Quite possibly the next best recognized building in Barcelona after the Sagrada Família is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia), the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona and a dedication to Santa Eulàlia, co-patron saint of the city. The present-day cathedral was shaped between the 13th and 15th centuries; although its signature Neo-Gothic façade was finished only in the early 190th century.
Already during the Roman reign a religious temple stood on the same site. It was later replaced by Christian basilica – the latter however was destroyed by the Moors in 985. Decades later, the count of Barcelona, Ramón Berenguer I, ordered a cathedral to be built in place of the ruined church. A Romanesque cathedral was finished somewhere between 1046 and 1058, and two centuries later, Capella de Santa Llucia, was annexed to the main building.
The first stone of the current cathedral was laid in 1298, under the reign of King Jaume II. He never saw the final result – civil wars, outbursts of plague hindered the construction; and it was not until 1448, when the completion of the cloister marked the end of a 150-years long work.
Before entering the Cathedral, it is worth paying attention to numerous statues adorning the building – mythological creatures, animals, and dominating the scene are grim gargoyles. The interior is profoundly illuminated with natural light – due to extensive stained glass windows. Side churches, ten of which are centered on the high altar; magnificent pulpit and even more beautiful crypt with the remains of Santa Eulàlia – are worth the admiration, however, the highlight is the 14th century cloister. Lined with Gothic portico and with a pictorial courtyard, the cloister is also home to the legend of the 13 Geese. Each of the birds represent one year of Santa Eulàlia’s life – according to belief, she was that young, when the Romans tortured her to death for her religion.
It is possible to access the rooftop gangway to enjoy the view on the Gothic Quarter, and if you have time, visit Museu Diocesà (Av. de la Catedral, 4), housed inside the 4th century roman tower. The collection counts with almost 3.000 items, including ancient artifacts, ceramics, works of art and sculptures, gold and silverware, from the Visigoth and Roman era and to the 21st century.
Metro: Jaume I (line 4)
Bus lines: 17, 45, 120 and V17