Palma Cathedral

Palma, Spain

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 Almudaina and the episcopal palace. It also overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea.

Light pours in through the rose window - one of the world's largest, 12m across and studded with 1,236 pieces of stained glass. The columns are ringed with wrought-iron candelabra designed by Gaudi.  His most controversial addition is the unfinished Crown of Thorns, fashioned from cardboard and cork and suspended above the altar.  Be sure to walk around to the south front, facing the sea, to look at the Portal del Mirador a 15th-century door by Guillem Sagrera featuring scenes from the Last Supper.

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Address

Plaça de la Seu 5, Palma, Spain
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Details

Founded: 1229
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Elizavetha T (2 years ago)
Beautiful cathedral! Well worth a visit! We went on Sunday during a one hour period where entrance is free, and walked around for a bit. Everything is clean, beautiful stained glass, and amazing design!
Małgorzata Kokot (2 years ago)
The cathedral really makes a great impression from outside. But information on the information table in front of the entrance are incorrect. I really wanted to participate in the mass on the second day of Easter but the door were closed. I just can assume that you don't want to let tourists inside while the celebration. But when I supposed to come to be allowed to participate in the mass? 15 minutes earlier? 20 minutes earlier? It's a church, not an exclusive club. And churches should be open, especially in the celebration time. Come on.
Oskar Malmberg (2 years ago)
Good service but we ordered prawns and they were with the shell on. I have never seen anyone eat them with Shells in my entire life. I tried but its not good.maybe THE other food is better...
Roselyne Marot (2 years ago)
Beautiful place. A lot of superb statues, artistic scenes. Audio guide available. Don't be afraid if you see a big bee-line outside. It goes in very quickly. Worth visiting! :)
Nate Betts (2 years ago)
Absolutely stunning. High roof have allowed this beautiful cathedral to house so many interesting sights. Alcoves line the walls with altars and prayer areas. While we visited, we also heard a small orchestra practice; truly an added bonus. Well worth a visit, when your tours fall through.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.