Palma cathedral – Catedral de Palma de Mallorca

Catedral de Mallorca, Palma, Španija

Website of the Sanctuary

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Every day: from Monday to Friday: 10:00 - 17:15, Saturdays: 10:00 TO 14:15

Built on the clifftop where the Roman city was founded, the outline of the Cathedral stands out above the city walls, making it one of the distinguishing features of Palma’s seafront.

Palma cathedral was built on a cliff rising out of the sea, making Majorca Cathedral the only Gothic cathedral to be reflected in the water.

With the construction of the Parque del Mar this effect has been restored and so the outline of the Cathedral is again reflected in an artificial salt-water lake that echoes the sea that used to come up to the city walls. This exceptional location is one of the Cathedral’s most distinctive features.

Palma cathedral - Catedral de Palma de Mallorca

Palma cathedral has a basilica plan comprising a central nave flanked by aisles ending in a large apse divided into three smaller ones. The nave is 43.30 metres high by 19.30 metres wide, and the two aisles are 29 metres tall by 10 metres wide.

The inside of the Palma cathedral provides a great sensation of space and structural lightness, accentuated by the characteristics of the octagonal columns that divide the nave from the aisles, made out of sandstone from the quarries of Santanyí and Galdent (Llucmajor): just 14 columns divide the nave from the aisles, seven on each side. See top 15 Catholic shrines in the world

These divide the different sections. They are widely spaced (7.74 m.), are extremely slender and, above all, are very high (21.47 m). This sensation of lightness increases with the effects of the light that enters the Cathedral through the 7 rose windows and 83 windows – some installed during the last twenty years – and characterises the inside of the Cathedral. See more European Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages

All of this has led to the Palma cathedral being known as “the Cathedral of light”.

Palma cathedral - Catedral de Palma de Mallorca

Coming to Palma de Mallorca and having the best stay:.

LIGHT PHENOMENA – The Figure of Eight Spectacle

This magical phenomenon happens just twice per year on two symbolic dates: the second day of the second month, Candlemas, and the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Saint Martin. On these two days, from eight o’clock in the morning, a unique light phenomenon occurs.

The light of the rising sun passes through the Cathedral’s main rose window and its reflection is projected onto the opposite wall, just beneath the opposite rose window in the main façade so that, for a short period of time, one window reflects onto the other. This forms a double rose window, one in glass and the other in light, leading to what is known as the “figure of eight spectacle” as a “figure of eight of light” forms, a number loaded with symbolism in the Christian tradition. By adding an extra day to the seven days of the week, the earliest Christian writers gave this “eighth day” the status of a time outside of time, a time of eternity, of heaven. The 14 columns inside Majorca Cathedral are also octagonal.

Palma cathedral - Catedral de Palma de Mallorca

Every year this exceptional phenomenon attracts a greater number of visitors who wish to see the figure of eight spectacle.

Winter solstice light phenomenon

For some twenty days around the winter solstice, the sunrise can be seen through the Cathedral’s two rose windows – the main rose window and the rose window in the main façade – thus creating a sort of kaleidoscope effect.

The Balearic Mathematics Society (Sociedad Balear de Matemáticas) is the institution that discovered this phenomenon and every year it invites members of the public to the Baluard Museum as this phenomenon can be seen from its terraces. According to Daniel Ruiz Aguilera and Josep Lluís Pol Llompart, members of this society, the effect was discovered in 2007 by Canon Teodor Suau, who observed that the projection of the main rose window onto the rose window of the main façade was complete during these days.

Palma cathedral - Catedral de Palma de Mallorca

History of Palma cathedral

The construction of Majorca Cathedral, often called La Seu, began in the 13th century. It is a Levantine Gothic-style cathedral (characterised by using a German-style hall layout) and it has one of the largest rose windows in the world, known as “the Gothic eye”. Its nave is also one of the highest in any European Gothic cathedral.

The Cathedral’s history is closely linked to the island’s monarchy. The origins of the most important example of Majorcan Gothic date back to the 13th century. After the conquest of Madina Mayurqa in 1229, James I, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona, ordered the old main mosque to be consecrated to the Virgin Mary as a place for Christian worship, and also the construction of a new building, in line with the style of that period.

