Cathedral of Santa Eulalia

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Catalan: Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, Spanish: Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia), also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. The cathedral was constructed throughout the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The cloister, which encloses the Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) was completed about 1450. The neo-Gothic façade was constructed over the nondescript exterior that was common to Catalan churches in the 19th century. The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical.

The cathedral was constructed over the crypt of a former Visigothic chapel, dedicated to Saint James, which was the proprietary church of the Viscounts of Barcelona, one of whom, Mir Geribert, sold the site to Bishop Guislebert in 1058. Its site faced the Roman forum of Barcelona.

It is a hall church, vaulted over five aisles, the outer two divided into chapels. The transept is truncated. The east end is a chevet of nine radiating chapels connected by an ambulatory. The high altar is raised, allowing a clear view into the crypt.

The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city. One story says that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street (according to tradition, the one now called 'Baixada de Santa Eulalia'). The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt.

The choir stalls retain the coats-of-arms of the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. In his first trip into Spain, Charles, the future Holy Roman Emperor, selected Barcelona as the site of a chapter of his Order. The king had arrived for his investiture as Count of Barcelona, and the city, as a Mediterranean port, offered the closest communication with other far-flung Habsburg dominions, while the large proportions of the cathedral would accommodate required grand ceremonies. In 1518 the Order's herald, Thomas Isaac, and its treasurer, Jean Micault, were commissioned to prepare the sanctuary for the first sitting of the chapter in 1519. Juan de Borgonya executed the painted decoration of the sanctuary.

One side chapel is dedicated to "Christ of Lepanto", and contains a cross from a ship that fought at the Battle of Lepanto (1571). Catalan legend states that during the battle, the corpus suddenly and miraculously shifted to the right to avoid being hit by a cannonball, a miraculous sign from God that the Ottomans would be defeated.

The cathedral has a secluded Gothic cloister where 13 white geese are kept, the number explained by the assertion that Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred.

A programme of cleaning and restoration of the cathedral was carried out in 1968-72.


  • The tradition of the 'Dancing egg' is maintained on the day of Corpus Christi at the cathedral.


  • Cathedral plan

  • Door in the cloister

  • Chapels

  • Santa Eulàlia's Crypt

  • Cloister

  • Geese in the cloister

  • Choir seats at the Cathedral

  • The Fountain in the Atrium of the Santa Eulalia

  • The Cathedral garden

  • Gargoyle

  • Tomb of Saint Raymond of Penyafort

  • Scale model of the cathedral, at the Catalunya en Miniatura park