Maritime Museum (Museu Maritim)
The Maritime Museum is housed in dockyards built in the 14th century. It features replica ships, paintings and interactive exhibits relating to maritime history in Spain in the 18th and 19th centuries. While shipping enthusiasts in particular will find the museum fascinating, the Maritime Museum has broader appeal thanks to its impressive architecture.
The Royal Dockyards were built in 1378. They are among the biggest and most complete medieval dockyards left in the world. The gothic style includes stone archways and wooden beams. The dockyards were originally used to build and store ships and equipment for the navy. Some of the naves are up to 200 feet (60 meters) long and 30 feet (9 meters) high.
Today the museum lies at the end of La Rambla, opposite a statue of Christopher Columbus. The central location means the museum is easy to reach on foot, or by bus or metro.
The museum is undergoing extensive renovations and much of it is closed to the public. Some permanent and several temporary exhibits are open at any one time. The renovations are expected to finish in 2014. Until then, there’s a reduced entrance fee. Come on Sundays from 3 p.m. and see any temporary exhibits for free.
The centerpiece of the museum is a full-scale replica of one of the ships built in the dockyards in the 1300s. Circle the ship to take in its large size and red and gold detailing. Study an atlas of the world from the 14th century and read about the history of Barcelona as a port city.
The museum is open every day. It’s closed for two days over Christmas and two days in January. Check the website for details.