Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia / Barcelona Cathedral

Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia

The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, located in the very heart of the Gothic Quarter and dedicated to Saint Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona. She was 13 when she died as a martyr during the times of persecution of the Christians under Roman emperor Diocletian. There are 13 white geese living in the courtyard (cloister) of the cathedral, corresponding to the number of years of the saint, while their color symbolizes the purity of Eulalia.

Initially there was a 4th century Roman basilica on the site, which was destroyed by the Arabs. In 11th century a new Roman church was erected on the foundation of the basilica. The construction of a much larger Gothic cathedral that we can admire today started in 1298 and lasted for more than 150 years, although the neo-Gothic facade and spires were added in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. Adjacent to the cloister there is an old Chapel of Santa Lucia built 30 years before the temple. Already in 1268 Barcelona Cathedral was recognized as a marvelous example of medieval Catalan architecture, although it is also known that the construction was finished according to the blueprints of the Rouen Cathedral. This is why there are many similarities to the French temples (for instance, a great number of statues).

The cathedral’s interior is imposing and strict. Tall pillars trying to reach the sky divide the space into three naves; in the center of the main one the Choir fence is located. Staggering stained glass windows (a rose window over the entrance is especially beautiful) make the inner space feel extremely light, while as you walk further inside you will be impressed by a 16th century pipe organ and 28 chapels with Gothic and Renaissance altars on the sides. Under the main 14th century altar there is a crypt where the remains of Saint Eulalia lie. The cathedral’s treasury is famous for its masterpieces of 14th-16th century art, as well as its miraculous Holy Christ of Lepanto crucifix.

Apart from a pond for the geese the cloister features a small though very beautiful palm garden and a fountain with a statue of St. George in the middle, the patron of Catalonia. Another of his sculptures can be seen over the most ancient of the temple’s portals, the door of Saint Ivo in Carrer dels Comtes. A legend has it that it was Saint George who lead Borrel II, the count of Barcelona (who had only 9 knights under his command), in the late 10th century to the fight against the Moors and helped him to retake Barcelona.

We advise you to spend some extra time in the cathedral, for during certain hours it is possible to climb on the rooftop where an amazing view over the city center and the Gothic Quarter awaits.

Address: Placita de la Seu
Opening hours: cathedral - Mon-Fri 8 am – 12.45 pm, 5.45 pm – 7.30 pm free entry, 1 pm – 5 pm a donation is charged for entry, Sat and religious holidays 8 am – 12.45 pm, 5.15 pm – 8 pm free entry, 2 pm – 5 pm a donation is charged; cloister - Mon-Fri 8.30 am – 12.30 pm and 5.45 pm – 7 pm free entry, Sat and religious holidays 8.30 am – 12.30 pm, 5.45 pm – 7 pm free entry, Sun and holidays 8.30 am – 1 pm, 5.15 pm – 9 pm free entry
How to reach: metro Jaume I, Catalunya
Coordinates: 41.384191, 2.176296