Guided visit and Organ concert at Santa Maria del Mar and Mercat Princesa

Monday, 4th 20:00
Free of Charge – Symposium Main Social Event
Meeting point: Santa Maria del Mar, main entrance idm
Shortly after the arrival of Christianity to the Roman colony of Barcino, modern-day Barcelona, a small Christian community was started near the sea and just outside its walls. This site might have been the place where a chapel was first built, known then as Santa Maria de Les Arenes, St. Mary of the Sea Sands.
The city grew very quickly and during the 13th century, the area was well-known for its ship-building, imports-exports of all kinds and its workshops for artisans and craftsmen. This was the time when many of the wealthy merchants and minor nobility built their houses on Montcada Street. This material progress, plus the piety of the time, demanded a church of more impressive dimensions than the one they had. Church authorities supported7 the initiative, merchants donated money to the cause and King Pere III gave his permission to extract stone from the quarry and use it to build the present church. Workers loaded and unloaded the ships (the so-called “bastaixos” or porters), fishermen and the simple people used their hands and backs and, of course, their boats to transport the stone they needed from the nearby mountain of Montjuic. The cornerstone of the present temple was laid on 25 March 1329, as can be seen by reading the two inscriptions on each side of the door on Santa Maria Street, one in Catalan and the other one in Latin.
The last circular keystone, the closest one to the main door, bears the city’s coat of arms and was put in place on 3 November 1383. Berenguer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig were the architects in charge of the project.
By the end of the seventh century, the existing structure was already known as “Santa Maria del Mar”.
Over the years, constant social and political turmoil also caused destruction to the basilica. But nothing can be compared with the destruction of the 19th July 1936 when Santa Maria del Mar was set on fire and burned for eleven days straight. Only the walls, columns and a few of the stained glass windows on the upper level were spared.. Restoration in recent years has further emphasized its elegant and sober Gothic style.
The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is one of the most outstanding exponents of organ building in Catalonia. The diversity of influences which was assimilated into the Catalan organ building tradition – Central European elements were especially notable from the 14th century on -has greatly enriched its heritage. In fact, by the 16th century, Catalan organ building had a fully developed and unique “style” of its own.
9The present instrument was originally built for the Trinitarian Convent in Vic. The style of the case and its decorative elements correspond to the second half of the 18th century although, up to now, it has been impossible to confirm either its builder or determine a precise date of construction. . According to the English architect, Simon Platt, the instrument was built during the period 1730-1750. This instrument was dismantled by non-professionals and removed from its original location. The restoration project was carried out in two stages: work on the “Orgue Major” or Great manual was finished in 1997 and the instrument started being used regularly in the church’s musical activities. A few years later, the pipework was finally installed in the Positive or “Cadireta” and the instrument was officially inaugurated on 31 May 2005.
Sr. Neil Cowley, Sta Maria del Mar organist propose a program.
After the concert, we will go to Mercat Princesa, where a glass of cava will be served to all participants.