Santa Maria del Pi, Barcelona
Being inside makes you very humble. At first I had no idea where to start. Its structure is very easy to view, because it comprises three naves of the same height, underpinned by very tall columns. This gives the impression of sublime width, height and airiness. The many stained-glass windows of the church of Santa Maria del Mar play an important role in giving this impression. Finally I had a good walk around inside the Basílica and did enjoy it very much indeed. I particularly liked the window of the Ascension, in the chapel of Santa Maria, the Lavabo in the chapel of Sant Rafael, as well as the great rose window at the front facade. The interior of the church is beautiful and rather simple.
I looked at the floor and saw private tombs and those of Barcelona’s medieval guilds and brotherhoods. The Basílica of Santa Maria del Mar used to be the the place of worship for the shipwrights and merchants of Gothic Barcelona. Finally we left the Basílica and arrived at the square in front ogf the church again. By that time we noticed how small the square actually is. Even when we walked into the small coffee shops or restaurants across the square from the church we still were not able to get the entire Basílica in our photo frame, how about that?
Although we were quite early when we first arrived at the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi in Barcelona we were already allowed to enter it. A huge advantage of our early arrival was the fact that there were almost no tourists. Either the bus / coach was still on his way or everybody was having a breakfast in their hotel. Whenever we visit a church the kids always want to burn a candle, it has become a bit of a tradition. The Sight of burning votive candles - real or electronic - is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?
According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball, the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights. Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. So for us lighting a candle is a way of extending our prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf our prayer is offered.
We can honestly say that we ran into the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi by accident. We were just walking over the Rambla of Barcelona and decided to have a walk into an alley and did continue. All of a sudden we ended up at the Placa Pi with its beautiful Basílica. We were truly amazed to admire such a beautiful church without knowing where we were. We opened our travel book of Barcelona and read the following: “Santa Maria del Mar is an imposing church in the Ribera district of Barcelona, Spain, built between 1329 and 1383. It is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic.”
The first thing we noticed, and we guess everybody does, was the huge rose window, how beautiful! Some later on we learned that there was a first mention of a church at this particular spot at 998. Thanks to other travels we knew that in the Middle Ages it took often more than a century to build a church, but the Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona is an exception. It was built in just 55 years! It truly gave us some prospective of the rich history of Barcelona right at this spot. You’re able to walk all around it and so we did. After this lap we decided to go inside to admire it.
The church's history dates back to 10th century. This gothic church is famous with its majestic rose window which is one of the largest in the world. You can visit the chapels, treasury, cloister and the exposition part with the admission ticket. The ticket costs 5 Euro per person.
This church is found in the south of the Juame sector and just two blocks off Via Laitetana in the Ribera area. The church was built between 1329 and 1383, and later one tower in 1496, with the other tower completed in 1902. Mainly the church is of Gothic style. The exterior displays the large size of the church, and has huge stone carved sculpted at the doorway and on the building. The interior has a lot of light coming through with all the stain glass windows at the nave. Narrow octagon columns hold up the main vault of the interior, and the width of the church is about 100 feet, with like measurement in height.
It is open daily 10-6, except Sunday it is after services. Entry is 3 Euro
Straddling the adjoining squares of Placa del Pi and Placa de Sant Josep Oriol is the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi. This lovely Gothic church was constructed between the 14th & 16th centuries, and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The church gets its name from a large pine tree which used to grow in Placa del Pi (not the same one you see there today!). Its main attraction is the giant rose window located above the main entrance on Placa del Pi - some sources say it is the world's largest.
The rest of the interior is fairly plain and dark - it was gutted during the Civil War in 1936, and these days most of the stained glass is modern.
Opening Hours: 8.30am-1pm & 4.30-9pm Mon to Sat; 9am-2pm & 5-9pm Sun & holidays.
Close to La Rambla, just at the end of Carrer de Petritxol, you will find two lovely adjoining squares - Placa del Pi and Placa de Sant Josep Oriol. Both the squares are looked over by the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi, which fronts onto Placa del Pi.
Placa del Pi is home to a large pine tree, like one that existed there when the square was first built, and this is what gave it its name. The buildings in the square are nice - one in particular has an interesting decorated façade with what looks like angels dancing with ribbons. Last time we visited the square was filled with a small food market.
Neighbouring Placa de Sant Josep Oriol is a great place to relax - there are several cafes here making it prime people watching territory. The square is named after Saint Sant Josep Oriol who is buried there. Each weekend the square is home to an art market, and there are sometimes concerts in the afternoons.
This 14th century Gothic cathedral looms over the Plaza de Sant Josep Oriol. The church was unfortunately gutted by a fire in the 1930's and at the time of my visit was undergoing some exterior rennovations. The rose window which overlooks the plaza is said to be one of the largest in the world.
This little 14th century church in the gothic quarter has inside some marvellous gothic stained-glass windows.
It is surrounded by 3 squares: Pi square, Pi Little Square and St. Oriol Square, all of them in a pedestrian area, where on saturdays there is a local market with regional gastromonic products.
After Plaça Real, and walking on the Carrer dels Banys Nous you finish the little tour around the roman wall. But if you turn aside you can go to Plaça del Pi and Santa Maria del Pi church (on the picture), with one of the biggest rose window of the world.
This is neither part of the roman city.
Before arriving to Cathedral another time you can approach to Plaça Sant Felip Neri, another beautiful place, dead-end style square.
Santa Maria del Pi is a gothic church located very near to La Rambla. It is interesting its amazing rose window and the 54 meters belfry. Here on Sundays Morning it is held a fair on paintings.