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Palma Cathedral (Interior)

suggested tour around Palma de Mallorca cathedral

The Cathedral Museum

We enter the cathedral though the Alms House which was the room for organising charitable help for the sick and the poor. The next three rooms hold some of the cathedral's treasures. The first is the Sacristy of the Vermells, named after the vermillion red cassocks worn by the altar boys. It is also the bell tower's ground floor. It is filled with religious treasures including the transportable altar which Jaime the Conqueror brought to Mallorca in 1229.

The next room is the Old Capitular Room which is decorated with Gothic paintings. In the centre is the tomb of Gil Sancho Muñoz (1370-1446) who was the Anti- Pope Clement VIII . The Western Schism in 1378 resulted in two Popes and Clement succeeded Benedict XIII , who was known as Papa Luna, in 1423 as the last of the Avignon line of Popes. He resigned at the request of Alfonso V of Aragon in 1429 and was made Bishop of Mallorca as his reward. The adjacent Capitular Room was redecorated in the early 1700s with a domed roof and a decorative arch with crucifix; two enormous candelabras are in the room.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
Anti-Pope Clement VIII's tomb is in the centre of the Old Capitular Room.
Picture courtesy of
Editorial Escudo de Oro, S.A.
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The nave and aisles combine to form a huge inspiring space for worship
Picture courtesy of
Editorial Escudo de Oro, S.A.

The Nave

Before visiting the chapels around the walls of the cathedral take time to appreciate the beauty of the huge nave and the coloured light streaming in through over 90 stained glass windows, particularly from the two large rose windows. The nave and the aisles measure 121 meters long and 40 metres wide and slender octagonal pillars hold up the vaulted roof. The pillars are over 21 metres, the same height as the aisles, while the nave is nearly 44 metres high. On each side buttresses divide the side aisles into eight chapels while the Alms Door to the north and the Mirador Door to the south have wider openings. While the two side aisles have chapels at the east end, the nave has the Royal Chapel, with its choir and altar, at its east end. The Trinity Chapel and the Sacristys are hidden away behind the Royal Chapel.

The Southwest Corner

You enter the nave through the Chapel of Mercy, which was formerly the Chapel of Saint Anne and then the Chapel Saint James. The tombstone of Guillem Sagrera, one of the cathedral architects, is on the right hand wall.

The Vestibule to the Vermillion Sacristy is next and the stone arch, carved by Juan de Salas in 1526, was moved here from the choir in the centre of the nave by Antonio Gaudí. It was originally dedicated to the Mallorcan Saint, Santa Catalina.

Work started on the Alms Door, the cathedral's north door, in 1498 and it was built on the site of Saint Barbara's Chapel.

The Chapel of Saint Joseph was originally dedicated to the Alms. It was rededicated in 1886 and restored in 1991.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The eastern rose window is the
largest in the world.
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The statue in Saint Sebastián's chapel.
Picture courtesy of
Editorial Escudo de Oro, S.A.

The Chapel of Saint Sebastián is dedicated to the patron saint of Palma de Mallorca. The city was suffering from a plague in 1524 when the Archdeacon of Rhodes, Michael Suriaviachi, arrived with a relic of Saint Sebastian, who was martyred in 287 A.D. The plague mysteriously ended and the council proclaimed him patron saint in 1643 with his feast day on 20 January. Pope Pius IX confirmed the appointment in 1868. The statue of San Sebastián was brought from Rome in 1757.

Either side are paintings of Cabrit and Bassa who were killed for defending Alaró Castle in 1286. They were grilled alive after telling King Alfonso of Aragon that his name sounded like that of a fish; their remains were found in the base of the Chapel of Mercy. Check out the Alaró webpage in the Raiguer North section to find out more.

The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception was dedicated to All Saints until the 17th Century; there is a statue of the Virgin in the centre.

West Wall

The All Souls Chapel has an image of the Holy Christ of the Souls. There is a large rose window above the Main Door and twice a year the sun shines through the east window, casting a colourful circle directly below the west rose window. This part of the roof was always unstable, and sections collapsed on several occasions. An earthquake in 1660 brought down two arches and pushed the wall off the vertical and it did not stop moving. Another earthquake on 15 May 1851 brought down the upper part of the wall and part of the ceiling. The plaque commemorates the rebuilding works which took 37 years to complete. The sombre marble baptistery has a large 18th Century font with a gilded bronze figure of the Mystic Lamb on top.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The rose window on the west wall.
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The first image worshipped in the cathedral.

