Palma Cathedral, in the heart of Palma de Mallorca, is a Gothic masterpiece with invaluable history embedded in every rock. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi and contemporary artist Miquel Barceló and features the largest rose window in Europe.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was Palma Cathedral. The marvelous church took centuries to build: the idea was conceived in the early 13th century, with construction starting in 1229. King Jaume I laid the foundation of the church after the liberation from the Moors, with countless architects and craftsmen employed to make it a reality.
Many know that Palma Cathedral or “La Seu” is one of the largest Gothic churches in Spain. However, few are aware that the church’s eastern rosette is among the largest in the world. With a diameter of nearly 11 meters, the rosette has over 1200 pieces of colored glass composed of patterns and floral ornaments. These were created in the 14th century.
Miquel Barceló added his creative touch to the Palma Cathedral, with his legacy comparable to Gaudi in the church’s context. The local artist designed the three-piece ceramic altar in the St. Peter’s Chapel and processed 15 tons of clay. When the altar was inaugurated in 2007, Royal couple Juan Carlos and Dona Sophia joined the celebration to everyone’s surprise.
Part of what makes Palma Cathedral a unique attraction is its extensive collection of gargoyles and grotesques. The stone carvings dominate the church’s exterior and often depict mythical creatures or grotesque figures. They serve decorative as well as practical purposes: the figures channel rainwater away from the church, keeping it dry and neat throughout the year.
You can feel the spiritual air when you enter the Palma Cathedral. It is a given for a church, but alignment also plays its part. The cathedral is aligned intentionally with a magnetic compass. It points east, in the direction of the rising sun. This orientation might add to the church’s positive energy and spiritual allure.
Palma Cathedral is home to the tombs of many Spanish royals, such as King James II of Majorca. You can see these tombs on your visit to the cathedral and read the contribution of these royals to the cathedral, Mallorca, and Spain. The tombs rest in the Royal Chapel, an annex to the main structure.
According to legend, a drought in the 1500s caused the image of the church displayed in the cathedral to shed tears. The unique event, known as the Miracle of the Weeping Christ, drew the attention of everyone in Spain and worldwide. Many pilgrims visited the attraction from all corners to see Christ shed tears.
UNESCO recognition was only a matter of time, given Palma Cathedral’s religious and cultural importance to the city. The accolade arrived in 2011, with UNESCO designating the cathedral as part of the "Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana." Although late, the recognition underpins Palma Cathedral’s importance to the people of Mallorca and Spain.
Palma Cathedral was built over three centuries, with construction completed at the start of the 17th century.
Palma Cathedral is 121 meters long and 55 meters wide, while its nave is 44 meters tall.
Several artists, including Antoni Gaudi and Miquel Barceló’, helped build Palma Cathedral.
The exact number of artworks inside Palma Cathedral is unclear. However, it is safe to say the church is home to hundreds of unique art pieces and sculptures.