Photo of Palma Cathedral

Visit Palma Cathedral

Palma Cathedral sits on the sea wall above the waterfront of Palma-de-Mallorca and dominates views of the city from the sea. It is known locally as La Seu and stands on the site of a former mosque that was built when the Moors occupied Mallorca.

Explore Palma Cathedral

Palma Cathedral is a large Gothic cathedral built in the 14th century. It is one of the tallest Gothic buildings in Europe. Its height along with its position on top of the sea wall above the Parc de la Mar on the water's edge gives it a particular drama and photos from the sea or the Parc de la Mar, and especially those taken at night are very dramatic.

The cathedral was built under orders of Jaime I of Aragon who having been caught in a storm swore to God he would build a church in His honour if he was led to safety. 

Palma Cathedral

Having safely made it to land Jaime I had the architect Guillem Sagera design a cathedral to stand in place of the mosque which occupied the sight. The result is a beautiful Gothic structure built of golden sandstone and incorporating so many stained glass windows it is called the 'Cathedral of Light'.

It has 61 stained glass windows including seven rose windows, the largest of which is above the High Altar and is over 11 meters in diameter.

The roof is supported by 14 slender pillars, so slender that lots of the weight is taken by the flying buttresses on the outside of the building. The central nave is one of the broadest in the world and also to note are the mausoleums of Jaime II and Jaime III are housed in the Capella de la Trinitat in the cathedral.

As well as the Gothic details of the interior part of its attraction is the remodelling that was carried out by Anton Gaudi in the 20th century. One of his highlights is the wrough iron canopy above the altar, the Baldachino which has small lights all around its edges and a colourful crucifix.

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Gaudi used the knowledge he gained from refurbishing the Cathedral of Palma in his designs for the stunning Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. A recent visit revealed a similarly designed canopy in the Sagrada Familia.

As well as the canopy Gaudi redesigned the Capella Reial, moved the choir, removed the Gothic altarpiece and added light with windows, candelabras and artificial light.

The most unusual part of the cathedral is the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament which has been decorated by the artist Miquel Barcelo in 2001 and is a ceramic covering of the walls with reliefs of bread and fish incorporated to represent the bible story. The conversion of water into wine is also represented.

If you happen to be in Palma on the second day of the second month (Candlemas) or the eleventh day of the eleventh month (Saint-Martin) then you can see a remarkable light phenomenon.

The light shining through the rose window at one end of the cathedral is reflected on the wall underneath the rose window on the other side so that a double rose window can be seen (the real one and the reflection). This is called the figure of eight spectacle.

Also around the winter solstice sunrise can be seen through the two rose windows forming a kaleidescopic spectacle of light.

Before you leave don't miss the Cathedral Museum which houses a 15th century reliquary of the True Cross decorated with gold and jewels.

Palma Cathedral

Places to visit nearby

Be sure to take the wonderful scenic train from Palma-de-Mallorca to Soller. The trip takes you past some fabulous scenery in the historic train and the village of Soller at the other end is a real treat.

Valldemossa is a beautiful village in the mountains to the north of Palma-de-Mallorca and is home to a monastery where George Sand and Frederic Chopin stayed.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Balearic Islands guide.

See also: 

Photos of Palma Cathedral

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Map of Palma Cathedral and places to visit

 
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Palma Cathedral places to visit

Palma-de-Mallorca

Palma-de-Mallorca

Palma is a beautiful city with a Moorish past. Visit the Cathedral, the Palau de l'Aludaina, the Castell de Bellver, Joan Miro's studio and much more.

Palma-de-Mallorca guide
Valldemossa

Valldemossa

Valldemossa is a hill town with a monastery where George Sand and Frederic Chopin once stayed.

Valldemossa guide
Andratx

Andratx

Andratx is a pretty town clustered on a hill above the sea and now an exclusive holiday resort

Andratx guide
Deia

Deia

Deià was once the home of Robert Graves and his grave is here. Deia is one of the most beautiful villages of Spain.

Deia guide
Soller

Soller

Soller is one of Mallorca's nicest towns and the Port de Soller is set in a beautiful bay.

Soller guide
Fornalutx

Fornalutx

Fornalutx is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of Spain. It occupies an idyllic spot surrounded by mountains.

Fornalutx guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Balearic Islands

 
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