Since ancient times, Barcelona, as a sea city, occupied one of the leading places in the Mediterranean economy, because it was here that the largest shipyards for that time were built, and it was here already in the XIII – XIV centuries. On the eve of the world exhibition in 1929 it opened here Maritime Museumdedicated to the glorious maritime past of the capital of Catalonia. Initially, it was placed in the building of the maritime school, but in 1935 the entire historical architectural ensemble of the Drassanes shipyards was transferred to the city, and the logical decision was to move the entire museum there, which was done in 1941.
This magnificent building of the former royal shipyards, covering an area of more than 18,000 m2, representing a series of spans with columns and arched vaults in the Gothic style, is itself an architectural monument and an exhibit of the museum. In 1965, on the 400th anniversary of the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, it was decided to recreate the flagship of the European Navy - Royal Gallery of Juan of Austria "Real". Today this ship is the most valuable and grandiose exhibit of the museum. It alone occupies the entire central span of the building and even in our time its dimensions are amazing. Its length with a spy is more than 60 m., And the width along the mid-range is about 6.2 m. With a crew of 400 people.
In addition to this chic exhibit, whose decoration is a true work of art in the Baroque style, here are presented models of almost all the ships that existed in the world: from canoes, brigantines and galleons, to modern ocean liners. Among them is the famous "Victoria" - the only one of the ships of the flotilla of Magellanreturning from the first world travel around the world. And ship model "Santa Maria" - Christopher Columbus also presented here. After all, it was in Barcelona that Columbus arrived with news of the opening of a new continent, which he considered to be just India. This is reminiscent of the huge column of the monument to this great traveler, towering opposite the museum.
There are exhibits related to the life of both peaceful sailors, merchants and fishermen, and the life of pirates, because the good half of all pirates in those days were immigrants from Spain. Maps of different times, navigation equipment belonging to Amerigo Vespucci Atlas of 1498, as well as 14th-century marine guides from the island of Mallorca - all this is presented in the museum. And escorted by visitors, installed in an eternal parking lot near the old port, a copy of the wooden submarine-bathyscaphe Monturiol “Ictineu I”, built back in 1864 and recreated in 1992.