Palma – Palma Cathedral

There’s no missing the beauty of Palma Cathedral when walking along the harbour and the line of the former city walls, it dominates the landscape like some ship moored on the land. And, it’s a beautiful building.

There’s an admission charge of €8 to get in, although I had already purchased a ticket which gives entry into numerous religious buildings in the city. The staff member at the front desk was aware of this ticket and a rope was pulled away by a security guard to let me in, a brief feeling of being a VIP…. Although, on the matter of the entrance fee, it does seem quite expensive by all accounts, but it was a busy cathedral and so it clearly hadn’t put many off entering.

The frontage of the cathedral, which had been constructed on top of what was formerly a Mosque, which was partly pulled down when the Moors were defeated, with the rest falling down around a century later. Work started on the cathedral in 1229 on the instruction of King James I of Aragon, but work didn’t finish until 1601. We all have civil engineer friends like that, let’s be honest.

A photo looking along the nave, with the cathedral having a feel of some considerable space, not least because this is the highest nave in Spain (although Wikipedia disagrees with the cathedral’s booklet, saying that the Sagrada Família is higher, but I won’t quibble either way), at 44 metres in height. It’s also the eighth highest nave in the world, so it was worth the wait for them to build it.

The altar.

This is something quite different, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, designed to encourage visitors to think about the miracle of how bread and fish could feed thousands. It’s in a chapel dedicated to the Last Supper and it was attracting some interest, although it has been here for around fifteen years.

The cloister area, which is moderately beautiful, although nothing akin to the grand Gothic style of the Royal Monastery.

Visitors exit the cathedral after they’ve visited the cloisters, although they have to go through the shop first. Then there were two visitors, with one rather assertive female being told she couldn’t take her ridiculously big baggage into the building with her. She was haggling with the security staff and they kindly agree to let her go in for twenty minutes whilst they looked after her bag, then suggested her husband (or who I assume was her husband) could then go in for twenty minutes whilst she looked after the bag. On a technical point, I couldn’t see the point of that, as if they weren’t going in together they didn’t need the security staff to look after the bag at all. But, then the lady decided that she couldn’t possibly go in on her own anyway and she said she’d instead be finding a cafe. There will probably be a 1/5 TripAdvisor review this time next week.

Actually, on the subject of TripAdvisor, this is my favourite review on the cathedral: (it’s all one review, I’ve broken it up)

“Any church or cathedral, when visited upon paying a fee, loses its luster and holiness as a place for worship of the Most High God and Jesus Christ, and should therefore by all means be boycotted by tourists as a matter of principle, whether you are a believer or not.”

It is the highest rated attraction in Mallorca and would likely be swamped by visitors during the summer months if it was free, I can’t imagine that does much for its holiness either.

“Having visited Palma de Mallorca, Spain, twice since 2011, the more recent occasion being this past April of 2019 as one of our ports of call on MSC Seaview, I have made a point of not paying a fee to visit this particular “cathedral”, nor have I done so with respect to any such places of worship located elsewhere for charging fees such as the Duomo in Milan.”

The MSC Seaview holds over 5,000 passengers, which is half the reason that cities such as Palma have such problems with visitor numbers….

“Regardless of these comments, I wish to note for the purpose of this review that the “Cathedral of Mallorca”, when seen from outside, does not remind you of its history as a former mosque.”

The mosque was pulled down, it’s not entirely surprising the exterior doesn’t look like a mosque. It does though look quite like a cathedral.

“How should I rate this “cathedral” or former mosque, without having seen its interior?”

Not at all? Just how useful can a review be of a location that someone hasn’t visited?

“Well, it should not be that hard.”

Oh good.

“Having visited the Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome thirty years ago in January of 1989, Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London in January of 2000, the National Cathedral in Mexico City in June of 2016, and Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, Italy, this past April of 2019, among numerous magnificent churches and cathedrals around the world over the past 30 years, I will not hesitate to dismiss Catedral de Mallorca as something not worthy of my time or respect. Period.”

I’ve been to all of these locations (and St. Paul’s charges) and Palma Cathedral has little in common with any of them. Period.

“Shouldn’t you do the same?”

No.

Anyway, in my usual tradition, more posts to come as I seem to have taken far too many photos again.