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(English) Barcelona Cathedral, the Gothic jewel in Barcelona’s crown

By | 27 August, 2018 | 0 comments

The city of Barcelona holds a treasure trove of invaluable jewels, all belonging to different moments in time that hint at the city’s rich origins and vibrant past. One such treasure is Barcelona Cathedral, a Gothic gem in the form of an impressive temple of worship that holds some amazing hidden secrets.

Catedral de Barcelona

Known as the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia, Barcelona Cathedral has tended to live in the shadows of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, despite its significant cultural and historical prestige. Its origins can be felt in this imposing 15th century temple – work having begun in the 13th century – built on the site of a Roman cathedral, as well as a Visigoth church. It is a perfect reflection of the various architectural styles of the time and a visit here is a real journey through some surprising and exhilarating parts of the city’s past.


On the building’s exterior, gargoyles draw your attention with their macabre appearance. Besides depicting some terrific animals, including unicorns, sorcerers, evil spirits and elephants, they also serve as water fountains, transporting rainwater down from the rooftops. At Plaza Sant Lu, on Calle delsComtes, you can see one of the most unusual and enigmatic doors in the city. Despite being located around the third-floor level, the door simply leads to a void. The explanation for this somewhat unusual feature can be found in the remains of the façade, where a bridge once stood that connected different parts of the cathedral together. The King would walk directly to the temple by crossing the bridge, avoiding the need to walk down amongst the townspeople.


Walking into the cathedral, you immerse yourself in one of the real icons of Catalan Gothic architecture, discovering a haven of tranquillity and religious peace that shelters a whole host of secrets and hidden treasures. The site guards numerous precious artefacts, such as the wooden choir stalls, the Santa Eulalia crypt, as well as the cloisters, where the central piece is home to a garden of magnolias and palm trees. But if there’s one thing that’s sure to capture your attention, it’s not the grandeur of the trees, but rather the pond and its 13 white geese, with a number of different legends explaining their presence. The first goes back to the time when the cathedral was being built, when there was a guardian in charge of protecting the site who kept geese. Their squawking would warn of the presence of any intruders, reducing the chances of the temple being robbed. From then on, the geese’s hard work earned them sanctuary for life. Other stories claim that the 13 geese represent the 13 martyrs who begged Santa Eulalia for forgiveness having renounced their faith during Roman times. Another enclave you simply must see is the fountain of Sant Jordi slaying a dragon, which can be found in the central courtyard. It is tradition to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish.

Visits depend on the cathedral’s opening hours, as well as the time of day and year you wish to explore the site. At HCC Hotels, we can help with everything you need to know about exploring this ancient site, as well as all the hidden treasures in this jewel of Gothic Catalan architecture.

Categories: barcelona

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