The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona is the most famous church in the city. The construction of this monumental building lasted over 400 years.
The construction started in the 14th century, however, the vault was only completed in the 18th century. The nave has a width of 23 m and a height of 34 m. This makes it the widest Gothic nave in the world and behind St. Peter’s Basilica the second widest overall.
The decision to build only one nave took 600 years. 7 out of 12 architects were against it, but one assumes that the bishop had taken the final decision. A lower tower on the side, the Tower of Charlemagne, characterized by mullioned windows, serves as support.
In addition to the architecture that inspires, a inside a treasure vault chest inside houses the Creation Tapestry. This masterpiece of medieval art is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe.
One feels small when standing in front of a Gothic cathedral. This was also the intention of the builders. We enter the church building by a mighty gate and have our eyes get adapted to the diffuse light.
The view is attracted by the altar with its precious canopy. Only when the eye wanders around, you perceive the dimensions of room.
In the side niches are precious altars. The visitor has to switch on the light, so that some are lying in the dark.
Our wonderful guide Gloria from Girona Tourism from has prepared a surprise for us. We are invited to an exclusive visit to the church roof. To this, however, we must climb some exhausting stairs first. But we are rewarded with an unusual sight, the nave from above.
A tour allows us the view from different perspectives. However, the parapet wall in the niche is not too high, so you have to take care while filming or taking photos. From this perspective the visitors of the cathedral appear tiny. One is closer to the fine stained glass windows, fitted with Christian motifs.
On the lower roof we step out into the open. About bulge the support structures that absorb the enormous weight of the cross vault. Above us, the supporting constructions which absorb the enormous weight of the cross vault. We have a beautiful view of the castle garden and the inner cloister, which is trapezoidal in shape due of the city walls.
Our attention is turned towards a sculpture which horizontally juts out from the church wall. According to one of the legends of Girona, she was allegedly a witch, who always threw stones on the cathedral. Therefore she was transformed into stone and serves as a gargoyle with the face down, so that she can never see the sky again.
But it still goes higher. After further narrow stairs we reach the attic storey, about 25 m above the church ground.
Through small holes you can look into the nave. We trust the master builder. And we go up once again and reach the bells in the steeple.
We experience a stroke of a bell from the next proximity. The panoramic view from here is tremendous. It’s probably the most beautiful views across Girona. We cannot get enough of it.
But time is pressing and we descend again. In the chapter hall of the cathedral, the treasury is housed. Greatest treasure is the
Creation Tapestry – Tapiz de la Creación
It represents God in the middle of the radially arranged Genesis. But also the contrasts masculine and female, light and darkness and the timing. The carpet was presumably created in 1100.
Another preciousness is the Beatus of Girona. This is an illustrated handwriting of the Apocalypse. It is the masterpiece of the scriptorium of San Salvador de Tábara and originates from the 10th century.
We leave the cathedral through the main entrance and admire the baroque facade and grand staircase.
Disclosure : We were kindly invited by Girona Tourism. Many thanks for it! All impressions and opinions are our own and were not influenced by this!
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