Barcelona Cathedral

There are two VERY different cathedrals in Barcelona that many visitors stop at. The one this post features is the Barcelona Cathedral. The other will be on a future post. The Barcelona Cathedral is one of the most impressive gothic structures dating back to the 11th century. It is also called Cathedral of the Holy Cross & St Eulalia. The seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona is here.

The present cathedral is on foundations of a previous church dating to 1298. Construction was primarily in the 13th – 15th centuries and is Roman Catholic.

The facade around the doorway was impressive……….and new. It was an add-on constructed in the 19th century to replace the humble 14th century facade.

Upon entering, naturally it was awe-inspiring. They had a number of these wrought-iron light fixtures. They were large to fit the grandeur of the building. My photo doesn’t do them justice. They were humongous.

The choir stalls retains the coat-of-arms of the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The painted shields date from 1517.

The alter was raised and awe-inspiring. Think about it……..this was constructed centuries ago and the work remains.

There was an opportunity to go up to the roof, naturally we (two of us) went up. It was a chance to see the Barcelona skyline.

Got a quick shot to prove I was there.

Even I will admit……..the staircase and subsequent walkway was a tad bit unnerving. Other cathedrals we’ve walked on the actual building, not some temporary metal gridwork.

A few other shots I captured walking down the metal grid staircase before waiting for the small, really small elevator.

At the beginning I mentioned St. Eulalia. She is buried in the crypt under the alter. She was a young virgin that suffered martyrdom during Roman times.

Exiting the church you’re directed through a cloister. A number of important Barcelona citizens are buried here. They were buried under the stones we walked on. Felt kind of odd and disrespectful. I know I tried to step around them or over them. They were interspersed amongst the other stones used in the flooring.

More symbolism awaits. The fountain head of the Well of Geese represents St. Michael slaying Evil, embodied by a dragon.

He stands watch over a pool that contains thirteen geese.

Why thirteen? They represent the fact that St. Eulalia was believed to have been just 13 when she died.

Exiting the cathedral, I noticed this bridge reminding me of the Bridge Of Sighs found in Venice. There were many similar bridges but they have been destroyed. These bridges were built so that Barcelona’s civic and religious elite could travel between official buildings without interacting with the citizens and avoid any physical contact.

Gargoyles. They were mostly built between the 13th and 15th centuries with the intention of becoming drains on the rooftops of medieval cathedrals. Their gruesome faces were thought to protect churches from evil spirits by their gruesome faces.

Gargoyles are not limited to Europe. They can be found on relatively modern buildings in Canada, the U.S. and other countries. The Washington National Cathedral is known for its impressive collection of 112 gargyles. Who knew?

Eric gave up on us and found a place outside to wait. He should have gone to the rooftop – just saying. The other cathedral we visited – TOTALLY different, yet having its own beauty. Coming soon!


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