The basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is a beautiful rendition of early Catalan Gothic-style architecture boasting elegant lines and symmetrical proportions lending this religious space an air of serenity. Built between 1329 and 1384, this medieval church is important as the only surviving example of this style of architecture.
The harmonious and balanced proportions of Santa Maria del Mar are all based upon the medieval numerological symbol for the Virgin Mary – the number eight. The structure consists of three naves of equal height which are supported by 16 tall columns giving the church an impression of sublime height, width and space. The many stained glass windows also add to this sense of space and light within the interior of the church.
Natural and manmade disasters have caused significant restorations to the church. The earthquake of 1428 destroyed the great rose window which was remade in the 15th century. In 1936, anarchists burned nearly all of the churches in Barcelona to demonstrate against the military rebellion, which united church, oligarchy and the army. Santa Maria del Mar burned for 11 days and nearly crumbled from the heat. After the Spanish civil war, the basilica was restored to become one of the city's most prized architectural sites.
Santa Maria del Mar also comprises 24 chapels dedicated to different saints and images. The window of the Ascension in the chapel of Santa Maria, and the Lavabo in the chapel of Saint Rafael are just some of the breathtaking sights of the church. On the floor of the basilica you'll discover private tombs and those belonging to the medieval guilds and brotherhoods of Barcelona. To visit Santa Maria del Mar, the closet metro station is Jaume I and then a three-minute walk down Via Laietana and left into Carrer L'Argenteria. Admission is free.