
Inside the Cathedral there is an elevator, which offers a visit on the roof and a quite impressive panoramic view on the city.