Palace of the Kings of Majorca

Perpignan, France

The Palace of the Kings of Majorca is a palace and a fortress with gardens overlooking the city of Perpignan. In 1276, King James II of Majorca made Perpignan the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca. He started to build a palace with gardens on the hill on the south of the town. It was completed in 1309.

In 1415, the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund of Luxemburg, organised a European summit in Perpignan, to convince the Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII to resign his office and take to an end the Western Schism through the Council of Constance. On 20 September 1415, the Emperor met with Pope Benedict XIII at the palace with the King Ferdinand I of Aragon and the delegations of the Counts of Foix, Provence, Savoy, Lorraine, the embassy of the Roman church for the Council of Constance, and embassies from the Kings of France, England, Hungary, Castille and Navarre. The pope refused to resign and to recognise the Pope that the Council had chosen, clashing with the emperor who left Perpignan on 5 November.

Part of the northern wing of the palace was destroyed in a siege in 1502. Following the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, France gained Roussillon, and proceed to develop the defensive features of the palace.

Architecture

The palace was built in the Gothic style. It is organised around three courtyards 60 m square. The first foremen on the site were Ramon Pau and especially Pons Descoyl, very active in Perpignan and the Baleares. It has two chapels, one above the other: the lower is the Queen's Chapel, while the upper is Holy Cross with a pink marble door.

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Details

Founded: 1276-1309
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ino Haasbroek (2 years ago)
You can walk in most of the way, the interior is accessible at a few euros fee.
Mark Hopman (2 years ago)
Such an amazingly well-kept place! I didn't expect much from this place up front, but the palace has been very nicely restored. Take the tour; you'll love it. It's not an activity that fills up an entire day, but definitely worth a visit. The views from the tower are amazing. What's even more interesting is the architecture: influences from across the centuries are all very visible, with the typical Catalan parapets, the Romantic columns, and the chapel interiors beautifully decorated in medieval style. Some of the wall paintings are still visible, as are some of the saints.
Valerie Adler (2 years ago)
Beautiful fortified palace with a great view of Canigou over the view across the city of Perpignan. The gardens are beautiful. It's one of our favourite places for live music in the summer, too!
Anna Paton (3 years ago)
An impressive place with the best view in Perpignan, from the Pyrenees to the airport and to the coast. The castle has some very old wall decorations, 13th century, and it's size and strength put you in awe.
Gaston (3 years ago)
I went on a Saturday (around noon) and it was empty! I had the place to myself pretty much. The staff here is great and very helpful. The palace itself is stunning and I recommend going into every room and exploring all its levels!
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The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

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Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.