Barcelona Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Santa Eulàlia
The Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia watches impassively the passing of time in a constantly moving and changing Barcelona. The Cathedral also reflects the different generations who have left their imprint and the blend of architectural styles in this predominantly Gothic building which needs to be viewed inside in order to fully understand its splendour.
Barcelona Cathedral was built over six centuries. Funded by donations from the medieval brotherhoods and guilds, the building work in Santa Creu commenced in 1298, on consecrated ground which was the former site of a 4th-century early-Christian basilica, which had been destroyed by the troops of the general of the Andalusian caliphate of Al-Mansur in the 10th century. Only the baptistery survives from this building. The chapel of Santa Llúcia was part of the Romanesque church built prior to the Gothic Cathedral, while the oldest surviving doorway is the Porta de Sant Iu. The main façade and bell tower were completed around 1890, following the original plans, in the neo-Gothic style. The interior is an impressive sight with 25 side chapels, the magnificent 14th-century cloister and the choir stalls, where the Knights of the Golden Fleece gathered during the visit of Emperor Charles V of Germany in 1519. The pulpit and the crypt, which is the burial place of Santa Eulàlia, one of Barcelona's patron saints, are also extremely beautiful. The cathedral is dedicated to the saint.
The Latin-cross floor plan and cross vault, as well as the magnificent stained-glass windows, allow light to flood into the cathedral. It is a setting that has many surprises in store, such as the chapterhouse, the exhibition space that showcases the art treasures that have been preserved over the centuries. They include altarpieces, liturgical objects and murals.
The cathedral cloisters are Gothic in style and were built between the 14th and 15th centuries. They were built on a quadrangular floor plan and consist of four galleries with pointed arches separated by columns. There is a garden in the centre with palm trees, magnolias, an orange tree, and thirteen geese, which, according to the legend, stand for the age Saint Eulàlia was when she was martyred.
You can also take the lift to the cathedral rooftop and enjoy interesting views of Barcelona. From here you'll get a close-up view of the two bell towers and other architectural features of the cathedral that can only be seen from the roof, as their builders would have seen them centuries ago.
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