Churches / Cathedrals, Palma de Mallorca
Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is more commonly known as La Seu.It is the second largest Gothic cathedral in the world,and the islands most visited building.Work started on the cathedral in 1230 and continued for 400 years,but had to resume in 1851 when an earthquake destroyed the west front.
For me,seeing the cathedral from the outside was more impressive than the inside.If possible see it a couple of hours before sunset when the golden sandstone is an amazing colour in the sunlight.
This impressive Baroque-style portal belongs to the Church of Montesión (Monti-sion in Catalan). The church was built in the mid-sixteenth century by the Jesuits upon their arrival in Mallorca on the site of an older synagogue. It took a century to complete the church and this portal was only added in the 17th century. The church and the attached monastery became a centre of activity in the city until the Suppression in 1767. It was closed when I visited on a Sunday in Aug 2015 so I was unable to enter, but pictures I've seen indicated that the interior is a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
As indicated by the Maltese cross carved above its entrance, this small church in the heart of the old town is dedicated to Saint John of Malta (San Juan de Malta in Spanish and Sant Joan de Malta in Catalan). The actual structure was built in the 19th century as a replacement to an older church that originated in the 13th century, i.e. soon after the Christian takeover of Mallorca and was thus probably built on the ruins of a mosque.
Dating from the 13th century, the Convent of Santa Clara was established by a group of nuns from the Monastery of Santa Maria de Tarragona. It was built on the site of Arab-period construction, probably a mosque. Over the years, it was expanded and renovated to the state we see today, and in the process, some of the original Gothic architecture was replaced by Renaissance or Baroque features. The main church is mostly Renaissance in style, as seen in the attached photographs.
One of the largest and most important churches in Palma de Mallorca, Santa Creu (Santa Cruz in Spanish) was built in the 14th century on land donated by the Bishop of Barcelona. Its location with direct access to the port through Puerta Santa Catalina, the city gate formerly known as Bab al-Jadid under the Arabs, made it popular among the sailors and fishermen of Palma. Construction began in 1335 and lasted over a century giving the church a mix of styles in the process. Though much of the architecture is considered late Gothic, the remarkable entrance (see main photo) exposes its Baroque intrusions. Unfortunately, we arrived for our visit just as the caretaker was closing the church and he would not let us in. Perhaps next time!
Simple yet beautiful, the small Chapel of Saint Felix (Oratori de Sant Feliu in Catalan) is one of the oldest surviving Christian structures on the island of Mallorca. It was in the 13th century built immediately after the conquest of the island from the Arabs. The minor Renaissance and Gothic details on its exterior are later additions to the otherwise plain structure. It was constructed by the Abbot of Sant Feliu de Guixols who aided King Jaime I in the conquest of the island and was thus granted a piece of land in this part of Palma. In recent history, the chapel was deconsecrated and remained closed, but it has now reopened as an art gallery, Galeria Kewenig, and is thus open for visitors. Unfortunately, I walked past it on a Sunday when it was closed.
Immediately after the conquest of the island by the Christians, a mosque on this site was converted into a church dedicated to Saint Michael (Sant Miquel in Catalan). In the early 14th century, the mosque structure was destroyed and replaced with the existing Gothic church, which was completed with the construction of the tower in 1320. Sant Miquel is thus counted as one of the oldest churches in Palma. It was closed when I visited, unfortunately, but I've read that a renovation in the 18th century completely transformed the interior into the baroque style, but retained only one cusped arch. Beautiful frescoes cover the barrel vault above the altar.