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Santa Maria del Mar


Barcelona | Spain

Go just for the experience

2 hours

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Santa Maria del Mar, known as the "Cathedral of La Ribera" in Barcelona, is a sterling example of pure Catalan Gothic architecture, distinguished by its harmonious proportions and serene ambiance. Completed rapidly for a medieval church, between 1329 and 1384, it maintains a stylistic purity rare for the era due to its construction within just 55 years. The church's interior, marked by its vast, open spaces and the widest column spacing of any Gothic church in Europe, creates an impression of sublime width, height, and airiness​​​​. It’s our favorite church in Barcelona, here’s why:
1: The church's interior is notably sparse in imagery, a result of damage from a fire in 1936 during anticlerical disturbances. Despite this loss, including the destruction of the Baroque retable by Deodat Casanoves and Salvador Gurri, some stained-glass windows from various periods have survived, contributing to the church's luminous atmosphere​​.
2: The basilica's design boasts very tall slender columns that are 13 meters apart, supporting three naves of equal height. This unique structural approach contributes to the church's feeling of spaciousness, with its maximum height matching its total width at 100 medieval feet​​​​.
3: Rooftop Terrace Tour: Available from May to October, the tour offers insights into the church's construction, history, and the surrounding La Ribera neighborhood.
4: Santa Maria del Mar is a beacon of Barcelona's rich maritime and mercantile history. Its pure Catalan Gothic style, and the communal effort symbolized by the 'bastaixos' carved on its doors, speak to a deep connection between the city's people and this venerable basilica.
The church is located in La Ribera and welcomes visitors daily, with cultural visits and guided tours available in multiple languages.
Photo: Vinitaa Jayson