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HOME PAGE - Areas of the Island - Palma (City) - The Calatrava District

The Calatrava District

The Calatrava district in the southeast corner of the city is named after a military style religious order founded in Castile in 1158. They took part in the conquest Mallorca in 1229 and while Nuño Sancho gave this part of the town to the Order in 1234, they sold the properties in 1247 and returned to the mainland.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Looking back along
Calle Monte-sión

Calle Mont-Sion

Exit the east side of Santa Eulalia Plaza and follow Calle Can Fortuny, a dog leg street for 150 metres. Continue straight on along Calle Mont-Sion into what was once the Jewish Quarter. On 2 August 1391 landowners, tradesmen and peasants went on the rampage around here in protest rising taxes. Dominican friars blamed the tax rises on the Jews and the mob responded burning houses and murdering 300 Jews. The survivors had to sell their properties and move to Calle Minor on the opposite side of Santa Eulalia Plaza. Check out the Inquisition webpage in the Organisations section for more information.

Church of Montesión

Heading east along Seminary Street we find the Church of Montesión and the Jesuits College. The street was known as Calle Major and the church stands on the site of the Great Synagogue of Mallorca. This was the Jewish Quarter until it was attacked in 1391 following difficult times. Over 300 Jews were killed and the rest were forced to convert and sell their properties. See the webpage on the Inquisition in the Organisations section to find out more.

The Church of Montesión was built between 1571 and 1683 and it was inspired by Father Bartomeu Coch. The huge decorative entrance was built from 1624 to 1683 and it has sculptures of Saint Ignacio and Saint Francis Xavier, co-founders of the Society of Jesuits in 1539, either side. St. Alonso Rodriguez (1532-1617), a Jesuit lay brother who worked for 46 years, is buried in the chapel of the same name; he was canonised in 1887.

The Old Seminary (now the House of the Church) is 50 metres to the east. It was founded by Bishop of Mallorca Pere d'Alagó in 1699 and built between 1727 and 1772. The building houses the Bishop's offices and a missionary centre. A church d edicated to St. Peter was completed at the southwest corner of Saint Jerome's Plaza in 1894.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The Church of Montesión.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The College of Wisdom.

Saint Jerome's Plaza

The College of Wisdom (Collegi de la Sapiència) was established by Canon Bartomeu Llull on the north side of the plaza in 1629 to provide free teaching for twelve poor theological students. The cloister has a double ring of columns and arches and there is a statue of Ramon Llull in the centre.

Sisters Mariana Busquets , Yolanda Dameto and Magdalene St. Joan founded the Convent of St. Jerome in 1485 on the east side of the plaza. The building was extended in the 16th Century and the Church was added in the 17th Century. Turn left in front of the church door and then right again, along the north wall of St. Jerome Convent. The Military of Defense offices are across the road in what were the home of Dr. Emili Darder, the Republican mayor of Palma. Darder was arrested when the Spanish Civil War started and he was executed in 1937.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The entrance to the Convent
of St. Jerome.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
An example of the Moorish wall which once surrounded Medina Mayûrqa.

Porta de Camp Plaza

Just beyond the convent is a small park with a Calvary cross; Porta de Camp Plaza or Field Gate Square. It stands on the site of the city's east gate. In Moorish times it was known as Bab-al-Yadid and there is a section of 12th Century wall with battlements and a tower alongside. This gate was besieged by a combined army of Catalan and Pisan soldiers starting in June 1114. After breaking three holes in the wall with siege engines, they used Greek fire to cause havoc before breaking into the city. Check out the Moors webpage in the History section to find out more.

The Prince's Bastion

To the south is the Prince's Bastion, with sloped walls, gun platforms and a corner watchtower. The bastion was built in 1690 and after 1801 it was nicknamed the Red Bullet Bastion due to the new furnace built cast cannon balls. The bastion is currently being restored but it will soon be possible to walk around the walls.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
An architect's interpretation of what the
Prince's Bastion will look like.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Santa Fe Church.

Santa Fe Plaza

Turn right into Santa Fe Plaza where there is a church of the same name which stood on the site of a synagogue dating from 1314. When two German Christians came to Mallorca i n 1344, intending to convert to Judaism, Bishop Vilanova decided to make a stand. He stopped them converting and forced them to hand over their money, using it to build the church.

