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Basílica de la Mercè

The current Basílica de la Mercè, in baroque style, is the work of the architect Joan Mas Dordal, who was inspired by the counter-reformist models of the time. It has a single nave that opens out at the sides, with a series of chapels between the buttresses. The nave is crowned by four sections of vaults and a dome. The dome was constructed in 1888, by Joan Martorelles, after the canonical coronation of the Mare de Déu de la Mercè (the Virgin of Mercy), co-patron saint of Barcelona. The main altar was designed by the Valencian architect Vicente Marro. On the façade there are ornamentations by the sculptor Carles Grau, as well as enormous Corinthian pilasters topped by a tympanum.

The work began in 1765 and took ten years to complete. But the history of this basilica begins much earlier. In 1218, the alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary prompted the creation of the Order of Mercy, which originally had a Gothic style temple on the current site of the Basilica. The medieval church was demolished, and on April 25, 1765 the first stone was laid.In 1775, the image of the Mare de Déu de la Mercè was moved from the Cathedral to its new home. The temple was consecrated on September 9.

In 1870, the extensions of the City Hall building made it necessary to demolish the old church of Sant Miquel (Saint Michael). The 15th century Gothic-Flamboyant façade of this church was preserved and moved, stone by stone, to the Carrer Ample side of the church of La Mercè. From that time on, the church became known as the parish church of Sant Miquel i la Mare de Déu de la Mercè (Saint Michael and the Virgin of Mercy).

In 1936, during the civil war, the basilica was severely damaged, and the decorative elements were restored in 1939, including a new image of the Virgin.Inside, however, there remains an image of the Virgin from the mid-fourteenth century, attributed to Pere Moragues.

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