Cathedral, Barcelona Santa Creu
On Monte Tabor, which at 12m/40ft is the highest point in the Barri Gòtic, stands the cathedral (Santa Creu or Santa Eulàlia). It was begun in 1298 on the site of an old Romanesque building, of which a few stone reliefs are still preserved at the northeast doorway. By 1448 it was completed except for the main facade and the dome, which were added in 1898 and 1913. The layout of the cathedral is rather unusual: the apse and altar area lie to the southeast whilst the main facade faces northwest.
Address: Plaça de la Seu 7, E-08002 Barcelona, Spain
Opening hours: 7:30am-1:30pm, 4pm-7:30pm
Entrance fee: FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Metro: Urquinaona, Liceu; Bus: 17, 19, 45.
Coming from the Plaça Sant Jaume, the visitor arrives at the very beautiful cloister (Claustre) with its magnolias and palms. It is entered by the Portal de Santa Eulàlia. The cloister dates from 1380-1451 and is lined with numerous chapels containing the altars of various saints. Of note is the fountain which is crowned by a small statue of St George (Sant Jordi) with the dragon. At Corpus Christi there is a custom of blowing an egg and letting it spin on the fountain. There is a special explanation for the geese which inhabit the cloister: in the Middle Ages they guarded the cathedral and its treasures, for their aggressiveness and vociferousness have been well known since the averted storming of the Roman Capitol (A.D. 387), and this tradition lives on today.In the southwestern corner of the cloister is the Capella de Santa Llucia, founded in 1270, and next to it the museum.
The cathedral museum in the former chapter room (Sala Capitular) displays paintings by Spanish masters from the 15th and 16th C., sculptures and liturgical articles.
The High Gothic interior (83.3m/273ft long, 37.2m/122ft wide, 25.5m/84ft high) is divided into three aisles. The main aisle and side aisles of the cathedral are approximately the same height. High up there is a row of small windows. On the side aisles underneath the low galleries are chapels, mainly from the 16th and 17th C. and with ornate Baroque altars. The most impressive is the Capilla del Santíssim Sagrament, which is to be found on the left of the high altar. It is the former chapter room and contains the 15th/16th C. alabaster tombstone of Bishop Olegarius (d. 1136) and the "Lepanto Christ", allegedly the figurehead of the flagship of Don Juan of Austria (cf. Museu Marítim) in which he defeated the Turks in 1571. In the last side chapel before the left transept there is a black madonna which resembles the famous image of Maria in Montserrat.The magnificently colored stained-glass windows are mainly 15th C. Also of interest are the choir stalls (15th C.), which stand in the middle of the main aisle and are enclosed on three sides, and the beautiful pulpit of 1403. In the Capilla Major there is a Late Gothic retablo (reredos; 16th C.).
Cathedral - Crypt
From the Capilla Major a staircase leads down to the crypt. Illuminated by hosts of candles it contains the alabaster sarcophagus of the patron saint of the city and the cathedral, Santa Eulàlia, an Italian work dating from 1330.
In the sacristy the cathedral treasury (Catalan, tresor), which includes gold and silver articles and an alabaster image of the Madonna and rosary, is worth seeing.
From the southwest tower of the cathedral (210 steps; access from inside the building) there is a very rewarding view of the city, its hinterland and the sea.
The Archdeacon's House is one of three palaces that also comprise the Cathedral complex. The Gothic architecture of the Archdeacon's House is quite flamboyant.
City History Institute
The Institut Municipal d'Història, founded in 1922, is housed in the beautiful Casa de l'Ardiaca (Archdeacon's House), part of which go back to the 12th C. and which essentially acquired the external appearance which it has today in the 15th C., during the Late Gothic period, whilst the decorative figures show the influence of the Italian Renaissance.The interior of the building is only open to scientists; of note however is the inner courtyard, surrounded by arcades, with multi-colored decorative tiles and a Gothic fountain.
Casa dels Canonges
One of the three palaces that comprise the Cathedral complex.