The Maritime Museum’s collections are extremely rich and varied. They include pieces ranging from a ship that still sails to a postal stamp, or from a steam engine to a 14th-century manuscript. Of course, they also include everything you expect to find in a maritime museum: binnacles, anchors, model ships, navigational tools, etc. In other words, all sorts of documents and objects from the miniscule to the huge, from all different periods and made of all sorts of materials. For decades, the Museum has gathered examples of the maritime past, a heritage that reminds us of the lives of seafarers, the histories of ships and maritime activities in peacetime or war.
We would like to offer a selection of objects and documents that are notable for their historical interest, their rarity or their aesthetic value. These can give you a general idea of the content of the Museum’s collection. However, do not forget that there is a great deal beyond this selection, with thousands of artefacts and documents that you can discover using our search engine or other resources.
We encourage you to take a stroll through some of the key pieces in our Museum’s collection, grouped into twelve categories to help you keep your bearings.
Replica of the Royal GalleyVessels
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.