Santa María del Mar

Santa María del Mar
This is one of the most interesting churches in the city, not only for its elegant Gothic style, but also the hidden history behind its walls.

The temple was built in 1329 , and just over 50 years later, the temple was completely finished.

In its construction helped the humble fisherman and sailors living in the Quarter of La Ribera , either through financial contributions or through their effort.

The main entrance today is paying tribute to these men , known as the bastaixos , sculpturally represented by figures holding the heavy stones above their shoulders transported by them from the stone quarry to the church.

In case you still have not found a reason to visit the church, you must also know that has one of the best acoustics in the whole city. It have become an ideal space forclassical music regularly held in the basilica.
After visiting the church you will understand why this temple became the main character of a best-seller novel known as The Cathedral of the Sea, written by A.Falcones.

  • How to get there
  • Tickets Santa María del Mar
  • History of Santa Maria del Mar
  • Literature references to Santa María


Pl Santa Maria, one
08003 Barcelona.
Phone: 93 3102390


View in Google Maps

Public transport:

Metro: L4, stop Jaume I
Bus: 14 17 19 36 39 40 45 51 57 59 64 120 157
You can visit this beautiful Gothic church every day of the year, as long as there is not a religious ceremony inside the temple. 


Monday to Saturday: 9am to 13:30 and 16:30 to 20:00
Sundays and holidays from 10:30 to 13:30 h and from 16:30 to 20:00 h


Adults: 10€
Students: 8€
Mid-day ticket: 8€ / Sunday: 12:00h.

Santa Maria del Mar (The Lady of The Sea) is a beautiful Gothic church built in the Fourteenth Century by Berenguer de Montagut .

The keystone was laid to commemorate the conquest of Sardinia , which completed the domination of the powerful Aragon Kingdom all over the Mediterranean area.

Just a few years after its construction , the temple suffered the devastating effects of a major fire , which forced the reconstruction of the vaults.

Unfortunately just a century later there was an earthquake that caused a serious dammage of the rose window . This accident even provoked thirty deaths.

Finally , in July 1936, suffered the effects of The Spanish Cilvil War : It was was burned like most of Barcelona's churches, losing many of the original artworks and the original altarpiece crowning the altar.

The Gothic church

Santa Maria del Mar is the perfect example of a Catalan Gothic temple characterized by its horizontality , terrace-shape towers and decorative sobriety , unlike the typical European Gothic , noted for its vertical and usual ornaments all over the walls.

Inside there is again a marked tendency to the horizontal lines, as if to avoid an excessive sense of height . It has three naves, but it looks like a unique space, because there is little difference in height between naves.

Particularly noteworthy are the decorations on ceilings: beautiful Gothic vaults , and its magnificent key medallions decorated with images of the city. With all these unique characteristics, the result is an open space , with an extraordinary beauty.

After leaving the temple , take a look at the Gothic fountain located in front of the building, the older one in the city, dating to 1402.

Finally , facing one of its side walls you will see the Cemetery called Fossar de les Moreres , a space dedicated to the memory of those who died defending the city during the Succession War in 1714 , buried here.

In this former cemetery there is a monument with an eternal flame, lit to commemorate these events, it is is one of the legendary places of Barcelona.

The Cathedral of the Sea

The famous novel wrote by Ildefonso Falcones, The Cathedral of the Sea, is refered to the church of Santa María del Mar.

Located in the Fourteenth Century, explains the story of Arnau Estanyol, the son of a servant who flees to Barcelona, a magical city where he became a free man.

The book is talking about the medieval city of Barcelona, ​​in its greatest prosperity. The main character grows up in parallel to the construction of the church. It 's a history about social classes, love, betrayal and revenge, always under the Cathedral of the Sea's shadow.

Although we are in front of a historical novel, some of the explained stories are a bit different than the reality. Anyway we strongly recommend you to read the novel, it is fascinating and it really helps to a better understanding of the amazing Church of the Sea. .