CATHEDRAL, Cloister

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Audio File length: 2.38
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English Language: English

Passing through the Romanesque door of St. Severus in white marble, you'll find yourself in the cloister: an oasis of tranquility surrounded by 14th and 15th-century Gothic galleries. This cloister is almost as big as the Cathedral itself and has a beautiful garden with tall palm trees and magnolias, but its main attraction is the unmistakable white geese. If you try to count them, you'll reach the number 13, which is how old St. Eulalia was when she was martyred and was also the number of different kinds of torture she suffered before death.

The geese are treated very well, in fact they have their own pond with a fifteenth-century fountain surmounted by the statue of St. George on horseback! This fountain is completely decorated with flowers for the Feast of Corpus Christi, when an empty eggshell is kept in balance on its jet of water as a symbol of the consecrated host. The tradition of "ou com balla", meaning the "dance of the egg", dates back to the 1700s.

Among the chapels opening up at the sides of the cloister, I'd like to point out the one dedicated to the Verge de la Llum, or our Lady of Light, the patron saint of electricity and plumbing. Another chapel to visit is the one dedicated to the memory of 930 religious citizens (priests, nuns, and monks) who were killed during the Spanish Civil War. It's near the Chapel of Saint Lucia, which wasn't incorporated in the Cathedral until later, and was a structure in its own right in the beginning. In fact, walking around the Cathedral's exterior, you may have noticed that the chapel has its own entrance from the street, with a beautiful façade enlivened by semicircular arches. This Chapel is also called "of the virgins" because besides being the protector of sight, the Saint also protects single girls.

You can visit the Cathedral Museum located right next to the Chapel of Santa Lucia: it has a fine collection of altarpieces and religious paintings including a special Pietà by Bartolomé Bermejo, one of the great masters of 15th-century Spanish art.

 

FUN FACT: an ancient legend links the Cathedral's origins to a miraculous episode. The legend says that the beautiful daughter of the count of Barcelona was raped and murdered at the age of thirteen by a possessed hermit, but returned to life after receiving the sacraments. Upon opening her eyes, she told the count that a church had to be built in that exact place.

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