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Plaza Cort & Plaza Quadrado



calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Palma's elegant Town Hall.

Plaza de Cort
Palma's Council building, which is known as 'The Town Hall' or 'The Room' has an elegant three storey facade which dominates Plaza de Cort. The large wooden canopy, with its many carved rosettes and corbels, was designed by Gabriel Torres and completed in 1680. Above the central door is the clock which is the focus on attention at midnight on New Year's Eve when people eat twelve grapes in time with the chimes for luck. There are two giants inside the hall and they play a part in the town fiestas.

Plaza de Cort hosts many of the town's fiestas and the ancient olive tree in the centre has seen many sights in its lifetime. Every New Year's Eve the plaza the Ceremony of the Standard, which commemorates the capture of the city by King Jaime I in 1229, is held here. People gather to see Jaime's yellow and red striped banner being hoisted over the square and are to view a huge painting of Jaime the Conqueror and King Martin's helmet, an ancient Mallorcan icon decorated with a dragon. Check out the Puigpunyent webpage to learn about the siege.

Continue south from the plaza along Calle de Palau Reial, past the Town Hall's elegant western facade. Inside the imposing door is an elegant staircase which leads to the council chambers. You will also see four giants representing the King's of Mallorca.

Balearic Parliament Building

Continue south along Calle de Palau Reial to find Antonio Sureda's long colonnade.

The building to the right is the home of the Balearic Islands Parliament and their meetings are held in the Hall of the Cariatides (or Caryatid's, figures of female sculptures which replace columns).

While Palma has its own local government, the Balearic Islands form a province (the equivalent of a county in the United Kingdom) and the parliament decides issues relating to Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.

 

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The entrance to the
Balearic Islands Parliament.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art.

The Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art

At the end of the colonnade is the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art which is sponsored by the Juan March Foundation. Can Gallard del Canyar was built in the 18th Century and architect made the most of the sloping triangular plot by including a large entrance terrace and portico which afford wonderful views across Palma. The house passed to the Descatlar family in the 19th Century but in 1910 it was bought by the banker Joan March, the richest man in Spain.

While Guillem Forteza turned the lower floor into the bank headquarters in 1926, Guillem Reynés redesigned the house above. Today the museum houses art exhibitions, artefacts from the house and an exhibition about the Mallorcan Map Makers . Check out www.march.es to find out more about the Juan March Foundation. The memorial outside the museum remembers José Quadrado, archivist and author of a history of Mallorca.

Calle de l'Estudi General

Head down Calle de l'Estudi General, the narrow lane facing the entrance to the Juan March museum, where there are several old manor house; Ca'n Almeny at number 5 has been in the Alemany family since 1628. The Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Shipping at number 7 was founded in 1886 and if you can look inside the courtyard you will see wrought iron representation of Jaime I entering the city on December 31 1229.

The Llullian General Studio or Llullian and Literary University of Mallorca was founded in 1483 and it moved to the junction with Calle San Roque in 1540 . It had schools of philosophy, theology, medicine and law, and Father Juníper Serra was head of philosophy for a time in the 18th Century. In the basement there are the remains of a Roman temple built to serve the army camp which occupied this area.

The 16th Century Can Ferragut is at number 9 and Ca´n Llorenç Villalonga is at number 15. A plaque remembers that the prolific author Llorenç Villalonga lived here from 1942 until his death in 1980.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The Llullian and Literary University of Mallorca.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
C'an Bordils stands at the end
of Calle de l'Estudi General.


Calle Almudaina

We enter Calle Almudaina at the end of Calle de l'Estudi General and Can Bordils, one of the oldest houses in Palma, looks down on the T-junction. To the left is C'an Oms which was built by Hug de Berard Palou in the XVIth century.

Felipe II granted him a title after driving Ottoman pirates from Cabrera Island . Check out the Watchtowers webpage to find out more about the Ottoman pirates.

Turning right, head under the 11th Century arch which was the east gate into the Moors' citadel. The Almudaina was the complex which occupied the high ground between the Royal Palace and Plaza Cort.

Within in its walls were the Emir's Palace, the main mosque, the market and the houses of the rich and powerful.

Calle Morey

At the end of Calle Almudaina, turn left into Calle Morey. The Morey family lived at number 11 from the 14th Century but Bernat Morey was executed for unknown reasons in February 1531.