Head west and then turn left into Calle Portella del Mar, Sea Gate Street. Walk south to the gate and after having a look through, turn right, following the line of the city wall. One of the houses on the right was the birthplace of Antoni Maura (1853-1925), Prime Minister of Spain on five different occasions between 1903 and 1922. His statue is in Plaza Mercat in the centre of Palma.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Antoni Maura's House.
calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Looking from Berard's Bastion towards the cathedral.

Berard's Bastion

Berard's Bastion is a two level gun bastion and it was named after the military engineer Jeroni Berard i de Sola. There are fine views of the cathedral to the west but while the sea once lapped the foot of the walls, there is now a park with sculptures by Bertran Guinovart in front of the bastion. Continue west to the steps leading down to the Portella Gate.

Portella Gate

To the left of the gate is the courtyard of Ca'l Marquès de la Torre dating from early 18th Century. The house was built for Nicholas Truyols i Dameto who was awarded the title of Marques de la Torre in 1707. It has been the College of Architects since 1982.

The building next door was the Count of Spain's House until it was reformed in 1835 to house the Carthusian monks after Valldemossa Monastery was confiscated. Check out the Valldemossa webpage in the Tramuntana Mountain West section to find out where they used to live.

Take note of the elaborate eaves and wooden balconies on the building across the road as you turn right and then left under a large arch dating from 1632. This was the original part of the Palace of the Count of Santa Maria Formiguera, or Ramon Zafortesa. Zafortesa extended the palace up the hill, creating a huge complex. He also gained the nickname El Comte Mal, or the Evil Count, for being cruel to his tenants, killing the leaders when they rebelled. He was also cruel to his wife and when she escaped into the nearby Santa Clara Convent he broke in and took her home.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The corner of the
Evil Count's House.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Inside the Arab Baths.

The Arab Baths

The entrance to the Arab Baths is off Calle de Can Serra and inside there is a small garden and the ancient bath house. The small 11th or 12th Century building has a hot room, a cold room and a massage room, built in the Moorish using stone taken from older buildings. Continue to the top of Calle de Can Serra and then turn sharp right onto Calle Santa Clara noting the coat of arms of the butchers' guild on the house on the right .

Convent of Santa Clara

The Convent of Santa Clara was founded in 1256 by the Order of Poor Ladies and it is the oldest convent on Mallorca. Pass through the door into the large courtyard and while entrance garden is to the left, the church is straight ahead with a statue of Santa Clara d'Assisi above the door. The church was reformed in the late 18th Century but one of the bells in the gothic bell tower dates from 1300. On leaving the courtyard, retrace your steps along Calle Santa Clara, before turning left into Carre Puresa. The street was named after the Convent of Purity, a women's school setup by Bishop Bernard Nadal in 1808.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The entrance to Santa
Clara Church.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
The Museum of Mallorca's courtyard.

Turning left into Calle de Pont y Vic, we come to the large 18th Century house called Ca la Gran Christian, the House of the Great Christian, the nickname of Catarina Zafortesa i de Togores. The coat of arms of the seventh Earl of Aiamans is over the entrance arch and it leads to a large courtyard filled with artefacts. The building has been the Museum of Mallorca since 1975 and it will be once again when the building works are complete.

Calle d'En Morey

Turn sharp right into Calle de Portella and head north into Calle d'en Morey, named after the Morey family, one of the knights who came to Mallorca with Jaime the Conqueror in 1229. Ca´n Ordines d´Almadrà on the left stands on the site of a Roman cemetery and it has two intriguing carvings of woman with a finger on their lips inside the courtyard; the inscription reads "Marry and be quiet. Silence will bring you jewels." Number 9 opposite was built by the Descós family but it was bought by the Oleza family in the early 1600s; another family who accompanied Jaime the Conqueror to Mallorca and were knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem . 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.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
Calle Morey is full of
important houses.

calatrava district of palma de mallorca
One of the 12th Century gates
into the Almudania.

If you look up Calle Almudania to the left you will see the 12th Century gate into the Almudania. Towards the top end of the street, on the left, 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.

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