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Museu Marítim

Salty secrets of Barcelona's success

Flagship La Real, in the museum

Barcelona's maitime museum is housed in the Drassanes, the largest and best-preserved medieval shipyards in the world. The name comes from the Arabic darsena, or shipyards, which took their current form in 1388.

Originally the port extended to the entrance of yards, which were so large that 30 galleys could be built at the same time. The Spanish navy took them over in 1663, then in 1941 gave them back to the city, worse for wear but now beautifully restored— and recently totally refurbished. During the work a Roman necropolis was discovered under the shipywards.

The building itself is extraordinary—the vaults go on and on into the shadows. The biggest exhibit is a full-scale replica of La Real, Don Juan’s flagship at Lepanto, built in 1971 in honour of the 400th anniversary of the famous battle against the Ottomans.

Among the ships’ models and figureheads and seamen’s chests, keep an eye peeled from Jaume the Conqueror’s famous Llibro del Consulat del Mar, medieval Europe’s first maritime code.

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Medieval Art and Architecture

Museums & Galleries

Port Vell

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by AMMM, Paul Hermans, GNU Free Documentation Licence