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Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

About Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

Get the inside scoop on Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar from local experts, travel creators, and tastemakers. Browse genuine trip notes, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar reviews, photos, travel guides, and itineraries from real travelers and plan your trip with confidence.

What people say

"Santa Maria del Mar is the only surviving church in the pure Catalan Gothic Style. It was astonishingly constructed in the short time frame of 55 years from 1329 to 1384 meaning that architectural styles from different centuries weren’t allowed to impact on its design. It’s definitely a rare historic example where you can experience the meaning of pure Gothic! The grand structure hems the narrow winding streets of the El Born neighbourhood in the Ribera district of the city, with the site originally being a Roman necropolis. Also known as ‘Saint Mary of the Sea’ the church was a place of worship for ship builders and merchants in late medieval Barcelona. It was designed by two architects, Berenguer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig, and although they oversaw the work, the local residents should also be credited, with many pouring all of their efforts into constructing the church. As you enter you will be amazed by the architectural harmony, purity and symmetry, which this beautiful church displays. The structure is formed of three naves, soaring octagonal columns and glistening stained glass windows, which create a sublime sense of serenity to the interior. The church is extremely impressive in its scale and design and it remarkably managed to survive through an earthquake in 1428, which led to the great rose window needing to be replaced in the mid 15th century. In addition, it also survived being set alight for 11 days by anti-clerical rioters at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, which caused many of its decorative pieces and altar to be destroyed. Shockingly, if you look up to the roof you can still see the black soot marks that remain from the fire. If you turn your gaze to the floor, you will also find numerous skull and crossbones, which mark the private tombs of those who were part of Barcelona’s medieval guilds and brotherhoods. Interestingly it is said the basilica was what inspired Gaudí to build La Sagrada Familia and you can definitely note comparisons between the incredible height of the columns and large areas of stained glass windows, creating a vast sense of space and unity in its design. Tip: Climb up to the rooftop to cast your gaze upon the medieval network of streets below and enjoy seeing the city from a different perspective. "
"See Santa Maria del Mar Made famous by the book "The Cathedral of the Sea" and the consequent TV series, it is, in fact, one of the most spectacular churches in the city. Despite the title of the book, it is not a true Cathedral but was considered the answer of the "middle" class to the Gothic Cathedral, financed mostly by the aristocracy. Started around the same time, to see Santa Maria del Mar finished it took 54 years, for the Cathedral it took centuries. Curiosity: the church still belongs to the the parish and is one of the very few examples of original Catalan Gothic that can be found in Barcelona."
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"A jewel of Catalan Gothic architecture nestled in Barcelona’s El Born district. Built in the 14th century, this basilica captivates with its grandeur and maritime influences, offering visitors a glimpse into Barcelona’s medieval past. It is also known as “The people’s cathedral”, as the locals helped the construction. Free entrance: Every weekday after 18.30 and every Sunday"

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