The Lord of Estorell, Felip Fuster, bought the house and it was renamed Posada de l´Estorell; we can see the Pacs-Fuster family coat of arms on the facade. There are several fine old manor houses in the street but we are turning left, check out Calatrava webpage to find out more about Calle Morey.

Towards the top end of the street, on the right, is a plaque which remembers Gabriel Guasp's printing which was based in the housed in the building from 1579 until 1931. Continue into Santa Eulalia Plaza.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
One of the entrances
into the Moor's Almudaina.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The Church of Santa Eulalia

Church of Santa Eulalia

Santa Eulalia Plaza is dominated by the elegant facade of Santa Eulalia Church, dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona, a thirteen year old girl tortured and decapitated by the Romans. The church was built in the 13th Century, immediately after the conquest in 1229, and it served as Palma's parish church.

Mallorca's General Grand Council held its first meetings here and they recognised Jaime the Conqueror's son, Prince Jaime as the successor of Mallorca when he came of age in 1256 in the church. He would be crowned Jaime II of Mallorca in 1276.

The building was extended in later years to include the huge rose window and Guillem Ferrer's carving of Saint Eulalia above the entrance. The façade was restored by Joan Sureda i Veri, the Marques of Vivot, in 1893, giving the outside of the building a modern feel. The inside is supported by rough hewn columns while Francisco Herrera built the main altar around 1750.

Calle de Can Savellà

Head north, following the east wall of the church and at the end turn right into Calle de Can Savellà, a long narrow street with many fine houses and courtyards. Can Sureda is at number 4 and Joan Sureda was a strong supporter of Felipe de Anjou during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1715). In 1711 the Austrians ruled Mallorca and a conspiracy supporting the Bourbon family was organised in the house.

Joan Sureda was arrested, sent to Barcelona and condemned to death but he managed to escape and returned to Mallorca with the Bourbon fleet. He was awarded the title Marquis de Vivot by Philip V in 1717 and the house was renamed Can Vivot.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Carriages await their owners inside
Can Sureda's courtyard.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Can Barceló.

Plaza Quadrado

Turn right at the end of Calle de Can Savellà and after 50 metres you enter Plaza Quadrado. The plaza is surrounded by a number of fine buildings including the modernist Can Barceló at the opposite corner (northeast corner). The bell tower and rear of Church of Sant Francesc overlooks the square; check out the Santa Eulalia and the Temple webpage to learn more about the church.

Leave Plaza Quadrado at the northwest corner and follow Calle de sa Posada de Terra Santa (an intriguing name, The Start of the Holy Land Street) into one of the oldest parts of the town. The narrow streets are lined with high houses and the overhanging eaves make sure that the hot sun cannot reach street level. At the end of the narrow street we find Can Dameto de la Quartera, a 15th Century house. Continue straight on across Calle de sa Samaritana onto Calle de Can Sanç.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The ancient shop fronts of the Call Menor.

Call Menor

At the end of Calle de Can Sanç turn right into Plaza d'en Coll. The streets to the south and southwest of the plaza were known as the Call Menor and they are named after trades, Argenteria (silversmiths), Carnisseria (butchers), Vidrieria (glassmakers). Palma's Jewish community originally lived in the Call Major district to the east of the cathedral but in August 1391 the Church sought to clear them out. They blamed tax rises on the community and the mobs took to the streets, killing around 300 of the 2,500 strong community and burning many houses to the ground. Some of the survivors emigrated, fearing for their lives but the rest had to move to the narrow streets behind Sant Eulalia Church. Check out the Inquisition webpage for more information.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Modernist houses look down
on Plaza Marques del Palmer.

Calle Colom

Leave Plaza d'en Coll via the northwest corner and head west to Plaza Marques del Palmer. Look up at the modernist houses called 'El Aguila' or 'The Eagle'. They were designed by Gaspar Bennasar and Jaume Alenya and the riot of decoration was influenced by Antonio Gaudí.

Turn left and walk 150 metres down Calle Colom to return to Plaza Cort. The road was named after Joanot Colom, leader of the Brotherhoods army during a revolt against the barons in 1522/23.

Colom was eventually captured and hung, drawn and quartered for daring to oppose the Crown.


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