The Born Quarter is home to what is arguably Barcelona's most magnificent church, Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. The fantastic view of the old town and the sea from the roof makes visiting this Catalan Gothic-styled church worthwhile.
Donations from residents of the Born neighborhood, popularly known as La Ribera, were used to pay for it. This makes it unique enough to be mentioned in Ildefonso Falcones' book 'Cathedral of the Sea.'
It is said that James, an apostle, preached here. Consequently, a tiny chapel was constructed here. The body of Saint Eulalia was interred there in 304. In the eighth century, the bones were buried by the Moors and weren't discovered again for fifteen years. The remains were then moved to the cathedral in 1339.
The lengthy construction times of churches during the Middle Ages—often exceeding a century—were sometimes accompanied by changes in architectural design. The building is exceptional and was revolutionary at the time. The Santa Maria del Mar was built relatively quickly; thus, the architectural styles combined during the centuries-long construction period have not changed, giving the building a highly similar appearance.\
A delicate ring of pillars forms a delicate ring around the apse, merging into a multi-part vault to form the top. This gives the sensation of being sublimely wide, tall, and airy as if gravity had been reversed and the enormous blocks of stone were being dragged upwards. The numerous stained-glass windows further aid this effect in the Santa Maria del Mar church.
The Santa Maria del Mar nave has a unique structure that only allows four small, octagonal pairs of pillars to sustain the weight of the 13-meter wide ceiling. The chamber is bathed in mellow colored light from the stained glass windows. Some of the church's most notable examples include the large rose window, the window of the Ascension in the chapel of Santa Maria, and the Lavabo in the chapel of Sant Rafael. Looking at the floor, you may observe individual graves and those of Barcelona's medieval brotherhoods and guilds.
You may enjoy Barcelona from a privileged vantage point that aids in understanding the medieval urban framework and the layout of the city center from the rooftops of the Basilica. A 360-degree view that will not leave you unmoved.
Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain