Barcelona Royal Shipyard
History and museums
The Barcelona Royal Shipyard (Catalan: Drassanes Reials de Barcelona; Spanish: Atarazanas Reales de Barcelona) is a shipyard and former military building of Gothic architecture placed at the Port Vell area of the Port of Barcelona. Nowadays it houses the Barcelona Maritime Museum. Construction started during the 13th century under the rule of Peter III of Aragon. During excavations in 2012 it was discovered that in the late 16th century a new building was constructed on top of the old medieval dockyard, giving the building its current structure. This excavations also uncovered a Roman graveyard. The shipyard's restoration was finished in early 2013. The Museum was reopened in 2014.
The construction of the dockyards was done in several stages, spanning over four centuries:
From the beginning the aim of the shipyard was to build the galleys for the Aragonese Armada. The shipyard was also a naval arsenal, which was used to store galleys and all the rigging and apparatus needed. The arsenal also produced a great deal of material, both sales and cordages for the ships and arms for the men. Naval arsenals of the time, normally, had to produce and store food also.
After the 1381 renovation, the building had eight naves, 8.4m high and 8.4m wide. The naves were, approximately, 60m long, consisting of 17 columns 77 cm wide and 6 m high. Thanks to a written record of the time we know that four new storage areas were built. Ashlar from the nearby mountain of Montjuïc was used for the construction, with sand from the beach in front of the shipyard, wood from the Baix Ebre and Gavarres and ropes and tiles from Valencia. During the rule of Alfonso V of Aragon, the shipyard experienced its highest activity. In 1423, twelve galleys were build simultaneously. In 1571, the royal galley of John of Austria, commonly known as the Real, was built at the shipyard. This galley was the flagship at the Battle of Lepanto. There is a reproduction of this galley at the Barcelona Maritime Museum.
During the 18th century, the shipbuilding was moved to the Cartagena shipyard, and after the War of Spanish Succession the site was use as an artillery barrack for the Spanish Army. The building was used to build, store, and repair artillery pieces. In 1935, the building was given to the Barcelona city hall who decide to use it as a maritime museum, which opened in 1941. On 5 May 1976, the building was declared a Cultural Site of National Interest.
The closest tube station is Drassanes, which is the Catalan word for shipyard, in the line of the Barcelona Metro network.