Tourist’s guide to Cathedral of Holy Cross in Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

From any corner of the Gothic Quarter, which occupies a significant part of the Old Town in Barcelona, ​​you can see the spiers of the iconic city landmark – the Cathedral. This monumental medieval temple is also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia, the Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Eulalia of Barcelona, ​​the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Barcelona Cathedral.


The Cathedral Catholic Church, where the Barcelona Archbishop has established his residence, is recognized as the main religious center of Barcelona.

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A bit of history

Eulalia, a young 13-year-old girl who lived in the 4th century, was a humble Christian and brought faith in Jesus Christ to the people. During the persecution of Diocletian for the Christian faith, she was tortured and martyred at the hands of the Romans. Later, she was reckoned with the Face of the Saints.

It is the Holy Great Martyr Eulalia, who is one of the patrons of the capital of Catalonia, who is dedicated to the Cathedral of Barcelona.

The temple began to be erected in 1298, choosing for this purpose a place above the crypt of the former chapel. Such a large-scale construction required a lot of funds, and since they were often not enough, the work periodically stopped. The official completion of construction work is called the year 1420, but the central facade was completed only in 1870 according to the plans of the 15th century, and the main spire was added in 1913.

In 1867, Pope Pius IX granted the Barcelona Cathedral in Spain the status of the Lesser Papal Basilica.

Facade of the Cathedral

During the Civil War, the Cathedral was virtually unaffected, unlike other temples in Barcelona. The powerful facade with its decorative elements and the interior of the building were preserved almost intact.

Architectural solution

Barcelona Cathedral is an excellent example of the Gothic style with vibrant elements of Catalan culture. This building, very huge and massive, is very well inscribed in the Gothic Quarter with its narrow winding streets . Despite its massiveness, the cathedral does not feel “heavy”, it seems to soar in the air. This impression is largely due to many elegant details: flying up the spire towers, slender columns, pompous Gothic “outlet” above the main entrance.

The department has several portals: the central and oldest portal of Saint Ivo overlooking de la Seu square, and the portals Pietat, Saint Eulalia, Saint Lucia overlooking the courtyard.

The facade of the building and the central portal are decorated with numerous statues of saints and angels, the main one is the statue of Christ in the arch.

Pattern on the facade of the Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Barcelona reaches a width of 40 meters, a height of 93 meters. The building is supplemented by 5 towers, the largest of them are the central one with a 70-meter spire and 2 octagonal chapels 50 meters high. On the right tower are 10 small bells, on the left – a bell that weighs 3 tons.

Cathedral Interior

Barcelona Cathedral is very spacious, austere and magnificent. Despite the huge number of beautiful multi-colored stained-glass windows and the presence of lighting, the building is always mysterious twilight.

Immediately from the main portal begins an extensive central nave and 2 side aisles, separated from it by rows of slender columns. At a height of 26 meters, this spacious room is bounded by a gracefully airy dome.

Cathedral Interior

An essential section of the central nave in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is reserved for carved wood choirs decorated with marble bas-reliefs. There are 2 rows of armchairs, the backs of which are crowned with gilt emblems of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

The main decoration of the altar (XIV century) and at the same time a valuable religious relic is a statue of Christ of Lepant, made of wood. The statue was on the bow of a ship belonging to the commander Juan of Austria, and during the battle with the Turks in 1571, she saved the ship from death by taking on the blow of a flying projectile. The statue was damaged, and now even with the naked eye you can see how curved it is.

Next to the main altar, in the crypt, there is another important shrine: a sarcophagus standing on carved columns of polished alabaster, in which the relics of St. Eulalia rest.

In the depths of the hall of the Cathedral, an organ is installed under the left bell tower. It was made in 1539 and has undergone many reconstructions since then. Since 1990, the organ has been used for concerts.

Main Hall of the Cathedral


The courtyard of the temple of the Holy Cross

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia in Barcelona has a very beautiful courtyard with a wonderful palm garden and an old fountain decorated with a statue of St. George. Among other ancient artifacts are ground slabs with monograms of medieval workshops that provided money for the construction of the cathedral.

Around the courtyard is a covered gallery, the walls of which are decorated with numerous tapestries and bas-reliefs with scenes from the life of the patron saint of the city.

