Museu Maritim de Barcelona

When you cross the portal of the main door of the Maritime Museum, you already realize that you are in a different and special place. The new visitor will be greeted by one of the many temporary exhibitions, as well as figureheads and a shop with books and souvenirs, but all they have to do is look up and see the high Gothic ceiling that dates back to the 13th century and is that this historic building, in one way or another, has been dedicated to shipbuilding since the beginning of its existence.

Main entrance of the museum through Paseo Josep Carner.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Museu Marítim de Barcelona

The Maritime Museum of Barcelona is located inside the so-called Atarazanas Reales, on whose steps the galleys of the Crown of Aragon were built, an activity that took place inside until the 18th century. Over time, this activity was abandoned and shipbuilding was transferred to other facilities, but it never ceased to be related to the sea. It would be given a new use as a barn and artillery arsenal, and would form part of the defensive enclosure of the city.

The rooms of the museum are under these fantastic gothic arches.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Antoni Casinos
If the visitor enters the museum from Avenida del Paralelo, he will be able to see part of the 14th century wall and the Portal de Santa Madrona.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Antoni Casinos

In the 20th century and before the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish army ceded the facilities to the Barcelona City Council in 1935 and the city council turned it into the Maritime Museum, which was inaugurated after the war, on January 18, 1941. And On March 5, 1976, the facilities of the Atarazanas Reales were protected by being declared a Historic-Artistic Monument by decree of the Council of Ministers of March 5, 1976.

Its facilities have been restored on various occasions, one of them was in 1957 directed by the architect Adolf Florensa and another more recent one was carried out in 1985 by the architects Esteve and Robert Terrades. With this last reform, 10,000 m2 were gained for exhibitions spread over various rooms.

In one of them, the so-called “Grada Major”, one of the jewels of the museum is exhibited: the La Real gallery. This galley is a scale reproduction of the flagship of Don Juan de Austria who together with the Holy League faced the Turks in the battle of Lepanto in the Gulf of Corinth in 1571. The reproduction was inaugurated and built in 1971 in the same tier as the original to commemorate the 400th anniversary of that battle and the director of the Maritime Museum, José María Martínez-Hidalgo, spared no detail.

The replica of the La Real galley was built on the same site as the original and can be seen there.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Antoni Casinos

At present, the visitor can contemplate four fixed exhibitions: "Catalunya Mar Enllà" in which the history of the Catalan navy between the 13th and 20th centuries is explained; "Les sorres X" where a medieval boat from the 14th century for the transport of merchandise is exposed; "Drassanes i Galeres" in which the history of the Atarazanas Reales is explained; and "7 Vaixells, 7 Histories" that recount the lives of seven characters on board seven ships from all eras.

In the museum's exhibitions, the visitor will be able to take a journey through time, with the models of its exhibitions, such as this one of the "Ictineo II" submarine by Narcis Monturiol.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Antoni Casinos
In addition to the galley, there are other historic Catalan ships on display, such as this fishing vessel called "República".
PHOTOGRAPH BY Antoni Casinos

In addition to twelve other temporary exhibitions whose themes range from the visualization of the LGTBIQ collective related to maritime heritage, another dedicated to naval photographers known as "shipspotters" and/or a chronicle of the Prestige catastrophe.

The Maritime Museum also has a restaurant and cafeteria to have a snack either inside with air conditioning or in the outdoor garden. But the Museum's offer does not end here, the military heritage of the enclosure has left part of the wall, a portal and a moat that can be seen from inside on the first and third Sunday of each month. And in addition, the Museum has a fleet of its own boats, one of them the “Santa Eulàlia” pailebote, which can be visited with the museum ticket at its dock in Port Vell.

Pailebote Santa Elulàlia.
PHOTOGRAPH BY Antoni Casinos

The Maritime Museum is located in a privileged location in the city, very close to the Columbus monument and Las Ramblas. Its main entrance overlooks Paseo Josep Carner and has a secondary entrance that overlooks the cafeteria on Avenida de les Drassanes.

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Antoni Casinos

Antoni was born in Barcelona in 1974, he studied computer science and is an Administrative Assistant. In 2017, he created the Internet blog "En visita de cortesía" (On a courtesy visit) with the intention of narrating in it the stories of the ships that visit the port of Barcelona, as well as the history of the port and the city of Barcelona.

The thousands of visits received encouraged me to write four books on the same theme and other books are on their way to being edited and published.