In the center of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic district), the heart of Barcelona, is the city’s gothic cathedral, known as La Seu. The first stone of the current church was laid in the 13th century, but it would last until the early 20th century before the cathedral was fully completed.
The church was named after Barcelona’s patron saint Eulalia; its official name – Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia – is Catalan for Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. The commonly used name La Seu refers to the status of the church as the seat of the diocese.
Already in 343 A.D. during the Roman Empire a basilica was built at the site of the current cathedral. In 985 the basilica was destroyed by the Moors. It was replaced by a Roman cathedral, built between 1046 and 1058. A Roman chapel, the Capella de Santa Llucia, was added between 1257 and 1268. It was later incorporated in the cloister next to the cathedral.
30 Years later, in 1298, construction of the gothic cathedral started under King Jaume II, known as ‘the Just’. During the construction of the gothic cathedral, the existing roman building was demolished except for the Santa Llucia chapel.
Due to civil wars and the black death which hit the city several times, the construction only progressed slowly. It took until 1460 before the main building was completed. The gothic facade was finished much later, in 1889 and the last part, the central spire, was completed in 1913. The design of both the facade and the spire were based on the original design from 1408 by the French architect Charles Galters.
The church is 93m/305ft long and 40m wide. The octagonal clock towers reach a height of more than 50m. They were built between 1386 and 1393. The spire of the central tower reaches a height of 70m or 230ft.
The interior consists of one wide nave with 28 side chapels. The crypt contains the sarcophagus of Santa Eulalia. The cathedral also has a beautifully carved choir. An elevator in the northeast of the cathedral brings you to the cathedral’s roof.
The cathedral is located at the Plaça de la Seu, in the Barri Gòtic district.