Along the perimeter of the gallery there are 26 unique chapels facing it. In one of them, the chapel of the bishop of St. Oligaria, is an original cross with a crucifix of the sixteenth century. The oldest chapel of the cathedral, built in 1268, adjoins the courtyard, that is, several decades before the construction of the Holy Cross Cathedral itself.

The courtyard of the temple of the Holy Cross

On the territory of the courtyard, 13 snow-white geese graze, the residence of which is one of the chapels. The white color of these birds symbolizes the purity of the Great Martyr Eulalia, and their number is the number of years lived by the patroness of Barcelona.

Church meeting room

The museum (this is the Hall of Church Meetings) has a very sophisticated look. On the inner perimeter of the walls it is decorated with luxurious decorative finishes: purple velvet and skillful carvings on dark wood.

Church meeting room

Here is a collection of paintings, among which there are fairly well-known, for example, engravings by Dürer, a masterpiece of the fifteenth century – “Pieta” by Bartolomeo Bermejo. The museum also houses tapestries, rich church utensils, a font, ancient crosses with crucifixes and altars.

You can enter the Church Assembly Hall through the internal gallery, through the courtyard.

The roof of the cathedral

Elevators are installed to the left of the main portal of the Department, which comfortably lift visitors to the roof of the structure – a convenient viewing platform is equipped at the dome.

From there, you can see the spire of the cathedral, as well as admire the Gothic Quarter and the panorama of all of Barcelona from a height.

Spiers of the Church of the Holy Cross

By the way, the photos of Barcelona from the Cathedral are very successful and beautiful, like postcards.

Practical information

Barcelona’s main religious attraction: Placa de la Seu, S / N, 08002.

Walking along the Gothic Quarter, you can walk to the Cathedral along the street Carrer del Bisbe – it goes onto Piazza de la Seu.

In walking distance is the metro station Jaume I (line 4).

Opening hours and cost of visiting

The Church of the Holy Cross is open daily:

  • on weekdays from 8:00 to 19:45 (the entrance is closed at 19:15);
  • Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 8:00 to 20:30.

From 8:30 to 12:30, and then from 17:45 to 19:30, services are held.

Entrance to the temple of the Holy Cross

Whether the visit to the cathedral will be paid depends on the time of the visit:

  • From 8:00 to 12:45, and then from 17:15 to 19:00 you can go inside for free. But it is worth considering that this time practically coincides with the time of worship, which is why entrance for tourists can be limited.
  • From 13:00 to 17:30, and on weekends from 14:00 to 17:00 entrance is paid.

The price of the entrance ticket is also different, depending on what kind of sightseeing it provides for:

  • climb to the observation platform (paid even at “grace time”) – 3 €;
  • examination of choirs – 3 €;
  • single ticket, allowing access to the choirs, the chapel of St. Christ of Lepant and the Assembly Hall, as well as allowing the climb to the roof – 7 €.

The price is the same for both adults and children.

There is no audio guide in Russian, so you just have to go around and examine everything yourself. Photo and video shooting in rooms is possible only after prior permission is obtained.

Schedule and prices on the page are for October 2019.

Useful Tips

  1. You need to be prepared for the fact that security at the entrance can conduct an inspection of things.
  2. What is forbidden to put on the Temple
  3. Since the Cathedral is operational, it is necessary to observe the appropriate dress code when visiting it: men and women in sleeveless T-shirts and with open knees (shorts and skirts) are not allowed. At the entrance there is a box with scarves, they can be tied instead of a skirt or put on shoulders.
  4. Climb to the roof of the cathedral in order to admire the views of Barcelona from above, it is best at 10-11 a.m., while there are still few tourists.
  5. In the sarcophagus with the relics of St. Eulalia there is a special slot where you can drop a coin – the sarcophagus is highlighted with beautiful lights.
  6. Every month, Barcelona Cathedral hosts concerts of organ music. You need to know about the schedule in advance.
  7. Going to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia on foot through the Gothic Quarter, it is advisable to take a map with you: in the old part of Barcelona it is very easy to get lost.

Walking through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona and exploring the Cathedral:

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