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  4. Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona

Photo © Jorge Orte Tudela. View all images in our Santa Maria del Mar Photo Gallery.
Photo © Jorge Orte Tudela.
Photo © Jorge Orte Tudela.
Photo © Jorge Orte Tudela.
Photo © Jorge Orte Tudela.
Photo © J. Salmoral.

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

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

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

Site Information
Names:Església de Santa Maria del Mar; Santa Maria del Mar; Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona; St. Mary of the Sea
City:Barcelona
State:Catalonia
Country:Spain
Categories:Churches
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic
Styles:Gothic
Dates:1324-79
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Barcelona, Spain
Coordinates:41.383853° N, 2.182031° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Santa Maria del Mar

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.

References

  1. The Rough Guide to Spain 11 (April 2004).
  2. Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar - archiseek
  3. Santa Maria del Mar - Barcelona City Council
  4. Santa Maria del Mar Church - Spain Tourism Office
  5. Rick Steves' Spain 2009, 61-62.
  6. George Edmund Street and Georgiana Goddard King, Gothic Architecture in Spain, Vol. 2 (1914), 70-74.

More Information

Article Info

Title:Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:09/10/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/barcelona-santa-maria-del-mar/spain/barcelona-sagrada-familia
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/barcelona-santa-maria-del-mar/spain/barcelona-sagrada-familia">Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona</a>