What’s Inside the Barcelona Cathedral?
One of Spain's outstanding architectural and religious sites, a trip to the capital city of Barcelona isn't complete without paying a visit to the Barcelona Cathedral. Interestingly, it is not just a remarkable structure to behold for its unique Gothic architecture, it also happens to be the seat of his holiness, the Archbishop of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. In this quick guide, we answer all your questions about the Barcelona Cathedral, its architectural style, its design and structure, and its significance.
What is Inside Barcelona Cathedral?
Inside the Barcelona Cathedral, constructed between the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, you will see the high altar, from where you can enjoy a clear view of the crypt. The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt. The cathedral also contains the tombs of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Count Ramon Berenguer I and his third wife Almodis de la Marche, and bishops Berenguer de Palou II, Salvador Casañas y Pagés, and Arnau de Gurb.
The side Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto constructed in 1407 is one of the key highlights of the cathedral. It is believed to contain a cross that dates back to the time of the Battle of Lepanto. The cathedral also has a cloister where 13 white geese are housed, referencing the age that Eulalia was when she was martyred.
What to See Inside Barcelona Cathedral?
Made of white marble and about 3-meters long, the Barcelona Cathedral's High Altar was consecrated in 1337 by Bishop Ferrer Abella and currently rests on two capitals from the 6th century that was originally housed in the paleo-Christian Cathedral. Right behind the High Altar, in the middle of the central columns is the work of the sculptor Frederic Marés, an image of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross surrounded by six angels. At its base lies the seat cut from alabaster in the mid-14th century.
One of the most magnificent sights and significant sculpture works inside Barcelona Cathedral is that of the choir or choir seats that date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Built in the Catalan Gothic style, its canopies and pinnacles were made by the sculptor Michael Lochner and his disciple Johan Friedrich at the end of the 15th century. Having preserved its charm as is, on these seats you see the details such as the coats-of-arms of the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece which were painted on the backs of all the choir seats.
Located right next to the Barcelona Cathedral and easily accessible from the cathedral floor, is the cloister. It was built much later than the cathedral, sometime in the 14th century. It is so loved for the charming courtyard with tall palm trees, a refreshing change of scenery in the Gothic Quarter but even more the rare presence of the 13 geese bathing in the Well of the Geese. The geese are believed to represent the age at which Saint Eulalia was martyred. It is also one of the only places to host Barcelona's most striking tradition of 'Ou com Balla' or dancing egg.
Door of Saint Ivo
Believed to be the oldest door in the Barcelona Cathedral, the Door of Saint Ivo has been the main entrance to this remarkable monument for over 500 years. The door received the name of Saint Ivo, patron saint of lawyers, in the 15th century. Located under one of the bell towers and built using marble and stone, its most prominent features are the diminishing pointed archivolts, which rest on nerves with flowered capitals. The backside of the door has two inscriptions commemorating the commencement of the work on the Gothic Cathedral and two reliefs representing the struggle between man and beast.
Crypt of Saint Eulalia
Beneath the High Altar is the Crypt of Saint Eulalia. It conserves the ancient sepulcher of a virgin and martyr, Saint Eulalia, from the 4th century. Also within the crypt lies an exceptional polychromed, alabaster Gothic sarcophagus containing the remains of the Saint. The Crypt was constructed at the beginning of the 14th century by the architect Jaume Fabré.
The sacristy of the Cathedral of Barcelona is where the faithful are attended to and masses for the deceased are recorded. It has three rooms that were built during the expansions in 1408 to construct the treasure room and in 1502, when the priests’ dressing room was added.
Sepulcher of Saint Raymond of Penyafort
The Sepulcher of Saint Raymond of Penyafort is located under the altar of his chapel. It displays the prone figure of the saint and also has the tomb from the convent of Saint Catherine dating from the 14th century. The top of the altar features the Gothic sepulcher of Saint Raymond of Penyafort with scenes from his life.
Located under the gallery of the cloister next to the chapel dedicated to Saint Lucia, the Barcelona Cathedral museum does not have too many artifacts on display, but they're all considered to be of great importance such as the works of Spanish gothic painter Bartolomé Bermejo. Other collections include the 11th-century lobed baptism font from the former Romanesque temple and the terracotta sculpture of Saint Eulalia by Anthony Claperós. Other works of significance include the Gothic altarpiece of Saint Bernardino and the Guardian Angel and the monstrance, from the late-14th century, made up from the campaign throne of King Martin the Humane.
