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Palma Cathedral history rewritten

Older than we thought

spectacle of the eight

Perhaps the stand out feature of Palma's architectural heritage, its magnificent Gothic cathedral has long been believed to have been started in 1306 by King Jaime II. Its history goes back much further to the year 1229 when King Jaime I was on his way to Mallorca across a storm tossed Mediterranean sea en route to reclaim the island from the invading Moors.

Fearful of the lives of all concerned and his mission against the Muslims, he promised God that he would build a great cathedral should he succeed in his mission.

Soon after, he landed in Mallorca, defeated the Arabs and ceremonially laid the foundation stone of the new cathedral slap bang on top of the mosque that the devout Muslims were using in Palma – hence the cathedral being oriented towards Mecca!

It was long assumed that no further building took place and the existing mosque was used as a church until the new king Jaime II came along to start construction in 1306. Now, thanks to the investigative work of a Mallorca architect, Miquel Ballester, who has just unearthed evidence that construction was actually started some time between 1240 and 1250!

His findings for his university thesis for which he achieved an outstanding mark prove that the cathedral is around half a century older than previously thought and started by King Jaime senior and not his son!

Well, no matter how old it really is, it's still a great place to visit in Palma, whether for a trip up to its roof or to admire the interior design work of Gaudi or Barcelo, or most spectacularly, witness the spectacle of the eight light show.