Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona Overview

The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar in Ribera, Barcelona is a 14th century Christian church notable for its fine Catalan Gothic Architecture. This church is symbolic of the medieval maritime power of the House of Barcelona and stands today as a spectacular example of Catalan Gothic architecture. Its popularity soared high after local authors brought the church into the spotlight with their works. Santa Maria del Mar is a delight to visit with the breathtaking views and interesting history.

Barcelona’s Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar dates back to the 990s with the mention of a Santa Maria church near the Mediterranean Sea and was previously an ancient Roman cemetery till the 6th century. The construction of the church began on 25th March 1329 with Beren-guer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig as the architects and was completed almost 55 years later. This basilica is regarded to be the finest example of Catalan Gothic Architecture till date and has turned into a much-desired wedding spot in recent times.

Santa Maria del Mar has also witnessed its share of misfortunes with fires, earthquakes and riots during the Spanish Civil War. The exterior of the church is bounded by narrow streets which makes it almost impossible to get a sweeping view of the building and gives a deceiving impression of the interior design. The interior of the basilica is sober and light with the central nave and the side aisles separated by the octagonal pillars. The Rose window is perhaps the most stunning and famed artwork present in the church which was previously destroyed in the Catalonia earthquake of 1428 and was later restored in 1459. The interior of the church is almost free from imagery unlike the other Gothic structures in Barcelona and the roots of this can be traced back in history, even before its desecration by the locals during the Spanish Civil War. The high rise ceiling and the darkened walls of the Basilica were an aftermath of the fire of 1936   to the mysterious charm of this Gothic church.

The beauty of the neighbourhood can be admired by the tourists from the rooftops on the guided tours along with information on the history of the basilica and the city of La Ribera. These tours take you to the main basilica, galleries, the museum and the crypt. The music recitals are another attraction at this place which are often classical or baroque.

Read More on Santa Maria del Mar

How to Reach the Santa Maria del Mar

Metro: The nearest metro stations are Jaume I and Barceloneta on the yellow line 4.

Bus: Bus services are also available for a visit to this place with bus numbers 17, 19, 40 and 45.

History of Santa Maria del Mar

The site of this Basilica was previously a Roman necropolis in early times, which was discovered during the excavations under the church in the 1960s. Santa Maria del Mar was constructed to honour and mark the naval supremacy of the city in the medieval times. This church has since faced misfortunes  and desecration with the breakout of a fire in 1379, the Catalonia earthquake of 1428 which destroyed the large rose window and the most recent of all, the Spanish Civil War in 1936 during which the church was on fire for 11 days and destroyed the images, ornate designs and the Baroque altar of the basilica.

Architecture of Santa Maria del Mar

The architectural influence of Santa Maria del Mar can be seen in the structure of La Sagrada Familia, which is another popular tourist spot in Barcelona. The simplicity of the interior of “Cathedral of La Ribera” or Santa Maria del Mar is however not to be looked down upon and rather to be admired for its grand impression. It also housed two Catalan musical instruments – the Big Organ and the Small Organ which went up in smoke during the Spanish Civil War. This beautiful basilica has become a popular tourist spot with its recent feature in the works of local authors like Ildefonso Falcones who wrote Cathedral of the Sea and Carlos Ruiz Zafon who wrote The Angel’s Game.

Barcelona Packages

Compare quotes from upto 3 travel agents for free

Top Hotels In Barcelona

Top Hotels Near Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar Reviews

Your rating

Have a Question on Santa Maria del Mar?