Chapel of Saint Lucia
Built in the late Romanesque style between 1257 and 1268, the Chapel of Saint Lucia is a chapel for the Episcopal palace. It was originally dedicated to the Virgin Saints, but since 1296 has been dedicated only to Saint Lucia, protector of sight. The building is rectangular in shape and has two access doors, one to the cloister and the other to its exterior. The facade had columns on either side with carved capitals bearing geometric and animal figures while the interiors have two sepulchers with the remains of bishop Arnau of Gurb (13th century) and canon Francesc of Santa Coloma (14th century).
Located right next to the Chapel of Saint Lucia, the new Chapterhouse of the Cathedral can be accessed through the Cloister. The interiors are covered by a barrel vault with lunettes and is decorated with paintings depicting the Glorification of Saint Eulalia and of Saint Olegarius, painted by the artist Pau Prim between 1703 and 1705.
Built in the neo-Gothic style, the facade of the Barcelona Cathedral was designed by architect José Oriol Mestres between 1887 and 1890. Its most striking element is the main door with large Gothic arch and archivolts situated right in the center. The vertical bar between the panes of glass of the window is presided over by a stone sculpture of Christ, while images of the twelve apostles are situated along the sides of the door and 76 other figures representing kings, prophets, angels and saints. The facade also shows off eight stained-glass windows and two side towers with tall pinnacles.
To enjoy spectacular views of the city of Barcelona take the elevator up to the rooftops from the Barcelona Cathedral. It can be accessed through the chapel of Innocent Saints. This is an especially good idea if you're on a time-crunch, you'll only have to pay a small fee to use the lift. Once here, you get to take in the views of central Barcelona and some of the well-known parts of the city like the two bell towers, the two lateral pinnacles, the cimborio crowned by the Holy Cross, the cloister and just a beautiful panoramic view of Barcelona.
Chapel of Lepanto
The Chapel of Lepanto was built as a small chapterhouse or place to hold meetings. It is considered special because it holds an unusual crucifix known as the Holy Christ of Lepanto. The crucifix is famous for its slanted shape, which according to legend occurred when it was aboard a royal ship under the attack of a cannonball fire. It is believed that the crucifix miraculously leaned to the side on its own to avoid the fire and has stayed slanted that way since. Another story says the cross was in the ship and was moved to cover a large that would've sunk the ship.
Barcelona Cathedral Architectural Style
The Barcelona Cathedral boasts a one-of-a-kind Gothic (interiors) and neo-Gothic style (the facade reconstructed in the 19th century) of architecture that one could spend hours exploring.
To give you a sense of its vastness - the Cathedral has three naves and a single ambulatory, around 40 chapels embellished with Gothic altarpieces by renowned Catalan artists, and 215 keystones and 200 gargoyles which, in addition to devils, feature an elephant, a bull and a unicorn. While you marvel at the interiors you will notice high ceilings and elongated stained-glass windows illuminating the cathedral, typical of the Gothic style.
Don't forget to make your way to the rooftop and admire the cathedral’s ornate spire, the pinnacles, domes and roof, and the breathtaking view of the city. There are two large bell towers on the ends of the side chapels and 21 bells. Other outstanding features of the church include the high altar and choir with its 15th century carved wooden choir stalls, the Renaissance-style reliefs of scenes from the life of Saint Eulalia in the retrochoir, and the Romanesque chapel of Saint Lucia, dating from the 13th century.
All Your Questions Answered About Barcelona Cathedral
A. Inside the Barcelona Cathedral you’ll find monuments and chapels dedicated to more than 140 saints including Virgin Mary and co-patron Saint of the city, Santa Eulalia. You will also spot has the Crypt of Santa Eulalia in front of the High Alter. The extensive Choir, Chapter Hall Museum and Lepanto’s Chapel are other striking areas of the interiors.
A. The Barcelona Cathedral is built in the Gothic-style of architecture. Its facade however, boasts a neo-Gothic style.
A. The Barcelona Cathedral is made of various types of sandstones and granite as well as reinforced concrete for the naves. Thin masonry timbrel makes up much of the vaulting. Many of interior structures also makes use of marble.
A. Yes, Barcelona Cathedral provide access to the interiors of the house. You can buy Barcelona Cathedral Tickets exclusively on Headout.com.
A. The Barcelona Cathedral was built between 1298 and 1448.
A. The Cathedral Of Barcelona, its facade more specifically, was built by seasoned architects Josep Oriol Mestres and August Font I Carreras between 1885 to 1915.
A. The Cathedral of Barcelona dates back to 500 years.
A. Yes, Barcelona Cathedral tickets are available online, here on Headout.com.