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A most beautiful uprising symbolized in Santa María del Mar

By | 12 November, 2015 | 0 comments

Never before had a peaceful uprising produced such a magnificent work of art as the Basilica of Santa María del Mar in Barcelona. For 54 years the residents of the Ribera district worked together from sunrise to sunset, overcoming all kinds of difficulties to build one of the most important monuments in Barcelona, a place steeped in mystery, legend and charm. The ‘Alternative Cathedral’ and the ‘Cathedral of the People’ is how this gothic temple is often referred to, and since it appeared in the famous novel ‘Cathedral of the Sea’ by Ildefonso Falcones many tourists are keen to visit. Nowadays it is a sight in Barcelona that certainly cannot be missed whilst on a tour of the Gothic Quarter to the Ciudadela Park.

We must travel back to the year 1329 to find out about the origin of the Basilica, the building of which had a clear aim: the Basilica would belong to the people from the Ribera district and the area of the port as they worked so hard to construct it. Despite not having a large amount of money, the residents made a remarkable effort to acquire the appropriate materials. A huge physical effort was required as porters known locally as bastaixos carried heavy stones on their backs from boats arriving at the port or the quarry in Montjuic. Without their effort, the construction of the Basilica of Santa María del Mar would not have been possible, and to pay homage to their work the design on the main door of the Basilica and in the presbytery shows figures of the bastaixas carrying stones.

It is worth noting that the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia was being built simultaneously by the nobility of Barcelona but the people of the Ribera district wanted to construct a place of worship through hard work and dedication which rivaled the official building, therefore the construction of the Basilica could be seen as a great achievement which still stands in all its glory today despite suffering a fire just as it was almost finished, an earthquake in 1428 and a fire that destroyed the altar throughout the Spanish Civil War.

Restoration of the stain glass windows in the bell tower and five small chapels which had previously been partially destroyed in the 19th Century was finished in 2013, completing the splendid image of the Basilica.

The Basilica of Santa María del Mar, designed by Berenguer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig, keeps alive the symbol of the determination of the people of the district who built a work of art which has a roof that appears to be floating, a place that is bound to impress any visitor. A must-see on any tour of Barcelona!

Categories: barcelona

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