Barcelona Cathedral, Spain

Barcelona's imposing cathedral is located at the highest point of the old town, on the Pla de la Seu, and impresses with its magnificent Gothic facade and impressive interior.

The cathedral in the Spanish port city of Barcelona is called by its full name "La Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia" or simply "La Catedral". It is the Metropolitan Church of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, is one of our top 10 sights of Barcelona and our top 10 most beautiful churches in Spain. Although not as famous and spectacular as the magnificent Sagrada Familia, a visit to the cathedral should not be missed.


PICTURES: Barcelona Cathedral

Photo gallery: Barcelona Cathedral

Construction of the Barcelona Cathedral

The construction of the gigantic Barcelona Cathedral stretched from the 11th to the 15th century, Spain - © Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock
© Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock

The magnificent Barcelona Cathedral was built in the 11th century on the ruins of a basilica that had been destroyed by the Moors. But even this basilica was not the original structure, because it was also built on the foundations of another place of worship, namely a Roman temple.

The construction of the gigantic structure dragged on until the 15th century; in fact, the facade was not completed until the turn of the 19th/20th century.

Visit Barcelona Cathedral

A nave and two aisles of the Cathedral of Barcelona, Spain, extend 83 meters long and 25 meters high - © In Green / Shutterstock
© In Green / Shutterstock

The cathedral, built in Gothic style, stands on the Pla de la Seu in the wonderful Barri Gòtic district of Barcelona. Although it is only twelve meters above sea level, it sits on the highest point of the old town.

Barcelona Cathedral impresses with its immense size. A nave and two aisles extend over 83 meters in length and 25 meters in height.

An octagonal tower rises at each end of the transept. These two towers were added to the building in the 14th century.

There are 29 chapels attached along the side aisles. In one of them there is said to be a miraculous crucifix, which allegedly contributed to the victory over the Turks in the naval battle of Lepanto.


Cloister feathered alarm system

Since the Middle Ages, geese live in the idyllic cloister of Barcelona Cathedral, they used to keep away thieves and burglars by their chattering and were allowed to stay until today, Spain - © Zastolskiy Victor / Shutterstock
© Zastolskiy Victor / Shutterstock

The cloister is particularly impressive. Here you will find a small garden, several fountains, sarcophagi and tombs and - what may seem strange at first glance - a flock of geese that you can hear chattering all the way inside the cathedral.

These animals played a major role in the Middle Ages, because through them burglars and thieves had no chance to enter the cathedral undetected. It is probably thanks to this function as a medieval alarm system that the animals have not been moved out of the cloister to this day.

The cloister is dedicated to the martyr Santa Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona. Her remains were laid to rest in the crypt under the high altar; celebrated every year on February 12.

Museum and roof tour in Barcelona Cathedral

The remains of Santa Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona were laid to rest under the high altar in the crypt of Barcelona Cathedral, Spain - © Bill Perry / Shutterstock
© Bill Perry / Shutterstock

Barcelona Cathedral also has a small museum where you can admire, among other things, two valuable statues of Santa Eulàlia and a monstrance made of pure gold.

For an impressive view over the old town, you can take an elevator to the roof of the cathedral. This is located in the church building on the left side, at the Capella de les Ànimes del Purgatori between the nave and the apse.

The forecourt of the cathedral is now often used for parties and events. It pays especially to visit the building at dusk because of the impressive atmosphere; even at night the facade is beautifully illuminated.

Related links:

Official website of the Barcelona Cathedral