The church of Santa Maria del Mar is located in the Ribera district of Barcelona, near the port, and was built in the 16th century, between 1,329 and 1,383. The neighborhood was the nerve center of merchants and unions, and it has always been considered that this church must belong to the people of the neighborhood because it was they who, either at work or with money, made it possible to build the temple. The first stone of Santa Maria del Mar was put on March 25, 1,329, and the last keystone on November 8, 1338.

santa maria del mar before and after.jpg

The great heroes of this church were the “bastaixos” (or porters), workers who carried enormous stones for the construction of the temple one by one. They were taken down from the royal quarry in Montjuïc, or they were also transported from the beach, where boats with large rocks landed. At the front door of the church you can see an image that pays homage to “bastaixos”.

Santa Maria del Mar is the most emblematic example of the 14th century Catalan Gothic style. It is characteristic of this architectural style the horizontality of the buildings, and this church is a good example with the 16 octagonal columns that one can see just entering the temple.

bastaixos.jpg

Destruction and reconstruction of Santa Maria del Mar

The church, however, has been the victim of heavy ravages throughout its history. In the year 1,428 an earthquake that affected Catalonia made the rosette fall, and the collapse caused some deaths. Later, in the 20th century, Santa Maria del Mar suffered a devastating attack in 1,936. On July 19 of that year the church was burned down and burned for eleven days in a row, causing the destruction of the baroque altar and all the images and archives that were in the temple. The subsequent reconstruction emphasized the gothic architecture with a sober and elegant style.

Sant Maria del Mar to fiction

The church of Santa Maria del Mar has transcended the earthly plan to inspire the creativity of the artists. Thus, the writer Ildefonso Falcones wrote the novel La Catedral del Mar (2006), which was later adapted to television fiction with a series of homonymous title.

Find out how to discover Santa Maria del Mar and more other emblematic places of Barcelona with our e-bike tours.