CHURCHES AND CHAPELS

1. Barcelona Cathedral

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Barcelona’s magnificent Gothic cathedral boasts an eye- catching façade and a peaceful cloister.

2. Església de Santa Maria del Mar

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The elegant church of Santa Maria del Mar (1329–83) is one of the finest examples of Catalan Gothic, a style characterized by simplicity. A spectacular stained-glass rose window illuminates the lofty interior.

3. Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor

prac_info Pl del Tibidabo • 93 417 56 86 • Open 11am–9pm daily • Adm for lifts

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Mount Tibidabo is an appropriate perch for this over-the-top Neo-Gothic church (see Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor), topped with a large golden statue of Christ with arms outstretched. The name Tibidabo comes from the words tibidabo, meaning “I shall give you”, said to have been uttered by the Devil in his temptation of Christ. Zealously serving the devoted, the priest here celebrates the Eucharist throughout the day.

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Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor

4. Església de Sant Pau del Camp

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Founded as a Benedictine monastery in the 9th century by Guifre II, a count of Barcelona, this church was rebuilt the following century. Its sculpted façade and intimate cloister with rounded arches exemplify the Romanesque style (see Església de Sant Pau del Camp).

5. Església de Sant Pere de les Puelles

prac_info Pl de Sant Pere • Open 8:30am–1pm & 5–7:30pm Mon–Fri, 8:30am–1pm & 4:30–7pm Sat, 11am–2pm Sun

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Built in 801 as a chapel for troops stationed in Barcelona, this església later became a spiritual retreat for young noblewomen. The church was rebuilt in the 1100s and is notable for its Romanesque central cupola and a series of capitals with carved leaves. Look out for two stone tablets depicting a Greek cross, which are from the original chapel.

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Rose window, Església de Santa Maria del Mar

6. Capella de Sant Miquel and Església al Monestir de Pedralbes

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Accessed through an arch set in ancient walls, the lovely Monestir de Pedralbes, founded in 1327, still has the air of a closed community. Inside is a Gothic clois-ter and the Capella de Sant Miquel, decorated with murals by Catalan artist Ferrer Bassa in 1346. The adjoining Gothic church contains the alabaster tomb of Queen Elisenda, the monastery’s founder – on the church side, her effigy wears royal robes; on the other, a nun’s habit.

7. Església de Santa Maria del Pi

prac_info Pl del Pi • Open 10am– 6pm daily

Google Map

This lovely Gothic church with its ornate stained-glass windows graces the Plaça del Pi.

8. Capella de Santa Àgata

prac_info Pl del Rei • Open 10am–7pm Tue–Sat, 10am–8pm Sun • Adm (free 3–8pm Sun)

Google Map

Within the beautiful Palau Reial is the medieval Capella de Santa Àgata, which can only be entered as part of a visit to the Museu d’Història de Barcelona. The 15th-century altarpiece is by Jaume Huguet.

9. Capella de Sant Jordi

prac_info Pl Sant Jaume • Guided tours 10:30am–1:30pm second and fourth Sat and Sun of the month; reservations essential

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Inside the Palau de la Generalitat is this fine 15th-century chapel, dedicated to the patron saint of Catalonia.

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Interior of the Església de Betlem

10. Església de Betlem

prac_info C/Xuclà 2 • Open 8:30am–1:30pm & 6–9pm daily

Google Map

La Rambla was once dotted with religious buildings, most built in the 17th and 18th centuries when the Catholic Church was flush with money. This Baroque església is one of the major functioning churches from this period.

TOP 10 CATALAN SAINTS AND VIRGINS

1. Virgin of Montserrat

The famous “Black Virgin” is a patron saint of Catalonia, along with Sant Jordi.

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The famous Virgin of Montserrat

2. Sant Jordi

Catalonia’s patron saint is St George, whose dragon-slaying prowess is depicted all over the city.

3. Virgin Mercè

The Virgin of Mercè became a patron saint of the city in 1687, and shares the honour with Santa Eulàlia. The most raucous festival in town is the popular Festes de la Mercè.

4. Santa Eulàlia

Santa Eulàlia is Barcelona’s co-patron saint (with La Mercè). She was martyred by the Romans in around AD 300.

5. Santa Elena

Legend has it that St Helena converted to Christianity after finding Christ’s cross in Jerusalem in AD 346.

6. Santa Llúcia

The patron saint of eyes and vision is celebrated on 13 December, when the blind come to worship at the Santa Llúcia chapel in Barcelona Cathedral.

7. Sant Cristòfor

Cars are blessed on the feast day of Sant Cristòfor, patron saint of travellers, at a tiny chapel on C/Regomir.

8. Sant Antoni de Padua

On 13 June, those seeking a husband or wife pray to the patron saint of love.

9. Santa Rita

Those searching for miracles pray to Santa Rita, deliverer of the impossible.

10. Sant Joan

The night of St John is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks.

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