Menu Hamburger Logo Menu close Logo
Barcelona Travel Hacks home logo

Basilica de La Mercè - Our Lady Of Mercy Basilica

Ornately decorated Baroque-style basilica built 1775 by architect Josep Mas i Dordal. Free to visit. Guided visits also on Saturdays

Updated: Mar 13, 2024 by: Barcelona Travel Hacks Views: 1.3k

About Basilica de La Mercè - Our Lady Of Mercy Basilica

Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy, Basilica de La Mercè was built between 1765 and 1775 under the direction of architect Josep Mas i Dordal in a splendid baroque style. The dome is crested with a statue of our lady. Is the second church in Barcelona to receive the title of minor basilica after the Barcelona cathedral.

The basilica's interior is the traditional cross form with small chapels along the sides dedicated to Roman Catholic saints including San Miguel Arcángel (Saint Michael Archangel), San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony Abbot) and San Pedro (Saint Peter). The nave has twin pulpits and is decorated in typical baroque style complete with Corinthian columns, crystal chandeliers and gold leaf everywhere.

Above the main altar is a fourteenth century statue of La Mercè which looks out at the congregation through a glass window.

Order of the Mercedarians

Founded in Barcelona in 1218 by Pere Nolasc and Ramon de Penyafort and with the support of Jaume I. Initially it was a brotherhood that took care of the Hospital of Santa Eulàlia and the rescue of captives, organised in the form similar to a military order. Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) approved it as a religious order in 1235.

Pere Nolasc acquired some land in 1232 that had previously been owned by Jaume I located between the old city and the sea. Ramon de Plegamans built a hospital on the land dedicated to Santa Eulàlia. Between 1249 and 1267, the first church was built, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, precursor of the current one.

The current church is built on top of an earlier one from the medieval period which was the first church of the Mercedarian Order. It formed a complex of church and convent of the same order, but the convent building was subject to confiscation in 1835, first becoming a school then the headquarters of the General Captaincy of the Fourth Military Region. This is the grand military building in Passeig de Colom.

The Mercedarian community agreed to demolish the medieval church and build the current one by architect Josep Mas i Dordal. Construction began in 1765 with the works being completed 1777.

Barcelona's two Patron Saints

Santa Eulàlia, celebrated 12th February: a young Christian girl from Barcelona who was put to death by the Romans. According to the legend, she was captured while tending her flock of geese and taken before the governor who ordered her to renounce her faith. When Eulalia refused, she was subjected to a series of thirteen cruel tortures, the last of which was crucifixion. See Barcelona Cathedral for more information.

La Virgen de La Mercè, celebrated 24th September: In 1687 Barcelona suffered a severe famine caused by a plague of locusts. Legend has it that the city council asked Our Lady Of Mercy La Virgen de la Mercè to save the city, promising to make her patron saint of Barcelona.