Except for the façade – built at the end of the 19th century in a neogothic style – the rest of the building dates from between the 12th and the 15th century and is in a Gothic style. Inside there are three naves that are worth pointing out for their sheer size and height thanks to the slim pillars that are typical of Catalan Gothic architecture.
Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Seu (See), is dedicated to the Holy Cross and to Saint Eulàlia, the patron saint of Barcelona. From the small square of Pla of la Seu we can see the most modern part, the façade, which was built at the end of the 19th century in neo-Gothic style by Josep Oriol Mestres and August Font, based on drawings from the 15th century. It is highly ornamented, with gargoyles, intricate stonework and a dome.
The rest of the building was begun at the end of the 13th century, during the Romanesque period, but was completed in the 15th century, and the predominant style is Gothic. The exterior, apart from the façade, is plain, with no other ornamentation than the vertical buttresses and octagonal towers.
Inside, there are three large naves of almost the same height, that are notable for their sense of space and height, thanks to the fine pillars, characteristic of Catalan Gothic.
The cathedral is one of the few churches not broken into by the Anarchists during the Spanish Civil War, so that a large part of its interior decoration is original.
One of the side chapels is dedicated to Christ of Lepanto, with a beautiful star-shaped vault to a height of twenty metres. Here, the cross of the Juan of Àustria galley, the flagship of the fleet that fought the battle of Lepanto in 1571, is kept. The wooden figure shows a crucified Christ leaning to the right, a movement that, according to legend, he made to avoid canon fire during the battle.
Also of interest are the crypt of Saint Eulàlia and the Santa Llúcia chapel. There is a lift to the roof of the cathedral, from where there is an excellent view of the narrow streets forming the Gothic quarter.
The door of Sant Iu (Saint Eulalia), a fine example Catalan Gothic, opens onto the cloister, a pleasant place, full of trees, with a pond with thirteen geese. There are always the same number of geese, symbolizing Saint Eulalia’s age when she was martyred, being executed for professing the Christian faith.
In the middle of the garden there is a figure of Saint George and a water fountain, where, during the celebration of Corpus Christi, the ancient tradition is practised of " ou como balla" ("how the egg dances") consisting of placing an egg over the fountain and seeing how it dances moved by the water.
Right in front of the cathedral, in the little square of Pla of la Seu, traditional Catalan sardana dancing is usually performed on Saturdays and Sundays, and in the month of December the traditional Santa Llúcia Fair is held as part of the Christmas festivities.