Church on Sunday: La Seu, Barcelona
It’s a cold and snowy day in Belgrade, so let’s warm up by looking at sunny photos of The Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia (called “La Seu”) in Barcelona, Spain. The Cathedral is named after the patron Saint of Barcelona, Saint Eualia, who was martyred during the Roman Empire’s persecution of Christians from 303-311. “La Seu” refers to the Cathedral’s place as the seat of the diocese. And is obviously a lot easier to say.
Walking to La Seu is an adventure in itself. It’s located in the Gothic Quarter, an area designed with twisting, narrow streets lined with shops and high, stone walls.
Eventually, these streets open up to La Seu with great effect.
Construction started in 1298, with the builders incorporating a Roman Chapel that was built between 1257-1268. Most of the work was done in the 14th Century but (according to some reports) wasn’t completed until 1913. Makes the Sagrada Familia seem like a rush job, doesn’t it? In any case, it was worth the wait. The entrance is impressive- a massive, high hallway with 28 side chapels and a choir in the middle of the hallway.
But the best part of La Seu is when the dark, gothic building gives way to a light-filled cloister with gardens, a drinking fountain, and geese.
These geese have been kept here for 500 years. There’s no clear reason why; explanations range from tradition to symbolism. Whatever the reasons, there is an evident love for animals here. The cloister also featured pheasant-looking birds in a coop, and animal gargoyles line the high cloister walls.
Finally, the church allows visitors to ride an elevator to the roof for a view of the Gothic Quarter and beyond. From there, you can see the architectural history of Barcelona from the gothic quarter to the Agbar Tower.
I thought La Seu was going to be a “typical” Cathedral, but I could not have been more wrong. Its combination of history, architecture, vistas and animal husbandry are as unique as the Catalan region itself.