Santa Maria del Mar is a beautiful and important 14th-century church in Barcelona. It is considered the finest and most complete example of Catalan Gothic architecture anywhere.
History of Santa Maria del Mar
This site was originally occupied by a Roman necropolis (cemetery) that was in use from the 4th to 6th centuries. This was discovered during excavations under the church in the 1960s.
Santa Maria del Mar was built during the reign of King Jaume II, who also oversaw construction of Barcelona's cathedral. Founded to commemorate the recent Catalan conquest of Sardinia, Santa Maria del Mar symbolizes the medieval naval supremacy of the House of Barcelona.
Designed by Berenguer de Montagut and begun in 1324, Santa Maria del Mar ("St. Mary of the Sea") was completed 55 years later. Its name derives from its representation of maritime success, its location on the seashore, and its use by the merchants and sailors of medieval Barcelona.
What to See at Santa Maria del Mar
The church is a splendid example of Catalan-Gothic architecture, with octagonal towers with flat tops, large bare surfaces, an exceptionally tall interior, rib vaults and soaring vertical lines. The tall columns were a major influence on Gaudi's design of La Sagrada Familia.
Workers carrying stones on their backs are represented on the main doors of the church, in commemoration of the guild members who personally helped to transport the heavy stone from the quarry to their new church.
The interior was burned out by locals in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, after the Church sided with Franco against the people. Smoke still blackens parts of the vault, but the resulting lack of furnishings only enhances the architecture's simple beauty.
Quick Facts on Santa Maria del Mar
|Names:||Església de Santa Maria del Mar · Santa Maria del Mar · St. Mary of the Sea|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||41.383853° N, 2.182031° E|
|Address:||c/ de Montcada|
|Hours:||Daily 9-1:30pm and 4:30-8pm|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Santa Maria del Mar|
- The Rough Guide to Spain 11 (April 2004).
- Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar - archiseek
- Santa Maria del Mar - Barcelona City Council
- Santa Maria del Mar Church - Spain Tourism Office
- Rick Steves' Spain 2009, 61-62.
- George Edmund Street and Georgiana Goddard King, Gothic Architecture in Spain, Vol. 2 (1914), 70-74.
Map of Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona
Below is a location map and aerial view of Santa Maria del Mar. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.