Replica of the Royal Galley

Reproduction of the Royal Galley

Reproduction of the Royal Galley, Astilleros Cardona, 1968-1971

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Num. inventory: 13271

Object name: galley

Title: Royal Galley

Object date: 1968-1971

Author: Astilleros Cardona

Technique and material: wood, metal, plant fibre, cloth, paint. Shipbuilding.


Full-size replica of the Royal Galley, made on site by artisans from Astilleros Cardona. Decorated by Gabriel Alabert and Francisco Ribera with advice from personnel from the Maritime Museum of Barcelona. The original craft was 60 meters long, with a beam of 6.20 meters, a depth of 2.08, and was driven by 59 oars and the strength of 236 rowers. In additional, the original ship had a mainmast and a foremast with lateen sails.

The Royal Galley was built in the Drassanes Reials of Barcelona in 1568, as part of a great fleet that was to stand up to the Ottomans. On January 15th, 1568, the viceroy of Catalonia received the order that in Barcelona, “this Royal galley is to be made from the best wood to be found in these parts, as the pine of Catalonia is the best wood to be found in Asia, Africa or Europe.” The decoration, which includes the classical iconography so typical of the Renaissance, was made in Seville.

The Royal Galley, commanded by John of Austria, served as the flagship of the Holy League that defeated the Ottomans at Lepanto, off the coast of Greece, on October 7th, 1571. In 1971, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the battle, the Maritime Museum of Barcelona organized an exhibit where the public was presented with a full-size reconstruction of the galley, the result of a project led by the Museum Director, Martínez-Hidalgo.