Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

Basilica Santa Maria del Mar

This marvelous example of the Gothic architecture is situated in La Ribera ("the seashore") quarter. But there is much more to that seaside connection. It was named "del mar" ("of the sea") in honor of the Aragonese conquest of Sardinia by king Alfonso IV, the main battles of which took place in the sea, and also to praise Saint Mary of the Sea, the patron saint of sailors. The temple, which underwent some changes during the ages, was founded in 1329 in presence of the king on the site where a chapel once stood. Local dock workers took an active part in the church’s construction; their depictions were carved in massive wooden doors of the temple.

It took more than 50 years to build this beautiful church, which is quite fast in terms of the medieval standards. During this period the church suffered a fire in 1379. However the far greater damage was done to Santa Maria del Mar during the fire of 1936, in the dark times of the Civil War, when the Baroque altar, interior decorations and antique religious items were lost. Walls, pillars and stained glass windows survived and amaze the visitors today.

The interior of this Catholic temple is traditionally divided into three naves by octagonal pillars place within 30 meter distance from each other – this creates an infinite space effect. The church is famous for its outstanding acoustics that makes it a wonderful spot for organ and classical music performances.

Unique stained glass windows are one of the greatest decorations of the church, the most notable are the rose window depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, that of the Last Judgement and the Ascension of the Virgin. The flawless exterior features an elegant arch over the entrance, lancet windows and high towers on the sides. Both from the exterior and the interior of Santa Maria del Mar are of the same architectural style, that is why it is an excellent example of classic Catalan Gothic and a must see for the visitors of the city.

Address: Plaça de Santa Maria, 1
Opening hours: church - Mon-Sat 9 am – 1 pm, 5 pm – 8.30 pm, Sun 10 am – 2 pm, 5 pm – 8 pm; crypt and rooftop - Mon-Sat 11 am – 7 pm, guided rooftop tours available twice a day; closed on Sundays
How to reach: metro Jaume I
Coordinates: 41.383766, 2.182079