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Barcelona churches are abundant, and it should come as no surprise in a Catholic country such as Spain that there are plenty worth visiting. The most famous is the main cathedral in Barcelona, often called La Seu Cathedral. The real name is the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia, the co-patron saint of the city. This striking landmark is the city’s main place of worship and is also a popular tourist attraction. The cathedral is free to visit, but it has an entry fee if you would like to take a tour. The rich decorations of this Cathedral are worth a look along—the gargoyles and stone carvings are very unique in Barcelona.
Many travelers visit the Cathedral in Barcelona for one specific reason. This landmark contains an elevator to the roof, which provides spectacular views over the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. Visiting the cathedral is free, but the elevator only costs an affordable two euros. Travelers with a particular interest in La Seu Cathedral should sign up for a guided tour, at a cost of only four euros. A guided tour includes the choir, tower, rooftop terraces, and museum. These tours are available daily from 1 to 4:30 pm. You can also explore the museum of this cathedral in Barcelona independently if you don’t want to join a tour group.
Beyond the main La Seu Cathedral, there are many Barcelona churches that are also popular with tourists. One example is the Templo de la Sagrada Familia, a massive, privately-funded Catholic church that has been undergoing construction since 1882. A spectacular example of architecture by Antoni Gaudi, who also designed the Casa Batllo and other famous structures in Barcelona, the sheer scale of the church is impressive. In the autumn of 2010, tours and services are scheduled to begin at this church. Often simply called Sagrada Familia, this church is especially striking at night, when it is brilliantly lit.
To see a great example of Catalan Gothic architecture, visit Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar during your trip to Barcelona. Built between 1329 and 1383, it is known for being devoid of the type of imagery that is so often found in other Barcelona churches. There is still plenty for visitors to see, especially on a sunny day when the streaming sunlight highlights the octagonal columns through tall windows. This church is also significant for its stained glass windows that have survived through difficult periods of history in Spain. Musical concerts are sometimes staged in the church, and are a great excuse to take in its beauty.
Another church in Barcelona is Girona Cathedral, with a beautiful baroque façade. Located just north of the city, this cathedral is known for having the widest Gothic nave in the world. Beyond churches, there are plenty of attractions to keep tourists busy in Barcelona. If you’re interested in architecture, check out the many examples of Gaudi’s work. Museums display significant artwork throughout the city and there are great opportunities for shopping or sunbathing. The kids will love Barcelona Zoo or going to an FC Barcelona football match. No matter what your interests are, there is plenty to do and see in Barcelona.
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