Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

Interior of the cathedral
Photo by: Jorge Lascar Creative Commons

The beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is a gothic cathedral in downtown Barcelona, Spain that houses the Archbishop of Barcelona.


The cathedral that stands right now was built on ground that has housed religious buildings for many centuries. The construction for it started in the 13th century and was completed nearly two centuries later. The king at the time was Alfonso V of Aragon and the Bishop was Francisco Clemente Sapera. The building was slightly renovated in the early 20th century after a contest was held.

The Architecture of the Cathedral

The cathedral is distinctly gothic in style. When first making construction plans, it was not seen as a totally new building, but rather an addition to the roman cathedral that was already there. The renovation was done in different times without ever demolishing the place of worship. In fact, Barcelona citizens would still go there to worship even during the years when construction was happening.

The cathedral has three naves but only one apse and ambulatory. The naves are divided into sections. The section that is closest to the facade is the longest. This is so there is enough space for the cimborio. This is a dome built specifically over the crossing of Gothic cathedrals. The architecture allowed for small, secondary chapels to be opened in the cathedral. There are two bell towers. They are octagonal and the stairways are built into the towers.

The Organ

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is impressive, but visitors should remember to take the organ into consideration. This beautiful organ still accompanies the services. The organ is an incredibly important part of the Cathedral and the tradition of Barcelona itself.

It is located in a nave under the bell tower. The organ was built in the 1530’s and the covers, which are windchest, are also decorated in monochrome by Pedro Pablo Serafin. The organ was restored as recently as 1994. The organ has also made it possible for the cathedral to hold popular organ concerts every month.

Commemorating Virgin Mary and the Saints

There are many dedications to saints at the cathedral. The Virgin Mary is the most represented one, as she normally is in Catholic churches. The representation is followed by Saint Eulalia and the Archangels. There are many other saints commemorated here, for instance, there is a group of sculptures dedicated to the victims of religious persecution.

Saint Eulalia’s crypt is perhaps the most well-known part of the cathedral. This beautiful tomb is Gothic with some Romanesque touches. Although the sculptor’s name is not known, we do know that their city of origin was Pisa. Behind the Gothic tomb is the original tomb of Saint Eulalia. This was found in the year 878 by bishop Frodoino in Santa Maria del Mar Cemetery.

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