Barcelona Cathedral | Gothic masterpiece in the heart of the city

Did you know Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, took over 200 years to complete? Construction began in 1298 in Catalan Gothic style, but the facade was...

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Barcelona Cathedral

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Jaume Fabre

Barcelona CatedralBarcelona Cathedral

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Did you know?

The cloister provides a sanctuary for an unusual group of residents - 13 white geese. This tradition symbolizes Saint Eulalia's young age at martyrdom.

The cathedral's rooftop features a fascinating array of gargoyles, carved figures that serve a practical purpose - channeling rainwater away from the masonry. Look closer and you'll also spot sculptures of saints, biblical figures, and even mythical creatures adorning the roofline.

In Corpus Christi, a unique local tradition unfolds within the cathedral. Eggs placed atop Barcelona's fountains appear to dance due to the water jets, symbolizing the life cycle of Christ. This custom is believed to have originated at Barcelona Cathedral.

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What to see at Barcelona Cathedral

About Barcelona Cathedral


Inside the chapels of Barcelona Cathedral are many Gothic paintings that form altarpieces. Some noteworthy artists involved were Guerau Gener, Gabriel Alemany, Bernat Martorell, Lluis Borrassà, to name a few. One such masterpiece is by Bernat Martorell called the 'Altarpiece of Transfiguration'. It shows a series of paintings including Christ on a crucifix surrounded by his followers as well as his resurrection. The museum of the Cathedral also houses an exquisite collection of paintings by artists like Jaume Huguet, Pere Destorrents, and Bartolomé Bermejo, who created the masterpiece, 'The Pieta', a powerful piece showing Mary holding the body of Christ after his crucifixion.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Heart chair

The chairs or the choir are located in the heart of the Cathedral and date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. On the backs of the seats, there are images of the Order of the Golden Fleece from the 16th century, forming the coat of arms. Another highlight of the choir is the pulpit or high chair created between 1394 and 1499 by Pere Canglada and Maties Bonafė along with John Lambert and Anthony Claperós. The pinnacle canopies around the choir were created by Kassel and Michael Lochner, both commendable artists from their time. Finally, you will notice the retrochoir, which is closed off by a marble wall. On the wall are reliefs created by Bartolomė Ordóñez and Pedro Villar.

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Stained windows

Stained-glass windows in the cathedral have 3 panels, where the central panel displays an image of one main character, while the side panels contain geometric designs symbolizing royal families of the city, angels, etc. The windows can be divided into 4 periods. The earliest from the years 1317 to 1334 is shown by a figure of Bishop Ponc de Gualba along with the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. The second period was around 1400 as depicted by Saint Andrew surrounded by other significant individuals of the time. The third period is from the 15th century and forms the most important window representing Saint Michael and Noli me tangere. Finally, we have windows from the 19th and 20th centuries, forming part of the sidewalls and the facade. 

About Barcelona Cathedral


One of the main highlights of the Cathedral is the glorious Custody. It is made completely of gold and silver and is adorned with jewels that were donated as a symbol of devotion. Since the middle of the 15th century, the Custody has been made to rest on the throne of King Martin, which serves as its base. It is believed that this throne was given to the church as a donation by King Martin himself in the 14th century.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Vault keys

In total, there are 215 vault keys inside the Cathedral, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. After being restored in 1970, the keys were discovered to be polychrome. The vault keys of the central nave include many symbols including Christ being crucified with the Virgin and St. John by his side, Saint Eulalia with the coat of arms of Blance of Naples, and the Virgin of Mercy in her cloak surrounded by the Pope, Kind, Cardinal, and others. One key found in the crypt of Saint Eulalia depicts the Virgin and her Child.

History of Barcelona Cathedral in a nutshell

3rd - 4th centuries: Although there are no proven historical records of the early presence of Christianity, the martyrdom of Saint Eulalia and Saint Cucuphas bear witness to the existence of Christians in Barcelona during the 3rd and 4th centuries. Recent excavations of the eastern wall of the Cathedral revealed a building with 3 naves separated by white columns - a classic symbol of the paleo-Christian basilica that stood here during the 4th century. 

7th - 10th centuries: Initially, the relics of Saint Eulalia were hidden in the early basilica to avoid desecration by the Arab invaders in the 7th century. A century later, her relics were miraculously found inside the temple of Santa Maria de Les Arenes. During the Arab invasion, one of the chiefs named Almanzor burned and destroyed the whole city. The basilica, however, remained standing strong until the 10th century. 

When the Romans invaded Barcelona, Roman Berenguer the Old and his wife Almodis along with Bishop Guislabert commanded the construction of a Roman temple on the site of the basilica. Towards the middle of the 10th century, the Roman temple was declared consecrated by the Archbishop Wilfred of Narbonne. This signified the end of the Roman regime in the city. 

12th century - 1913: The present Gothic cathedral was built on the site of the Roman Temple in the 12th century under the reign of King James II of Aragon. About 150 years later, its construction was finally complete when King Alfonso V was in power. Keeping in mind the original designs of Josep O. Mestres, industrialist Manuel Girona Agrafel took charge of adding the central tower and neo-Gothic facade of the Cathedral. It was eventually completed in 1913 by Girona’s children.

Who built the Barcelona Cathedral?

