From La Boqueria to I glesia de Santa Maria del Mar: thirteen-minute walk
• Exiting la Boqueria turn right and walk on the left side of la Rambla
• After about 150 m turn left to Carrer Boqueria
• At the end of the street cross Carrer Banys Nous and enter Carrer Call on your left
• At the end of the street you arrive to Placa Saint Jaume
• Continue on Carrer Jaume I (on the right) and keep straight through Carrer Princesa (continuation of C. Jaume I)
• After about 800 m turn right to Carrer Montcada and continue straight until you reach Santa Maria del Mar (about 200 m)
Santa Maria del Mar is a bit fa rther off from La Boqueria, but it is well worth the walk. The almost seven-hundred-year-old building stands time to show the glory of the medieval Spanish architecture to those passing by. It took sixty-two years to finish this temple (far more than the average lifetime of a medieval person), but the hard labor of architects and masons stands the test of time. It inspired books, such as the bestselling novel of Ildefonso Falcoles: Cathedral of the Sea.
Coming from the time when la Boqueria was only a few butcher's stalls the church looks monumental and massive from the outside - but seems surprisingly spacious and light from the inside. Some even say it claims the world's slenderest stone built columns, but these kinds of things are hard to prove.
The building had some trials: not long after it was finished an earthquake destroyed its rose window and made some other damages in the construction. Most of the paintings and the original altar were also destroyed in a fire at the start of the 20th century. The building, however, is still in its original shape expanded by two towers (build in 1496 and 1902) and invites visitors to see the masterful work of past ages.
Details about visiting the site:
• Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., on public holidays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Admission: free
• Choral mass on Saturdays from 1 p.m.
Why worth visiting:
• One of the major cathedrals of the city
• Excellent acoustics
• Unique architecture that combines robust exterior with seemingly weightless interior
If you want to walk off the great meal you just had at la Boqueria and look at something that is just as old as the history of the market you can enjoy a pleasant stroll and visit Santa Maria del Mar.