The Maritime Museum of Barcelona, a European benchmark

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The Maritime Museum of Barcelona is located in the building of the Royal Shipyard of Barcelona, a historical site since between the 13th and 18th centuries, it was used to build ships and its existence has been documented since 1243.

The first stage of its construction took place between 1283 and 1328, and the second stage between 1328 and 1390. Since then, it has undergone renovations and extensions, maintaining its original structure and its Gothic style. The entrance is a rounded arch formed with keystones, on which hangs the coat of arms of Provincial Council with the date of a 17th-century renovation, and above it, a coat of arms that has been attributed to Peter IV of Aragon “the Ceremonious”. It has a rectangular ground plant and there used to be a tower in each angle, of which two still stand with battlements at the top, some sections of the wall and the Drassana or Santa Madrona Gate.

The interior is divided into ten Gothic naves formed by rectangular pilasters that are about six metres high. Four ashlar masonry arches originate in each pilaster to support the gable roof. Some naves are 120 metres long and between 8.40 and 13.5 metres wide and one is 4.82 metres wide. In the back, there are three naves that are called “of the Generality”, located crosswise to the others and built in 1618.

At the request of the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the architect Adolf Florensa restored the building between 1957 and 1966 so it could be used as the Maritime Museum. From 1985, new changes were projected by the architects Esteve and Robert Terrades to restore the building again and expand the 4,000 m2 of exhibition area in 1941 to 10,000 m2, 1,500 m2 for services and 2,200 m2 for gardens.