Southeast Corner

Our Lady of the Navigators is still remembered at the top of Saint Benedict's Chapel. The rededication was carried out in the 18th Century and his statue is the centre; the remains of the Roman martyr Saint Vicentet are on the altar.

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart was originally dedicated to the Holy Guardian Angel and then to San Vicente Ferrer, a 15th Century Dominican Friar. It was rededicated in the 18th Century and a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was added later.

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption was initially dedicated to St Ursula and then the Imaginis Passio; it was redesigned for Our Lady of the Assumption in 1574. The late 13th or early 14th Century statue of the Virgin and Child was the first image worshipped in the cathedral and it originally stood behind the main altar.

The Mirador Door, or Lookout Door, looks out onto the sea. Gaudí placed the altarpiece above the door in 1904 while the statues were moved to the Royal Chapel.

Northeast Side

A fire destroyed Saint Bernardo's Chapel in 1912 and Joan Rubio completed the restoration by 1921. The Mallorcan sculptor Vila Takings carved the sculptures of Cistercian saints and episodes from Saint Bernardo's life.

In the Chapel of Saint Martin, Francisco Herrera's altar of 1723 has sculptures of San Martin and San Vicente Ferrer.

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Crown was originally dedicated to the Passion of Christ and then to the Rosary. There is a recumbent statue of the Virgin with painting of saints above and Bishop Galiana's tomb is t o the left; he died in 1375. It was restored in 1992 when three stained glass windows were added to illuminate the chapel.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
Saint Bernardo's chapel.
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament
has a modern marine theme.

The Chapel of Saint Anthony of Padua was dedicated to Saint William before it was rededicated to the 13th Century Franciscan Saint. It too has stained glass windows illuminating the area.

The Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was originally dedicated to St Vincent and then to Saint Peter. It was decorated with a modernist marine theme by Miquel Barcelo in 2007 and dedicated to the Adoration of the Eucharist.

The Chapel of the Holy Trinity

The Chapel of the Holy Trinity is hidden behind the Royal Chapel and it is accessed via the Outer Sacristy and the Main Sacristy to the right. The chapel was completed in 1329 under Jaime II's instructions as a tomb for the Mallorca Kings but only two were buried here, Jaime II and Jaime III. While the floor tiles date from the Moorish period, the Kings' sarcophagi were carved by the Catalan sculptor, Frederic Mares, in 1947.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
Jaime II, who wanted the Trinity Chapel
built for his tomb.
Picture courtesy of Editorial Escudo de Oro, S.A.
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The Royal Chapel wa
redesigned by Antonio Gaudí'.

The 14th Century Royal Chapel was the original place of worship and it was reworked by Antonio Gaudí between 1904 and 1914. The centrepiece is the large alabaster altar while the large tiara shaped candelabra is decorated with hundreds of lights. He moved the choir seating from the centre of the nave to the outer walls of the chapel and decorated the back wall either side of the Bishop's throne with ceramic decoration. He also moved the two 16th Century pulpits either side of the Chapel, giving them contrasting canopies. The tomb of Bishop Guillem de Vilanova (1318), who watched over the early work on the cathedral, is in the Chapel of St Gabriel to the left while his successor, Bishop Berenguer Batle (1349), is buried in the Chapel of Santa Eulalia to the right.

Northwest Side

The Chapel of St Cecilia was rededicated to the Descent from the Cross in 1739. The tomb of Bishop Arnau Marí of Santacilla (1464) is on the left wall and tomb of Brother J. Font y Roig (1613) is on the right wall .

The Chapel of St Mary Magdalene but changed to St Jerome in the 16th Century and the statue of St Jerome is in the centre. The Marquis of Romana's tomb (1811) is on the right wall; he served under the Duke of Wellington from 1809 to 1811 in the Peninsula War.

The Chapel of the Corpus Christi was originally dedicated to St Matthew but it now celebrates the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. The elaborate 16th Century altar was made by James Blanquer and he is buried behind it. The tomb of the first Bishop of Mallorca , Ramon de Torrella (1266), is on the left hand wall.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The Chapel of the Corpus Christi.
Picture courtesy of Editorial
Escudo de Oro, S.A.
Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)
The Cloisters.

The Cloisters

The Cloisters were completed in 1707 behind the former chapter house and they have arcaded corridors, an upper gallery and a well in the centre. Ancient carvings are mounted on the walls.

The Santa Lucia room houses the cathedral shop, just before the exit. Three Roman plinths discovered during the renovations are on show beneath a transparent floor.

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