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Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia (Barcelona, Spain)

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Santa Eulàlia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain.

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      04.08.2012 14:52
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      A beautiful cathedral in the centre of Barcelona.

      When visiting Barcelona, a visit to the amazing La Sagrada Familia (The Unfinished Church) is a must and whilst it is a stunning piece of architecture attracting thousands of visitors on a daily basis, there are also a number of other buildings well worthy of a visit whilst you are in the city.
      One of these is the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia ,also known as Barcelona Cathedral, a magnificent cathedral dedicated to a 13 year old girl local girl from the Roman Times.
      The cathedral stands in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona which runs adjacent to the famous La Rambla street with its stalls, artists and street entertainers.

      ~~~The story of Eulàlia~~~

      The story of Eulàlia is one of the famous stories from Barcelona's past. Eulàlia was a 13 year old girl living in Barcelona during the Roman rule around 300AD. Holding strong Christian beliefs, she was persecuted for her faith in asserting that Jesus Christ was the Son of God during the reign of Emperor Diocletian.
      Eulàlia refused to deny or give up her Christian beliefs and was subjected to 13 tortures by the Romans.
      It is stated that she was placed in a barrel by the Romans who then stuck knives into it and rolled it down a street and also that she was exposed naked in the public square, but a miraculous snowfall in mid spring covered her nudity.
      Despite these tortures, Eulàlia did not die, however she was eventually crucified on an X shaped cross and her head cut off. Itis said that as she died, a white dove flew out from her body, representing the Holy Spirit.
      Eulàlia is the co-patron saint of Barcelona and is commemorated throughout the city. This beautiul Cathedral is dedicated to her and the body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt.

      ~~~The Cathedral~~~

      Standing majestically in front of a large square courtyard, the cathedral appears suddenly as you round a corner leading to the square and it is a truly magnificent sight.
      I love to visit cathedrals and churches and this cathedral is as beautiful and majestic as the other churches I have visited in Barcelona, both the aforementioned La Sagrada Familia and also the Church of the Sacred Heart which stands at the top of Tibidabo looking over the city.
      Although a church has stood on this site since those early days of Christianity, it was1298 when work started on the gothic building that stands there today and it was not actually completed until the mid-15th century, although the main tower was not added until later in the 19th century, but was completed to the original 15th century gothic design.
      Much of the delay with the early building, was caused by the civil war which devastated a lot of the city and also the Black Death in 1348 when over one third of the city's population died.

      From the outside, the building is an amazing structure and as I walked around the perimeter I noticed more detail such as the gargoyles of animals, some of which are mythical, on the roof.
      I spent some time wandering around the outside, from the large square to the front, to the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter to the side and rear, there is plenty to appreciate.
      A set of steps lead up to the doors at the entrance to the cathedral. It was early afternoon when I visited and there was no admission charge, so I presumed that entry to this cathedral is free. I have since read however, that at certain parts of the day there is a charge to enter the cathedral and this is something which causes complaint, but I cannot really comment further on this as when I visited there was no charge and nor did I notice any information about an admission charge.

      The one thing I must mention however, is that if you are wearing shorts, a skirt above the knees, a vest top, or indeed any other top which leaves the shoulders bare, you will not be allowed admission inside the cathedral. This also applies to men too if they are wearing vest tops and shorts and at the top of the steps there is a sign depicting what is and what isn't acceptable to wear when visiting inside the cathedral.
      This was something which caused a great deal of disappointment to many of the visitors on the day I visited, with the vast majority it seemed being turned away by a surly looking guard on the door. It was a blistering hot day and of course many tourists weren't going to be covered up and so were left disappointed when finding out they could not gain access to the cathedral. Fortunately I have visited Barcelona before and was aware of this condition of admission, having been unable to gain access myself on a previous visit.
      This isn't a rule which appiles to all churches, cathedrals and religious buildings in Spain, indeed I have been inside the Sacred Heart Church and the Basillica up on Montserrat and nobody was turned away, but because of the ruling here at this cathedral, then this is something you should maybe check out beforehand when planning to visit any religious building to ensure you are not left disappointed when you discover you cannot gain access.
      Inside the cathedral is as beautiul as the outside and as you enter the Nave, you find it is surrounded by 25 individual chapels, each dedicated to a different saint. each saint has their own story which makes for some fascinating reading. One of the most impressive being the chapel dedicated to the Christ of Lepanto which depicts the figure of Christ being crucified. The figure has a slightly odd pose which is said to be down to the fact that legend states that the figure, which was taken from aboard a ship that fought in the famous sea Battle of Lapanto in 1571, had shifted slightly to the right to avoid an incoming cannonball, thus creating the slightly strange pose we see today.

      Below the altar, steps lead down to the crypt which house the sarcophagus of Santa Eulàlia. The panels on the side inform of her tragic story.
      One of the highlights of my visit was the beautiful Gothic cloisters where I was surprised to discover 13 geese wandering around this tranquil garden area with its pond and assorted trees. The 13 geese represent one for each year of Santa Eulàlia's short life. What a lovely tribute!

      If visiting Barcelona, then I highly recommend a visit to the cathedral of Santa Eulàlia. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and finding out the story of Eulàlia. If you are visiting Barcelona then don't just visit La Sagrada Familia, make sure you stop off at the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia too.

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