Barcelona Cathedral of Santa María del Mar: Tips for Visiting this Jewel of Catalan Gothic

One of the undisputed jewels of Barcelona is located in the La Ribera neighborhood, only 20 min away from our boutique hotel Barcelona city centre. The Cathedral of Santa María del Mar is one of the obligatory stops on any visit to the city. Built in the 14th century, this basilica has become popular in recent years thanks to the novel La Catedral del Mar by the writer Ildefonso Falcones. More than six million copies sold around the world have managed to bring this iconic temple of Catalan Gothic art back into focus.

History and curiosities of the Cathedral of Santa María del Mar

The first stone to build the Cathedral of Santa María del Mar in Barcelona was laid in 1329. A couple of decades later, construction work had to be stopped due to the Black Death that broke into the city aboard a ship from Genoa. It didn’t take long for the stevedores to become infected and neither did the rest of the population. It is estimated that around 60% of the people of Barcelona died as a result of this pandemic.

This was only the first setback that the basilica had to endure, as only a century later it was seriously damaged after an earthquake. Throughout its history it has also had to resist bombs, first in the Nine Years War, which pitted France against the League of Augsburg, and much later in the Spanish Civil War.

Catedral Santa Maria del Mar - Barcelona

The basilica was built in what was, in its origins, a seaside district. In fact, it was just 50 m from the sea. It was precisely the fishermen and the local residents who, with their efforts, managed to give life to this jewel of Catalan Gothic art.

Something that draws the attention of the Cathedral of Santa María del Mar are its wonderful stained glass windows. You just have to look a bit to identify the brand new FC Barcelona shield on one of them. Curious, right?

Another great protagonist in the interior of this temple is the light, which filters through the large windows and provides an extraordinary feeling of spaciousness. Before entering, do not forget to contemplate the huge rose window on the main facade. This collapsed in the earthquake, but was later restored.

Also unmissable are the terraces of the Cathedral, from where you get formidable views of Barcelona, especially at sunset. Enjoy your stay at our boutique hotel close to Ciutat Vella.

Leave a Comment