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Palace (Interior)

suggested tour around Palma de Mallorca's Royal Palace

The Great Hall

The Guard Passage (Paseo de Ronda) connected the gatehouse to the southeast corner of the Great Hall and it allowed servants to move around unseen. The Great Hall was the hub of the palace in the 15th and 16th Centuries and the King met his guests, held banquets and tried prisoners. The roof of the original two-storey hall was supported by huge arches and was heated by three large fireplaces; large windows also faced out to sea. However, the roof collapsed in 1578 and King Philip II employed Pere Castany, to build a suite of rooms suitable for 16th Century court life. The hall was split into two floors with three rooms on the ground floor and a large hall above. The ribbed vaulted roofs are carved with Philip ll's coat of arms.

The ground floor had a Royal Audience Room, an antechamber and the Council Hall; so named because Juan Carlos I used it to preside over the Council of Ministers in July 1983. The Royal Audience Room was later split into the Hall of Fireplaces (it still has the three fireplaces) and the Hall of the Kings, which has nine portraits of the Kings and Queens of Majorca painted by José Sancho de la Jordana.

palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The Council Hall.
Picture courtesy of the Patrimonio Nacional

palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
King Charles V Hall.
Picture courtesy of the Patrimonio Nacional

The Ground Floor of the King's Palace

The King's household occupied the ground floor of the southwest corner of the palace. The servants occupied the southeast room and the windows open onto the Sea View Terrace (Mirador del Mar) overlooking the harbour; it is called the King Charles V room. The King's scribes used the southwest room and the spiral staircase led directly to the Treasury on the third floor. The northwest room was the guard room and it also had access to the terrace. The northeast room was the officer's room and it was the entrance to the King's Palace's until the 1500s.

The Romans probably built the small private baths known as the Arab Baths and it had three rooms; a cold room (frigidurium); a warm room (tepidurium) and steam room (culdurium). A furnace produced hot air and flues (hypocausts) distributed it under the floors. The baths were improved by the Moors and the Christians but they were hidden during one of the many renovations. They were rediscovered in 1976 and restored.

The Queen's Palace

As you leave the Arab Baths you will see an enclosed area known as the Queen's Courtyard or Spring Courtyard. The Queen's Palace was along the left hand (west) wall and the rooms included the Queen's chamber, Queen's dressing room, Queen's dining-room and the Princesses rooms. There was a kitchen and an intriguingly named secret kitchen which took a lot of their food from the Queen's Garden which is behind the north wall of the courtyard. Galleries were added in the 16th Century. The Queen's Apartments and Garden are now used by the Balearic Military Headquarters and are closed to the public.

palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The hidden Queen's Garden seen from
the Juan March Museum.
palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The Angel Tower seen from
the Parade Ground.

The Angel Tower

The Angel Tower was the castle's original keep, built by the Moors following the attack by the Count of Barcelona in 1115, but it is now in the centre of the north wall of the King's Palace. While the guard room occupied the ground floor, the first floor was the entrance to King's apartments. John I, King of Mallorca from 1395-1400, was fascinated by chemistry and his alchemist occupied the second floor room. The third floor was a prison while guards watched the bay from the top floor. The tower was rebuilt in recent years, as a shorter but sturdier construction. The statue of St Gabriel the Archangel on the top is a weather vane made of bronze-covered wood; it was commissioned by James II in 1310 and made by the sculptor Antoni Camprodén.

An earthquake off the coast of Portugal shook Mallorca in 1755 and the Angel Tower was demolished, fearing it collapse would collapse on the Palace. Another earthquake in 1851 demolished part of the west wall of the Cathedral, opposite the Palace door, and work immediately started to make the palace safer. The top floor of the King's residence was removed, the towers were lowered and a new roof was installed. The refurbished building was then turned into private quarters for visiting heads of state.

The Royal Staircase

The Royal Staircase was built in the 16th Century as a new entrance to the King's apartments, replacing the fortress style spiral stairs. They were built across the south face of St Anne's Chapel, entering the King's Palace through the Queen's Anteroom and the King's Study. A door was added, giving private access to St Anne's Chapel. The grand entrance we see today was built in 1643.

palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The Royal Staircase leads to
the King's Apartments.
Picture courtesy of the Patrimonio Nacional
palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
You can see the original roof arches of the Great Hall.
Picture courtesy of the Patrimonio Nacional

Second Floor of the King's Palace

The first floor was the King's apartments and it originally had four rooms with 16 th Century coffered ceilings. They were the bedroom, dressing room, library and dining room; the King's study was on the second floor of the Angel Tower. The addition of the Staircase in the 1500s meant that the study was turned into the Reception Room. The rest of the rooms also changed; the dining room and library into the Queen's office and anteroom. The king's dressing room is now the office for the king's aides and it had a private chapel until an access was built to St Anne's Chapel. This access room is now the Office of the Head of the Royal Household. The King's bedroom is now the Office of the King of Spain and this was the room where King Jamie the Conqueror accepted the surrender of the city from Emir Abu Yahya on 31 December 1229. The second floor of the Great Hall is next to the King's Office and the old arches are still in place, creating an unusual space for meetings. Return to the parade ground.

The Parade Ground

In Moorish times the courtyard was a huge area where the townspeople gathered when Medina Mayûrqa was under attack. The building of St. Anne's Chapel in the centre, under James II's refurbishment, split the area in two. We have already seen the Queen's Courtyard and the main courtyard was known as the Parade Ground, the Patio of Honour or the Castle Courtyard.

The House of the Majorcan Kings and the Palace Archives occupied the ground floor between the two entrances until they were moved to the Kingdom of Majorca Archives. Workshops and storerooms occupied the remaining ground floor rooms. The staircase led up to the Royal Procurator's Office, where court matters and administration were dealt with; it became the Procurator's Residence in the 18th Century. It was the residence for Heads of State after 1963 and it is now the Patrimonio Nacional office.

palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The Palace Parade Ground.
palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The lion fountain.

The Royal Cellar originally occupied the northeast corner but it was turned into the Weapons Room in 1658. The whole north side of the Almudiana was occupied the War Office and the General Staff offices in 1930 and it is still the Balearic Islands Military Headquarters. The Castle Courtyard was an important area for royal ceremonies but it was also used for jousting and fencing competitions. A well and a fountain with a stone lion stand in the centre.

The Chapels

Work started on two chapels in the courtyard in 1310. Saint James's Chapel was for the King and the smaller St Anne's Chapel was for the Queen. While the exterior of Saint James's Chapel has changed, the interior has not and the gallery where the King heard Mass is still there, facing the altar. Saint Praxedes' Chapel was founded by Alfonso V the Magnanimous in 1432 and it contains relics brought from Rome by James III. Head back to the entrance to complete your visit.

palma de mallorca;s royal palace (interior) from mallorca days out
The entrance to Saint James's Chapel.

For further details about the Palace visit the Palma Council website

suggested tour around Palma de Mallorca's Royal Palace

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