Girona Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Girona Cathedral

GRN, Catalonia, Spain

Girona Cathedral is famed for its nave, the widest of its kind in the world.

Image Credit: Vladimir Sazonov /

About Girona Cathedral

Girona Cathedral (Catedral De Girona) is a Roman Catholic church located in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. The Cathedral is best known for its vast nave, being the widest Gothic nave in the world.

Having been built and altered over a period spanning from the 11th to the 18th centuries, Girona Cathedral blends a variety of styles, including Romanesque, Baroque and, of course, Gothic.

History of Girona Cathedral

The cathedral is built located in the highest point of Girona on the site of a primitive Christian church, which existed there before the Islamic conquest of Iberia, at which point it was converted into a mosque, in 717 AD. After the Franks reconquered the city under Charlemagne in 785 AD, it was eventually reconsecrated in 908 AD.

In 1015, the church was in poor condition, and was restored by Bishop Peter Roger. The Romanesque church and its cloister was therefore built in 1064 AD, with the bell tower being completed in 1117 AD.

A larger Gothic complex was redesigned by Pere Sacoma in 1312, but only started in 1416 after nearly a century of indecisiveness. The result is a 23m long Gothic nave, which is the widest Gothic nave in the world, and the second-widest nave of all styles after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The church boasts a Baroque exterior, which was begun in 1606 and completed in 1961, preceded by a large staircase which was completed in 1607.

Other features include the Gothic portal of St. Michael, and the southern portico of the Apostles, from the 14th century.

The church has two bell towers. The oldest, named after Charlemagne, was started in the 11th century. The second was started in 1590 and completed in the 18th century.

Inside, the high altar in white marble dates to the 11th century. The cathedral’s main attraction, however, is the Tapestry of Creation, an 11th or 12th century piece considered to be amongst the master works of Romanesque tapestry.

Girona Cathedral Today

Visitors today can enjoy Girona Cathedral’s resplendent interior and number of precious artworks. It is free to enter for children under 7, members of religious orders, and residents of Girona. It is otherwise 5 or 7 Euros, which includes the nave, treasury and cloister, as well as the Basilica of Sant Feliu. There is also a regular Mass schedule.

Getting to Girona Cathedral

Girona Cathedral is a 15 minute walk by foot from the centre of Girona, primarily along the Joan Maragall road. By car, it takes around 10 minutes along the Carne road. There is also a bus schedule that departs every 4 minutes from the centre of Girona – the L1, L2, L5, and L11 – that takes around 15 minutes.