I can’t decide if bars or Catholic churches are easier to find

Given what I’d learned about the Spanish Inquisition in history class, I knew that Spain was a country with strong Catholic roots. However, I didn’t realize how prevalent Catholicism was until I arrived in Salamanca and found out that nearly all of the must-see buildings are either churches or convents. The main tourist attraction of Salamanca is its cathedral, which is actually composed of two separate cathedrals, the Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral. Although I like how the cathedral’s beauty demonstrates the devotion the builders had for God, it unsettles me that the cathedral seems to be a tourist attraction rather than a house of worship; one has to pay 10€ to enter if not attending mass, and tourists can walk around the Church while mass is going on. I understand that many churches around the world (or at least around Europe) require admission fees, and probably use the fees for maintenance, but it seems wrong that people should pay to enter God’s house. Additionally, by making people pay to enter, it makes the cathedral seem like a commercial institution rather than a religious one. As a consequence, I associate the cathedrals with museums and palaces — places that strive to preserve history in an ever-advancing world — and I don’t think the Catholic Church should become a thing of the past, appreciated solely for its elaborate buildings.

Rose window in the cathedral of San Sebastián
View of the Old and New Cathedral, Salamanca
Bell tower of the cathedral, Salamanca
View of the cathedrals from across the river, Salamanca
My friend Sabrina and me in front of the cathedral, Segovia
One of the chapels in the cathedral, Segovia
One of the many churches in Porto, Portugal
Interior of a church where a wedding was taking place, Porto
One of the many churches in Salamanca