The striking Gothic façade of the St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral, (also known as Cathedral Santa Maria del Mar and Basilica Santa Maria del Maris) one of the most memorable sights of Barcelona’s La Ribera and El Born districts, dating back to the 12th century. Renowned as one of the country’s finest examples of Catalan Gothic architecture, the original cathedral was the work of architects Berenguer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig, whose efforts were partially damaged by a number of fires throughout the 14th and 19th century.
Significant parts of the original cathedral still remain intact, including much of the imposing frontage, accompanied by a number of restorations and additions added throughout the 20th century. The cathedral interiors are far less imposing, with stained glass clerestory windows allowing light to stream into the aisles and a ribbed vault supported by dramatic slender columns. Highlights include the 15th-century west window, a beautiful rosette of stained glass; the exquisite sculptures adorning the tympanum and portal; and the Capella del Santo Cristo, with its stained-glass allegory of Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games.
The cathedral is open to visitors daily, but to really experience the atmospheric surroundings, time your visit for the traditional choral mass held each Sunday.