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Santa Cruz (Holy Cross)

The Santa Cruz , or Holy Cross, area of the city was the merchants' area of the city. Mallorca was on the Mediterranean trade routes and Palma harbour was an important place to buy and sell goods. Taxes from cash crops to cloth and from slaves to spices made the city prosperous. Foreign traders also established their overseas offices in the Holy Cross district and the merchant community a rich mixture of nationalities.




the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
Ramon Llull's statue.

Ramon Llull's Statue

Horacio Eguia's sculpture of Ramon Llull has a prominent position in front of the Royal Palace. It has inscriptions in Arabic, Latin and Catalan languages, referring to the philosopher's idea that preachers had to learn new languages if they were to convert followers of Islam to Christianity. Check out the Sineu webpage to discover more about Mallorca's religious philosopher. The bronze statue of a woman called 'The Genius of the Islands' across the road was sculptured by Lluisa Granero; it commemorates the centenary of the Chambers of Commerce in 1986.

This area has changed considerably over the past 100 years. There was no six lane wide road and the sea lapped against the quayside which ran along the foot of the city wall. The wall was removed at the beginning of the 20th Century and the Paseo Maritimo was built to ease traffic congestion in the 1950s.

There are a number of important buildings around the busy junction, including the Ministry of Interior headquarters, Port Authority and government buildings.

La Llotja

Walk along the front to Plaza Llotja, or Market Square, which is named after the 15th Century Market Hall. The Merchants Association commissioned Guillem Sagrera in 1426 and he worked on the ornate building for the next 20 years. Columns support the vaulted ceiling while large windows let in natural light, so the buyers could view what was on sale; the 'Angel of Merchants' is over the front door. Sagrera's brother, Michael, completed the work in 1446 but the cost had been enormous and Palma had to impose a one-percent levy on all goods traded to pay for the building.

There is a small enclosed garden on west side of the Market Hall and the archway, known as the Puerta del Mar, used to let merchants pass from the quayside into Market Hall Plaza.

the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
The fine entrance to the Market Hall.

the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
The Church of Saint
John the Baptist.

Church of Saint John the Baptist

Head north up Carrer de Sant Joan past the small Church of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. King James I granted this area to the Knights Hospitaller and the Order of Malta set up their convent headquarters in this block of houses. The Hospitallers were established in 1119, the same year as the Knights Templar, and while some members were soldiers, the rest worked with the sick. When the Knights Templar were disbanded in 1312 their properties were given to the Hospitallers.

Calle Montenegro

Continuing north, we cross several narrow streets, including Calle Apuntadors, a narrow street where traders were based. This area of town was once bustling with traders and ship captains buying and selling goods. The atmospheric streets are now filled with restaurants and bars. Even the huge C'an Marcel is a bar.

Ca'n Ripoll (Ca'n Vert) is to the right, at the corner of Carrer Mà des Moro, or Hand of the Moor Street. The name dates from 1731 when Father Martí Mascort was killed by his Turkish slave. The slave was beheaded and while his head was displayed in Paseo de Born the offending hand was displayed at the scene of the crime .

Continuing along Carrer Montenegro we can see the ornate plaque on the 15th Century C'an Despuig, the home of the Counts of Montenegro, on the left. Ramon Despuig, was awarded the title Count of Montenegro for capturing the town of Messina on Sicily. One famous member of the family was Antoni Despuig i Dameto, a great humanist and a Cardinal of Rome.

the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
C'an Despuig's courtyard.
the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
The Chapel of Sant Feliu.

Calle Sant Feliu

Continue north to Carrer Sant Feliu, named after the tiny 13th Century Chapel of Sant Feliu. It was built by Abbot of Sant Feliu de Guixols, who accompanied King Jaime I during the conquest in 1229. The chapel was rebuilt in the 15th Century. Turn left and pass the fabulous frontage of the 16th Century Can Moner.

Calle Pau

Turn sharp right at the small plaza onto Calle Pau, or Peace Street and C'an Weyler is on the right; it is planned to turn the building into a centre for tourism. General Valeriano Weyler y Nicholau (1838-1930) led the fight against the independence of Cuba but he was sacked for excessive practices against the natives. He was also General of Catalonia during the uprisings known as the Tragic Week in 1909 and was Governor General of the Philippines. He was eventually Spain's Minister of War and Chief of the General Staff of the Army.

the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
C'an Weyler.
the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
The Church of Sant Gaieta.

Carrer de Sant Gaieta

Continue along the narrow street, noting the entrance to the Sacred Heart Mission on the right. After the dog leg in the street, turn right at the crossroads onto Carrer de Sant Gaieta. The street is named after Antoni Mesquida's church on the right hand side. Guillem Paschal started work on the city's first Jesuit temple in 1752 but Charles III expelled the Order from Spain in February 1767 and the building was given to the Order of Ferdinand VII. The church was transferred to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1890 and the congregation raised funds for an extra chapel

Solleric Palace

The rear entrance to Solleric Palace, or Can Morell, is just across the road. The Marques of Solleric owned a fleet of ships and had estates around Sóller and on the mainland. He commissioned Gaspar Palmer to build this house for his new wife in 1757 and it was finished six years later. The large courtyard has grand arches, ornate columns and a large double staircase leading to the balcony. Art exhibitions are displayed in the manor house and the entrance is at the front of the building on Passeo del Born. Palmer's wife was Magdalena Gual i del Barco and she financed the restoration of the Bonanova chapel next to Sant Gaieta Church for sailors. An Augustinian Convent was set up here in 1859 and a plaque commemorates the centenary; there is a monument to founder, Father Sebastia Gili Vives (1811-1894) in the courtyard. Continue to the end of the street, and turn left at Saint Feliu's chapel. Once on the main Paseo del Born, turn right and walk south to the roundabout. Look for the arch heading into a narrow street at the southeast corner of the roundabout and enter Carrer del Mar.

the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
Solleric Palace.
the walk of the holy cross (santa cruz) ) from mallorca days out
Looking back to the Old Salt Tax Arch
with the artillery barracks to the left.

Arc de la Gabella Vella de la Sal

Gabella Vella de la Sal, or the Old Salt Tax Arch (the Arabic name was qabala), crosses Calle Mar. It is one of the oldest entrances into this part of the town. Mallorca was on the trade routes between Spain, France, Italy and North Africa, especially during the early years of merchant shipping when the galleys could not travel far without stopping for supplies. Salt was a precious commodity during the Roman Empire and it may have been used as currency at times; the word salary comes from the word sal. The old artillery barracks are on the left and a plaque remembers Frédéric Chopin and George Sands lodging here at the start and end of their 'Winter in Mallorca' in 1838/39.

Continue to the end of the narrow street to return to your starting point.


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