Cathedral of Saint Eulalia

Cathedral of Saint Eulalia

The Saint Eulalia Cathedral, or simply the Barcelona Cathedral is one of the most significant sacred buildings in the city. The construction works lasted for two centuries, from the 13th to the 15th century, and it follows the Gothic style. Today, the cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona. As it is the case with any other Gothic building, this one is also decorated with gargoyles alongside other mythical creatures. Eulalia was a little girl that lived only 13 years. During Roman rule, she suffered through great martyrdom. One story says that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity.

The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street. That is how she became Saint Eulalia, the patron of Barcelona. She is buried in the cathedral's crypt. The coats-of-arms of the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece can be seen in the cathedral. Charles, prior to becoming Holy Roman Emperor, selected Barcelona and the cathedral as the site of a chapter of his Order.

It was he who heavily invested in the cathedral because he needed it for different ceremonies. The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto are attached to the cathedral. There is a crucifix that dates back to 1571 (when the Battle of Lepanto took place) in the chapel of the Holy Christ. Apart from Eulalia, many important people are also buried in the church – Saint Raymond of Penyafort, his wife Almodisa de la Marchea, bishop Berenguer de Palou II, bishop Salvador Casanas and bishop Arnau de Gurb.
The cathedral has a secluded Gothic cloister where 13 white geese are kept, the number explained by the assertion that Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred. The cathedral is built on the remains of a church from the 12th century. The middle tower, whose construction began in the 15th century, was finished in the 19th century. The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto is a small side chapel constructed by Arnau Bargués in 1407. Since the 17th century, these chapels are resting places for the Bishop of Barcelona and the Archbishop of Tarragona. The crucifix from the Battle of Lepanto, besides leading the warriors and giving them hope, also saved them on a galley when a cannonball flew toward the cross, it leaned out of the way in order to avoid being hit as the legend says. The Habsburgs were said to have regarded this as an encouraging omen.
Apart from many different ceremonies, the cathedral also preserves and maintains many traditions, one of them being the tradition of the “dancing egg” supported by the jet of a fountain. In the courtyard, there is the Fountain of the Santa Eulalia and a beautiful garden. The cathedral’s model is exhibited in Catalunya en Miniatura park.
Working hours: every day, 08.00h – 19.30h

Entrance fee: 9 EUR for individuals, 7 euros for groups

Author of the text:

Maja Glavaš, Bachelor with Honours in Communicology. Works in Tourism.
Contact: [email protected]; instagram: travel_europe1

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