The imposing building of the cathedral of Girona
hides numerous Romanesque treasures.
Constructed in the Romanesque style, the cathedral was first consecrated
in 1038. As was the case with the majority of religious buildings it was overlaid with other styles
during different constructive stages.
To find the traits of Romanesque architecture we must visit the cloister
and from there, look to the ancient bell tower
, also known as the “Tower of Charlemagne”. Nor can we leave the building without taking a look at what is known as the “Treasure of the cathedral”, where we find the magnificent Tapestry of Creation
Dating to the second half of the 12th century, the cloister
of the cathedral of Girona is one of the most interesting of the Catalan Romanesque style given its sculptural richness.
We find high-quality sculptures in its 122 capitals and in the decorated friezes
that encircle the pillars. The sculpted stone displays historiographical scenes from the Old
and New Testament
, isolated scenes with humans and animals, and finally, purely decorative flora and geometric motifs. Amongst the most prominent representations, we can take note of the Anastasis
or the descent of Christ into Hell, in the southern gallery, or many episodes dedicated to Noah
and of the Flood, in the western gallery.
The other Romanesque architectural element found in the cathedral of Girona is the ancient 11th century bell tower
. It can be compared in significance to that of Sant Miquel de Cuixà and Sant Pere de Vic. Originally sporting a square floor plan and seven floors in height, it presented all of the elements of Lombard bell towers of the 11th century: pilasters
, blind arches
, and saw tooth friezes
as the decorative elements, along with double windows
(two per floor) with semi-circular aches. Built in two phases, the third floor features arches and friezes made of black volcanic rock that distinguishes them.
The Tapestry of Creation
is an almost one-of-a-kind piece in the world only equalled in artistic and historic value
by the Tapestry of Bayeux
(11th century). This medieval "portrait” of Creation illustrates the origin of the sky and of the earth as they were conceived in the end of the 11th century. As the Tapestry of Creation doesn't appear in any cloth inventories that were made in the Cathedral of Girona
, its origin is not known for certain. Nevertheless, it seems certain that 12 square meters religious decorative scarf was made in Girona at the end of the 11th century
in an embroidery workshop using Needle painting. Nowadays the Tapestry of Creation, together with the Beat of Girona
, is one of the most notable elements of the Treasure collection
The Cathedral of Girona is part of the ‘Romanesque weekend: from Montseny to Garrotxa
Authors of the photographs: Bob Masters and Josep Giribet.