Catedral de Girona

Top choice in Girona

Side portal of Girona Cathedral, Catalonia, Spain, 14th-17th century

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Towering over a flight of 86 steps rising from Plaça de la Catedral, Girona's imposing cathedral is far more ancient than its billowing baroque facade suggests. Built over an old Roman forum, parts of its foundations date from the 5th century. Today, 14th-century Gothic styling – added over an 11th-century Romanesque church – dominates, though a beautiful, double-columned Romanesque cloister dates from the 12th century. With the world's second-widest Gothic nave, it's a formidable sight to explore, but audio guides are provided.

Highlights include the richly carved fantastical beasts and biblical scenes in the cloister's southern gallery, and a 14th-century silver altarpiece, studded with gemstones, portraying 16 scenes from the life of Christ. Also seek out the bishop's throne and the museum, which holds the masterly Romanesque Tapís de la creació (Tapestry of the Creation); dating from the 11th or 12th century, the tapestry shows God surrounded by the creation of Adam, Eve, the animals, the sky, light and darkness. There is also a Mozarabic illuminated Beatus manuscript, dating from 975.