The Cathedral of Girona, situated in the old quarter of the city of Girona (in Catalonia, Spain), stands as a testament to the region’s rich cultural and religious heritage. With its imposing stature, this cathedral holds the distinction of being the widest Gothic cathedral in the world, adding to its allure for history enthusiasts and aficionados of architectural marvels.
Throughout its history, the city has undergone 25 sieges and has been captured at least seven times. All these sieges and invasions have helped create Girona’s epic history, although separating legend from truth is often difficult. Much care has been taken to preserve its rich heritage, and the city has been sensibly rebuilt repeatedly. In fact, since much (or most) of the Barri Vell (the “Old Quarter”) has been properly preserved, film productions have used it as a filming location. Fans of Game of Thrones will be glad to know that much of “King’s Landing” is Girona’s medieval city.
The construction of the Girona Cathedral commenced in the 11th century and continued over several centuries – as was often the case with these constructions. The result of this prolonged process is a captivating fusion of architectural styles: elements of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque designs can be seen all over the church – a stunning visual representation of the evolving architectural trends throughout history.
An impressive feature that captivates visitors upon arrival is the monumental staircase, known as the Great Staircase of Girona. This grand entrance leads to the cathedral’s main façade, adorned with meticulously carved stone reliefs and sculptures.
Upon entering the cathedral, visitors are greeted by a breathtaking interior adorned with soaring arches, ornate chapels, and magnificent stained-glass windows. The nave, with its lofty vaulted ceilings and massive yet elegant columns, stands out as a testament to architectural excellence.
The cathedral also houses a captivating collection of religious artifacts and artwork, including the famed Tapestry of Creation – originally the baldachin for the altar of the Holy Cross in the cathedral (although some think it might have been used as a curtain, or even as a carpet), the tapestry is a Romanesque panel of needlework from the 11th century minutely embroidered with a series of theological scenes depicting the biblical cycles of Creation and (to a certain extent) Redemption.
Adding to its grandeur, the Girona Cathedral boasts a towering bell tower known as the “Torre de les Ànimes” –the Tower of the Souls. Rising to a height of 69 meters (226 feet), it offers panoramic vistas of the city and the surrounding landscape. Ascending the tower’s narrow spiral staircase is a memorable experience, rewarding visitors with a breathtaking panorama of Girona and its picturesque countryside.
Today, the Girona Cathedral remains an active place of worship. Its cultural and historical importance, combined with its stunning architecture and distinction as the widest Gothic cathedral in the world, make it an integral part of Christian European heritage.