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.