The Mallorca Cathedral La Seu
It is a popular photo motive, main attraction and bishop´s see of Mallorca: the Palma Cathedral, also called “La Seu” or “Cathedral of Light”. The Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca has a long history and its construction took 400 years. Today it not only the place for religious locals but also thousands of tourists visit the building and join guided tours on the rooftops.
The history of the Mallorca Cathedral La Seu
The Palma Cathedral is the symbol of the city and bishop´s see at the same time. It was built at exactly the place where the Arabian main mosque stood during the time of the Moors. After the liberation of Majorca from the Moors in 1230, King Jaume I laid the first stone of the church, but the cathedral was completed only 400 years later. Although, in 1587 the construction of the nave was completed and 14 years later consecrated the main portal but the entire structure was completed only in the 19th century. Today we have a building that is one of the most valuable gothic buildings in Spain. The locals call them simply “La Seu” – the bishop’s seat.
Did you know that the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca….?
10 facts and curiosities about the Mallorca Cathedral La Seu
Who would have thought that……? The Palma Cathedral is not only chic to look at, it can also boast some records and offers curiosities that you would not have expected. We introduce you to 10 of these facts and figures.
- La Seu is not only one of the largest Gothic churches in Spain, the eastern main rosette is even considered to be the largest in the world with a diameter of almost eleven meters. The more than 1,200 pieces of colored glass are composed into patterns and floral ornaments and were created in the 14th century.2. The central nave of the Mallorca cathedral has a height of 44 meters, making it one of the tallest in Europe. The two aisles measure 30 meters each. Overall, La Seu is 109.50 meters long and 33 meters wide.
- Long time ago, the walls of the cathedral and the bishop´s palast stretched out to the sea. Even today, the small harbor can still be seen below the Almudaina Palace next to the cathedral. The Almudaina Palace is located next to the Cathedral La Seu in Palma and is the official residence of the King of Spain. In the 1960s, an artificial lake was created below the cathedral which is meant to remind visitors that the city walls once reached the sea. The lake is part of the Parc de la Mar in which open-air screenings of popular movies are offered free of charge in summer time.
- Before the Art Nouveau architect Antoni Gaudi was tragically approached by a tram in Barcelona, he left his signature in the Mallorca Cathedral of Palma. Gaudí made important structural changes and optimized the acoustics. He removed the baroque altar and exposed the old gothic altar. But the famous architect was too creative for the conservative churchmen because he wanted to bring in too many Art Nouveau elements in the Gothic cathedral and so they stopped his work. The chandelier above the high altar still gives an impression of Gaudi’s original design. In 1914 Gaudi finished work on the Mallorca Cathedral La Seu.
- Also the local artist Miquel Barceló left his mark on La Seu Cathedral. He designed the beautiful three-piece ceramic altar in the St. Peter’s Chapel and processed 15 tons of clay. At the inauguration in 2007, also the royal couple Juan Carlos and Dona Sophia of Spain joined the celebration.
- In 1851, large parts of Palma Cathedral were destroyed in an earthquake. The reconstruction and renovation work was partly done in the artificial neo-Gothic style, to the suffering of the originally sublime essence of the cathedral.
- The Cathedral of Palma has a fortified bell tower with a total of 9 bells. The bell ‘N’Eloi’ is especially worth mentioning because of its size. It has a diameter of 2 meters and weighs incredible 4,517 kilos.
- The 15-meter-high entrance gate, which is faced to the sea, the El Mirador portal, is one of the most beautiful vestiges of Spanish pointed arch architecture.
- The built area of the Mallorca Cathedral La Seu is 6,600 sqm and can accommodate 18,000 people. However, the cathedral is never crowded.
- If you take part in a service you save the entrance fee of 12 euros.
Your Luxury Hotel in Mallorca tips for a „different“ visit to the Mallorca Cathedral
Guided tours to the roof terraces of the Cathedral Palma
Since 2016, it is possible to enter the roof terraces of La Seu in a guided tour. Climp up the 215 steps leading from the Portal de l’Almoina to the church tower and enjoy an amazing view of the city, the sea up to the Tramuntana mountains. Here on the top of Mallorca Cathedral, the gothic statues seem more imposing than seen from below, also the large colored rosette window seems oversized. The guided tour in Catalan and Spanish takes about one hour. Group tours for up to 25 people are available. There are different dates for the tour, at some even free of charge.
The light mess in February and November
Did you know why the cathedral Palma is also named “cathedral of light“? That´s the reason: Every year on the 2nd of February and the 11th of November, an impressive light show can be seen in La Seu: around 8:30 am a “light eight” is created. The morning sun falls at exactly the right angle through the large rosette on the eastern front of the cathedral, so that its 1,236 colorful glass pieces on the opposite wall can be seen as in the original.
On the two days of the light show the cathedral opens already around 8 am. At around 8:30 am, the light falls so that the two rosettes, the real and the projected ones, form a colorful eight. Admission to this special event is free.
If you are planning to visit the Palma Cathedral combine your trip with a city stroll. The narrow streets behind the Mallorca cathedral are particularly quaint. Here you find the typical town palaces with magnificent courtyards, numerous churches but also small shops and bars. In the evening light, the area around the Palma Cathedral is even more impressive and makes you feel a bit like in the Middle Ages. You can combine your stroll perfectly with the Arab baths which are in the neighborhood of the cathedral and remind of the time when the largest Moorish mosque in the city stood on the site of the Gothic church, the Palma Cathedral. At the Museo de Mallorca, also in the district behind the cathedral, artifacts and writings tell the story of the island.
We would like to say goodbye with a beautiful poem by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine poet, essayist, and short-story writer whose works have become classics of 20th-century world literature, and who dedicated some verses to our beautiful Cathedral in May 1920.
“Las olas de rodillas
Los músculos del viento
Las torres verticales como goitos
La catedral colgada de un lucero
La catedral que es una inmensa parva
Con espigas de rezos
Los mástiles hilvanaban horizontes
Y en las playas ingenuas
Las olas nuevas cantan los maitines
La catedral es un avión de piedra
Que puja por romper las mil amarras
Que lo encarcelan
La catedral sonora como un aplauso
O como un beso”
Did you these curiosities? leave your comments or your own interesting curiosities that we have left behind.
We look forward to welcoming you soon at Castell Son Claret, your luxury hotel in Mallorca!