The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is a gorgeous Gothic cathedral in the old centre
of the bustling Catalan city; it is also the seat of the Archbishop of Spain. Construction of the Cathedral began at the end of the 13th century during the reign of King James II of Aragon, and took around 150 years to complete, by which time King Alfonso V ruled the kingdom. It was built on the site where two less regal Christian churches had previously stood; a primitive paleo-Christian temple was replaced by a Romanesque Cathedral in 1058, which was in turn replaced with the majestic Gothic structure we see today.
The Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Eulalia, a young virgin who became a martyr for her faith when she was killed during the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The story goes that she was publicly shamed by being forced to go naked in the streets, but that snow miraculously fell to cover her. She was then put in a barrel which was stuck through with knives and rolled down the street, now called Baixade de Santa Eulalia. Her tomb is in the crypt of the Cathedral.
L’Ou com Balla
Eulalia is also commemorated in the Font de les Oques, a well in the cloister which houses thirteen white geese - the age at which the saint was allegedly martyred. While the structure and internal decoration of the Cathedral were completed by the 15th century, its neo-Gothic façade was added at the end of the 19th century, covering the rather plain original exterior; the roof was also adorned with an impressive range of gargoyles.
Mass is celebrated daily in the Cathedral and the church remains extremely popular with members of the Catholic community today. Visitors of the Cathedral can marvel at its magnificent Gothic art, Baroque altar, splendid choir and the mysterious sepulchre of St. Eulalia. If you are lucky enough to visit during the feast of Corpus Christi, you may see the Catalan tradition of the Dancing Egg - a hollowed egg suspended dancing on the jet of the cloister’s fountain.