The Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona
If you like Catalan Gothic style architecture, then you will love the Santa Maria del Mar. The design and proportions of this medieval church are unlike any that you will find in a modern-day building. In fact, many other big medieval buildings don’t have such impressive architectural design and artisanship as this one does. The Santa Maria del Mar is located in Barcelona, Spain; within the district known as “La Ribera.” Construction of the Santa Maria del Mar is believed to have started in the year 1329 and ended in the year 1383. This was a time when the Kingdom of Aragon had ruled the land. Hundreds of years later, in 1496, a northwestern tower finished being completed on the site. Then another adjacent tower was built in 1902.
Santa Maria del Mar: The Centuries Old Church
The Santa Maria del Mar features 3 naves with tall columns supporting them. Each column is spread 13 meters from one another. No other existing medieval building has this much space between its columns. It makes people feel like the building has reversed gravity because the huge stone blocks seem like they’re being pulled upwards. The church’s stained-glass windows assist in creating this impression. When you step inside this church, you will immediately feel how spacious it is. Even though there are 3 aisles and naves in the church, it is all one big open space. There are no boundaries or transepts of any kind between the presbytery and naves. This creates a surreal feeling that will impress anybody, even those who are not religious.
The History of the Santa Maria del Mar Church
It was not easy to build a church in the Middle Ages, especially one of this size and uniqueness. They did not have cranes, trucks, or any advanced machinery to assist with the construction. It was all done manually over many decades. That is why it took 55 years for the Santa Maria del Mar to be built. What makes this church such a national treasure in Spain is that it is the only medieval building left standing which has Catalan Gothic style architecture. All the other buildings with this style of architecture were destroyed or demolished over the centuries. This has made the Santa Maria del Mar a popular tourist attraction in Barcelona. If you are curious to see what it looks like first before going there, you can see the virtual 360° panoramic tour that is available online.