20th century

At the start of the 20th century, the architect Antoni Gaudí adapted the Cathedral to meet new liturgical and pastoral requirements. His work, requested by Bishop Pere Joan Campins, continued from 1904 to 1914. The changes involved moving the choir that had until then been located between the second and third sections of the nave, removing the Gothic main altarpiece, making the baldachin for the main altar, incorporating the bishop’s seat in the sanctuary, lighting the space with glazed windows, artificial light and candelabra and also making liturgical furnishings. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

The Cathedral brings together the last eight centuries of Majorca’s history, and continues to be a living and constantly evolving thing. These different artistic styles have helped the Cathedral to fulfil one of its main purposes over different eras: to be a reflection of the Celestial Jerusalem.

Palma cathedral - Catedral de Palma de Mallorca

Figures of the Palma cathedral

Element: Length; Width; Height

  • Trinity Chapel 9,43 m 5,70 m 13,40 m
  • Royal Chapel 24,45 m 15,87 m 28,30 m
  • Nave 75,52 m 19,40 m 43,74 m
  • Aisle 75,52 m 10,03 m 30,17 m
  • Apse Chapels 110,32 m 10,03 m 16,35 m
  • Aisle Chapels 6,70 m 7,65 m 16,35 m

Overall Measurements

  • It ocuppies an area of around: 6.600 m2
  • The roof measures: 4,250 m2
  • Total length: 109,40 m
  • Total width: 39,45 m
  • Height of the central nave: 43,95m
  • Height of the aisles: 29,49 m
  • Height of the columns: 21,47 m
  • Thickness of the columns: 1,49 -1,67 m

The Almudaina Façade

Construction of the main façade represented the end of the construction of the Cathedral. The façade we see today only conserves the Renaissance portal from the original façade.

This portal, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, dates from the first third of the 17th century. The Immaculate Conception is depicted on the tympanum surrounded by fifteen biblical symbols referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary “toda pulchra”. More Catholic shrines and Basilicas in Spain.

Baptistery

The Chapel’s decoration is fundamentally architectural. The baptismal font is located in the centre of the Chapel raised on two steps. With an oval bell-shape, following the traditional shape of ancient sarcophagi, it is all made from a single piece of reddish marble.

Chapel of the Holy Christ of the Souls

This chapel currently houses the fragments of the old altarpiece of Saint Peter that used to decorate the chapel now known as the Chapel of the Eucharist, following the intervention of Miquel Barceló.

Main Sacristy

The Main Sacristy is located in the lower part of the Chapel of the Trinity. This was planned as a single space but was later split into two: the relic room on the ground floor and the charcoal store on the first floor.

The positioning of the reliquary and the coffered ceiling divided this zone into two floors

Chapel of the Holy Eucharist

The chapel of the Holy Eucharist of Majorca Cathedral occupies the right-hand apse of its chevet. It is in a Gothic style and belongs to the oldest part of the fabric of the Cathedral, dating from the 14th century. When built it was dedicated to Saint Vincent Martyr, and a century later we find it dedicated to Saint Peter

The crypt

This space was recently the subject of a study that looked into its origin and possible uses.

It is an underground space, 2.65 metres below the ground floor, covered by a vault and hydraulic tile paving, and physically resembles a cistern. In the entrance area where the passageway and stairway are located, two openings in the ceiling have been preserved.

Chapel of the Virgin of the Step (or Chapel of the Assumption)

Construction started in 1402 on the site of the old cloister, and the keystone was placed in July 1404. In around 1407 this chapel was already known as the chapel of the Eleven Thousand Virgins or of Our Lady of the Step as it contained a 13th-century wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, known as the Virgin Mary of the Step because of the step that gave access to the chapel negotiating the difference in height with the original floor of the old cloister. This difference in height was levelled off in 1736. This is the only cloister chapel dating from the 14th century. The statue is currently located in an 18th-century niche.

The “Almoina” Façade

Construction of the “Almoina” façade began in 1498, once work on the neighbouring bell tower had ended.

This is the shortest of the façades because of the adjoining bell tower and a group of other adjacent structures. The façade is named after the neighbouring house, built in 1529 to distribute the alms (“almoina” in Catalan) administered by the Chapter.

The portal, designed in 1498 by Francesc Sagrera, and built in Santanyí stone, has a simpler outline than the other portals and is notable for the purity of its lines. A large pointed arch, supported by jambs and topped by an ogee fleuron, frames a tympanum containing a single statue depicting the Virgin, carved in the 16th century. We should recall that the tympana of the Almudaina Portal and the Mirador Portal also contain images of the titular of the Cathedral. Gargoyles were fitted on the drainage spouts of the buttresses to decorate the façade.

