At the southwestern end of Passeig del Born one of the most beautiful churches of Barcelona can be found. EsglГ©sia de Santa Maria del Mar literally means a dedication to "Our Lady of the Sea". Built in the 14th century, this Catalan Gothic church had not stood out as a particularly showy architectural piece even before anarchists damaged it in 1909 and 1936. A lack of decorative elements was meant to emphasize its harmonious proportions and refined graceful outlines.
It was built in a record-breaking period: the construction took only 59 years, which was considered fast at the time. Even today Santa Maria del Mar never ceases to amaze the visitors by its architectural harmony which had become possible due to the hasty construction. The majority of European churches blend several architectural styles in their appearances, because it took ages (literally centuries) to complete them; Santa Maria del Mar, however, managed to retain the aesthetic integrity of its look. The main body of the church is made up of a central nave and two side aisles separated by slim pillars, which creates an enormous lateral space.
The church was build for the people by the people. City porters made everyday trips to and from MontjuГЇc quarries to snatch and carry on their backs the stone required to build Santa Maria. The memory of their titanic efforts lives on in the carvings in the church doors and elsewhere inside the church. Santa Maria del Mar frequently serves as a place to hold musical concerts of classical and baroque periods. The acoustics may not be the best, but the surrounding architecture makes up for that hundredfold.