Construction of the present Cathedral began on May 1, 1298, when James II the Just was King of Aragon at the time and Bernat Pelegri was the Bishop of Barcelona. Built completely from its east end to the west end, the cathedral was finally established in the year 1417 with a simple west facade and a cloister added in 1448. In total, it took about 150 years for the complete construction of the Catedral de Barcelona. 

Much later in the late 19th century, Josep O. Mestres rearranged the original design of master Carli of the central tower and the Neo-Gothic facade. Miguel Girona I Agrafel offered to complete the construction, which was eventually taken over by his children. The work was finally completed in the year 1913.

Architecture of Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Catedral de Barcelona is known for its Gothic-style architecture. The Cathedral consists of 3 naves and one apse and an ambulatory. This is the typical structure used in Catalan Gothic constructions, which allows for the use of the spaces in-between to have smaller chapels in the Cathedral. There are 2 chapels in each of the naves with 2 large bell towers on both ends without any side chapels. One tower lies above the door of Saint Ivo, while the other is above the entrance to the Cloister. From the terrace of the Cathedral, you can get a close look at the octagonal shape of the bell towers. Large windows adorn the walls of the Cathedral, illuminating the chapels within.

Inside Barcelona Cathedral

About Barcelona Cathedral

High altar

The altar is 3 meters long and rests on 2 capitals. Behind the altar you will find a large image of the Cross surrounded by 6 angels, sculpted by Frederic Marés.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Crypt of Saint Eulalia

Beneath the high altar lies the crypt of Saint Eulalia, constructed at the start of the 14th century by the renowned architect, Jaume Fabré. 

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The Choir

Constructed between 1390 and 1519, under Bishop Raymond d’Escales. The stalls, pinnacles, and canopies are in an exceptional Catalan Gothic design.

About Barcelona Cathedral


The Cloister consists of 4 galleries with ogive arches and pillars. Sculpted into the pillars of the arches are scenes from the Old Testament and legends about the Holy Cross, while the keystones depict scenes from the New Testament. 

About Barcelona Cathedral


The sacristy with 3 rooms was the result of expansions that took place in 1408 and 1502. The sacristy is also where masses are recorded for the deceased and where the faithful are attended to.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Sepulcher of Saint Raymond of Penyafort

Above the altar of the Chapel of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, you will find a Gothic sepulcher depicting scenes from his life. While under the altar resides a sepulcher showing a prone figure of the saint along with a tomb from the convent of Saint Catherine.

About Barcelona Cathedral


What was once the site for a soup kitchen is now an elegant museum at the Barcelona Cathedral. Inside the museum, you will find a range of collections from the 11th-century.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Chapel of Saint Lucia

The chapel of Saint Lucia was built between 1257 and 1268 in late Romanesque style. It was originally dedicated to the Virgin Saints, but since 1296 it has solely been dedicated to Saint Lucia, known as the protector of sight.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Chapter house

Located next to the chapel of Saint Lucia is the Chapter house of Barcelona Cathedral, built in the 17th century. It is a rectangular space covered by a barrel vault with lunettes that can be accessed through the Cloister.

About Barcelona Cathedral


The facade of Barcelona Cathedral was constructed by architect José Oriol Mestres, under the guidance of Manuel Girona. It took almost 3 years to complete the construction, from 1887 to 1890.

About Barcelona Cathedral


Once you get to the top, you can see the two bell towers, the two pinnacles, the cimborio crowned by the Holy Cross, the Cloister, and some unforgettable panoramic views of Barcelona.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Door of Saint Ivo

For about 500 years, the Door of Saint Ivo was the main entrance to Barcelona Cathedral, located under one of the bell towers. It is the oldest door in the Cathedral, dating back to 1298.

About Barcelona Cathedral

Chapel of Lepanto

Constructed in 1407, the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament or the Holy Christ of Lepanto is a rectangular space covered by a large star vault. At the center resides a keystone sculpted by Joan Claperós in 1454, representing the Pentecost. Inside the Chapel is a Baroque sepulcher of Saint Olegarius and one of the Holy Christ of Lepanto.

Frquently asked questions about Barcelona Cathedral

What is Barcelona Cathedral?

Barcelona Cathedral is an ancient church, located in the Gothic Center in Barcelona. Its Gothic architecture, dating back to its construction between the 12th and 14th centuries, is truly a majestic sight to behold. It also holds the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, making it an important structure in the city.

When was Barcelona Cathedral built?

Construction of Barcelona Cathedral began in 1298 and was completed in 1420. The central tower and the facade were added much later in 1913.

How old is the Catedral de Barcelona?

Catedral de Barcelona has existed since the 14th century, when its construction was completed.

What is the Barcelona Cathedral famous for?

Barcelona Cathedral is famous for its remarkable gothic and Neo-gothic style architecture. It is a popular tourist attraction, and one of the most important churches in Barcelona.

What is the architectural style of the Barcelona Cathedral?

Barcelona Cathedral is built in a Gothic Architectural style, also known as the Gothic Revival style.

Is the Barcelona Cathedral a functioning church today?

Yes, Barcelona Cathedral is open throughout the week. The Cathedral is open Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 12:30 PM and 5:45 PM to 7:30 PM. On Saturdays and public Holidays, the Cathedral is open from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 5:15 PM to 8 PM, while on Sundays and religious holidays, it remains open from 8:30 AM to 1:45 PM and 5:15 PM to 8 PM.

How much does it cost to visit the Barcelona Cathedral?

The price for an admission ticket to Barcelona Cathedral starts at €9. You can buy your Barcelona Cathedral tickets here.