Reials Drassanes (Museu Marítim de Barcelona)

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Reials Drassanes (Museu Marítim de Barcelona)

The shipyards, between the waterfront and the foot of Montjuïc, are a vestige of Barcelona's medieval seafaring past. Comprised of a series of enormous construction naves and fortified elements where once large ships were built, it now houses the Museu Marítim de Barcelona, one of the best-loved museums in the city.

Maritime witness

Barcelona's history is closely tied to the sea, so it had to have a museum to explain all about that link. The site chosen was the old royal shipyards, the Reials Drassanes, which bear witness to the city's seafaring past. Galleys and part of the fleet of the old Crown of Aragon were built there, warships were repaired and it was a store for equipment, tools and supplies. A whole history and lots of uses linked to the sea that it now bears witness to.

A historic building

The Drassanes were built backing onto the city's second medieval walls, like a huge military fortification, and the yards still preserve the remains of the bastions in Plaça de Santa Madrona, as well as one of the entrance gates and part of the old walls.

The most curious thing about them is that for more than two centuries after they lost their original use, they were turned into a military foundry making cannons for the army, a barracks, an arsenal and an artillery store. Just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, the army handed them over to the city, which immediately turned them into the Maritime Museum. And since the 1970s, Barcelona's Royal Shipyards have been a Historical Artistic Heritage Site .

Today the splendid halls devoid of columns, with their high ceilings and gigantic arches, once used to build warships, promote the city's maritime culture in a museum through which pirates, Vikings, the remains of the Titanic and big scientific discoveries have all passed in exhibitions where the sea has always been the common thread. The Museu Marítim de Barcelona (MMB) is open to everyone, adults and children, linking the city even more closely to the sea It is a place to enjoy the maritime world, visual and interactive, and part of the Raval Cultural project, which aims to make the neighbourhood's artistic and cultural heritage available to everyone.

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