Barcelona Cathedral, Spain

Properly known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, there was a chapel on this spot overlooking the Roman Forum of Barcelona since the period of Visigoth rule. Saint Eulalia was a local virgin girl who was supposed to have had her clothes removed in the main square of Barcelona during the Roman period and had her modesty rescued by a mid-spring fall of miraculous snow. However, this did not appease the Romans who put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled her down a nearby hill – thus martyring her. Her body is now entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral.

Construction of the church began around 1058, although the vast majority of the work dates to the 13th to 15th Centuries. Like many Catalan churches the construction work was plainly unadorned and it remained that way until the 19th Century when a neo-Gothic exterior was erected over the original to bring it into line with the more fanciful school of architecture that existed at this point.

The Cathedral has a Gothic cloister in which 13 white geese are kept. These represent the 13 years of life that Saint Eulalia had before her martyrdom.

In the late 1960s the Cathedral underwent a program of cleaning and restoration and today it is one of Barcelona’s great buildings.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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