Top historic sites in Majorca

Royal Palace of La Almudaina

The Royal Palace of La Almudaina, Spanish Palacio Real de La Almudaina, is the Alcázar (fortified palace) of Palma, the capital city of the Island of Majorca, Spain. Built as an Arabian Fort, the crown claimed it as official royal residence in the early 14th century. Inside are many empty rooms, however, when King James II began restoration, his design plan included the encompassing of the small, romanesque Chap ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Palma, Spain

Palma Cathedral

Built by the Crown of Aragon on the site of a Moorish-era mosque, Palma cathedral is 121 metres long, 55 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres tall. Designed in the Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences, it was begun by King James I of Aragon in 1229 but only finished in 1601. It sits within the old city of Palma atop the former citadel of the Roman city, between the Royal Palace of La Almuda ...
Founded: 1229 | Location: Palma, Spain

Bellver Castle

Bellver Castle is a Gothic style castle on a hill 3 km to the west of the center of Palma. It was built in the 14th century for King James II of Majorca, and is one of the few circular castles in Europe. Origins The castle"s plan, a circular floor with round towers attached to it, seems to have been inspired by the upper complex of the Herodion, a 15 BCE hilltop palace in the West Bank, that was also circ ...
Founded: 1300-1311 | Location: Palma, Spain

Santuari de Lluc

The Santuari de Lluc is a monastery and pilgrimage site located in a basin on a height of 525 metres and is surrounded by a number of high mountains. The sanctuary was founded in the 13th century after a Moorish shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the site where the monastery was later erected. Lluc is considered to be the most important pilgrimage site on Majorca. It is also known for its boys" ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Escorca, Spain

Ses Païsses

Ses Païsses is a Bronze Age talayotic settlement in northeastern Majorca. It is one of the most important and best-preserved prehistoric sites in the Balearic Islands, although it is largely overgrown with woodland, mainly Quercus ilex (holm oak), making it impossible to see the site as a whole. The Ses Païsses settlement is thought to have begun as a cylindrical talaiot, or 'turriform', built during t ...
Founded: 900-800 BCE | Location: Artà, Spain

Capdepera Castle

The Castle of Capdepera is one of the largest castles on the Majorca island. Its construction began in 310, but in the fourteenth century it was rebuilt on the remains of a Muslim village. The Castle of Capdepera is important to the island as it was from here that the surrender of Menorca, the island neighbouring Majorca in the Balearic archipelago, was accomplished. King James I of Aragon, having conquered Majorca ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Capdepera, Spain

Capocorb Vell

The prehistoric village of Capocorb Vell was one of the largest in Majorca. Nowadays there remain five talayots (Talaiotic culture flourished in Majorca between around 1300 and 800 BC) and 28 dwellings. At Capocorb Vell, about 10km south of Llucmajor, you can see five talaiots and wander around the ancient village, 100m above sea level just inland from the coast. The Talaiotic people kept sheep and the sound of sheep bel ...
Founded: 1100 BC | Location: Llucmajor, Spain

Son Marroig

Son Marroig is a country house & museum dedicated to the Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria (1847-1915). The Archduke"s home at Son Marroig, outside Deia, has been turned into a shrine to his memory, with his photographs, paintings and books and a museum devoted to his life in 1928. In the gardens is a white marble rotunda, made from Carrara marble and imported from Italy, where you can sit and gaze at the Na F ...
Founded: 1928 | Location: Deià, Spain

Alaro Castle

Alaro castle is perched on top a rocky mountain above the town in the west of Mallorca. A popular walk from the town (or further up the hill if you prefer to drive) takes you to a ruined castle and hilltop chapel offering spectacular views of the Tramuntana mountains and over towards Palma and all the way to the sea. A castle has stood on this site since Moorish times; it was so impregnable that the Arab commander was ab ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Alaró, Spain

Sanctuary de Sant Salvador

Sanctuary de Sant Salvador, an old hermitage, 509m above sea level at the highest point of the Serra de Llevant was the senior house of Mallorca"s monastic order and the last to lose its monks in 1992. The walls were built in the 14th century to protect the town from pirates or invaders. There are walkways and a simple cafeteria along the walls, and a neoclassical church, which was built in 1832. It is still a popu ...
Founded: 1348 | Location: Felanitx, Spain

Santueri Castle

Santueri Castle sits on top of a rocky outcrop some 475 metres above sea level. It is a stunning, well preserved castle with remarkable views of the south east of Mallorca and the Cabrera Islands on a clear day. The present walls date from the 14th century but a fortification has existed here since Roman times. The castle"s surrounding area has many caves, with archaeological remains much older, that highlight a con ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Felanitx, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.