The bell tower

Built on a different alignment to the Cathedral in the late 15th century, the bell tower is 47.80 metres high. The Cathedral’s bell tower is broad, and has a solid appearance and square floor plan. It comprises three superimposed bodies separated by a cornice. The tower is crowned by an unfinished star-shaped structure of buttresses that corresponds to the planned octagonal roof lantern that was left unbuilt in 1498.

The graffiti in the bell tower

The Cathedral is full of graffiti, but the bell tower is where we find the most numerous and important collection, in particular in the belfry.

These graffiti, made with scratches or with pigments, include inscriptions and drawings. Their chronological framework runs from the 15th to the 18th centuries, although they are predominantly from the 17th century.

A first group of inscriptions is attributed to the staff connected to the service of the Cathedral, people linked to the construction and worship (bell ringers, clerics, sacristans, stonemasons, etc.) while a second more numerous group is the work of the asylum seekers who, pursued by justice, fled and sought sanctuary in a holy place.


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Photo credits and content by official site of Palma cathedral.

Palma cathedral was built on a cliff rising out of the sea, making Majorca Cathedral the only Gothic cathedral to be reflected in the water.

With the construction of the Parque del Mar this effect has been restored and so the outline of the Cathedral is again reflected in an artificial salt-water lake that echoes the sea that used to come up to the city walls. This exceptional location is one of the Cathedral’s most distinctive features.

Times of tourist visits to the Museum and Majorca Cathedral:

1 April – 31 May / October:
Mondays to Fridays, 10:00 to 17:15

1 June – 30 September:
Mondays to Fridays, 10:00 to 18:15

2 November – 31 March:
Mondays to Fridays, 10:00 to 15:15

All year: Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:15

* From 14 July to 29 September:
Thursdays from 10:00 to 22:30 for the Palma Thursday Night Shopping

The Almudaina Façade
Construction of the main façade represented the end of the construction of the Cathedral. The façade we see today only conserves the Renaissance portal from the original façade.
This portal, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, dates from the first third of the 17th century. The Immaculate Conception is depicted on the tympanum surrounded by fifteen biblical symbols referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary “toda pulchra”.

Baptistery
The Chapel’s decoration is fundamentally architectural. The baptismal font is located in the centre of the Chapel raised on two steps. With an oval bell-shape, following the traditional shape of ancient sarcophagi, it is all made from a single piece of reddish marble.

Chapel of the Holy Christ of the Souls
This chapel currently houses the fragments of the old altarpiece of Saint Peter that used to decorate the chapel now known as the Chapel of the Eucharist, following the intervention of Miquel Barceló.

Main Sacristy
The Main Sacristy is located in the lower part of the Chapel of the Trinity. This was planned as a single space but was later split into two: the relic room on the ground floor and the charcoal store on the first floor.

The positioning of the reliquary and the coffered ceiling divided this zone into two floors

Chapel of the Holy Eucharist
The chapel of the Holy Eucharist of Majorca Cathedral occupies the right-hand apse of its chevet. It is in a Gothic style and belongs to the oldest part of the fabric of the Cathedral, dating from the 14th century. When built it was dedicated to Saint Vincent Martyr, and a century later we find it dedicated to Saint Peter

The crypt
This space was recently the subject of a study that looked into its origin and possible uses.

It is an underground space, 2.65 metres below the ground floor, covered by a vault and hydraulic tile paving, and physically resembles a cistern. In the entrance area where the passageway and stairway are located, two openings in the ceiling have been preserved.

Chapel of the Virgin of the Step (or Chapel of the Assumption)

Construction started in 1402 on the site of the old cloister, and the keystone was placed in July 1404. In around 1407 this chapel was already known as the chapel of the Eleven Thousand Virgins or of Our Lady of the Step as it contained a 13th-century wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, known as the Virgin Mary of the Step because of the step that gave access to the chapel negotiating the difference in height with the original floor of the old cloister. This difference in height was levelled off in 1736. This is the only cloister chapel dating from the 14th century. The statue is currently located in an 18th-century niche.

The “Almoina” Façade
Construction of the “Almoina” façade began in 1498, once work on the neighbouring bell tower had ended.

This is the shortest of the façades because of the adjoining bell tower and a group of other adjacent structures. The façade is named after the neighbouring house, built in 1529 to distribute the alms (“almoina” in Catalan) administered by the Chapter.

The portal, designed in 1498 by Francesc Sagrera, and built in Santanyí stone, has a simpler outline than the other portals and is notable for the purity of its lines. A large pointed arch, supported by jambs and topped by an ogee fleuron, frames a tympanum containing a single statue depicting the Virgin, carved in the 16th century. We should recall that the tympana of the Almudaina Portal and the Mirador Portal also contain images of the titular of the Cathedral. Gargoyles were fitted on the drainage spouts of the buttresses to decorate the façade.

The bell tower
Built on a different alignment to the Cathedral in the late 15th century, the bell tower is 47.80 metres high. The Cathedral’s bell tower is broad, and has a solid appearance and square floor plan. It comprises three superimposed bodies separated by a cornice. The tower is crowned by an unfinished star-shaped structure of buttresses that corresponds to the planned octagonal roof lantern that was left unbuilt in 1498.

The graffiti in the bell tower
The Cathedral is full of graffiti, but the bell tower is where we find the most numerous and important collection, in particular in the belfry.

These graffiti, made with scratches or with pigments, include inscriptions and drawings. Their chronological framework runs from the 15th to the 18th centuries, although they are predominantly from the 17th century.

A first group of inscriptions is attributed to the staff connected to the service of the Cathedral, people linked to the construction and worship (bell ringers, clerics, sacristans, stonemasons, etc.) while a second more numerous group is the work of the asylum seekers who, pursued by justice, fled and sought sanctuary in a holy place.

Thee construction of Majorca Cathedral, often called La Seu, began in the 13th century. It is a Levantine Gothic-style cathedral (characterised by using a German-style hall layout) and it has one of the largest rose windows in the world, known as “the Gothic eye”. Its nave is also one of the highest in any European Gothic cathedral.

The Cathedral’s history is closely linked to the island’s monarchy. The origins of the most important example of Majorcan Gothic date back to the 13th century. After the conquest of Madina Mayurqa in 1229, James I, King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona, ordered the old main mosque to be consecrated to the Virgin Mary as a place for Christian worship, and also the construction of a new building, in line with the style of that period.

13th and 14th centuries

The earliest historical documents relating to the building of the Cathedral date from 1230 when Bishop Pere de Morella consecrated the altar stone of the main altar. Construction of the building that we know today began during the reign of James II (1276-1311).

In around 1300 the work on the Gothic cathedral began, starting with the Royal Chapel. The current apse retains the funeral chapel that was planned as a resting place for the monarchs of Majorca’s royal house.

15th century

In 1498 work ended on the bell tower, although it was left unfinished. This houses 9 bells, the largest of which is known as Eloi.

In 1400 Guillem Sagrera was put in charge of the building of the Cathedral. He built the Gothic chapter house and directed the work on the Mirador Portal. In 1490, Francesc Sagrera, Guillem’s nephew, designed the Almoina Portal.

The seats from the choir – currently comprising 110 walnut chairs – can be found by the main altar and in the Royal Chapel. Work on the choir started in 1514, and for centuries it occupied the centre of the nave of the basilica.

16th century

During the 16th century, a time when humanist spirituality was of great cultural and religious influence, the door in the main portal, the pediment and the two rose windows were installed. The Casa de la Almoina was also built in this period.

17th and 18th centuries

During the 17th and 18th centuries the Baroque started to fill the inside of the Cathedral in the form of altarpieces, paintings and sculptures shaped by the spirituality of the period following the Council of Trent. From this period it is worth noting such emblematic pieces as the Corpus Christi altarpiece by Jaume Blanquer, the cloister and the new chapter house.

19th century

After the earthquake of 1851, the main façade was left in a precarious condition and so Bishop Miquel Salvà Munar entrusted its restoration to the architect Juan Bautista Peyronet.

20th century

At the start of the 20th century, the architect Antoni Gaudí adapted the Cathedral to meet new liturgical and pastoral requirements. His work, requested by Bishop Pere Joan Campins, continued from 1904 to 1914. The changes involved moving the choir that had until then been located between the second and third sections of the nave, removing the Gothic main altarpiece, making the baldachin for the main altar, incorporating the bishop’s seat in the sanctuary, lighting the space with glazed windows, artificial light and candelabra and also making liturgical furnishings.

The Cathedral brings together the last eight centuries of Majorca’s history, and continues to be a living and constantly evolving thing. These different artistic styles have helped the Cathedral to fulfil one of its main purposes over different eras: to be a reflection of the Celestial Jerusalem.

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