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HOME PAGE - Areas of the Island - Palma (City) - Calle Sant Miguel & Plaza Espanya

Calle San Miguel & Plaza Espanya

Plaza Mayor (The starting point of the tour)

Plaza Mayor or the Big Square, is a large rectangular open space surrounded by a colonnade with restaurants and bars. While the crowds mill around the restaurants in the open space, there are offices are on the first floor and shops underground. It is typical of the sort of plazas found on mainland Spain and it dates from the second half of the 19th Century.




the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
Banca March's first branch. .

Banca March

Heading north from Plaza Major, the first stop is on the left after 50 metres, in front of the original branch of the Banca March. The architectural delight dates from 1926 and the elegant staircase leads to the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Juan March Foundation. Check out the Juan March webpage in the famous people section to find out more about the richest man in Spain.

San Miguel Church

San Miguel Church is another 50 metres north on the left and it overlooks Plaza Mare de Deu de la Salut, (Our Lady of Health Square). It was built on the site of a mosque and the first mass was celebrated in 1230. Miguel Tomas (or Miguel Torres) had built a new building by 1391 but what we see today dates from 1632; the tower was completed in the 18th Century. Legend has it that the statue of Our Lady of Health was brought to the island in 1229 in Jaime the Conqueror's ship cabin. Jaime was so worried by storms en route that he promised to establish a new church as thanks when the weather calmed. Recent studies indicate that the statue was made 300 years after the conquest but it is still worshipped.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
San Miguel Church.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
San Antonio's cloisters are
now an art gallery.

The Church of San Antonio de Viana

Continue north for 100 metres to find the Church of San Antonio de Viana on the right hand side. The Commander of the Order, Damia Gelabert, started work on the elliptical church in 1757 and it was completed by Josep Costa eleven years later. Each 17 January the church plays a central role in the Celebration of San Antonio because farmers bring their animals to church to be blessed. The elliptical two-storey cloisters are now used as an art gallery.

The Church of Santa Caterina de Sena

Continue north for 100 metres and the Church of Santa Catalina de Sena is to the right. Santa Catalina was a 14th Century nun who worked to resolve problems in the Catholic Church. She went to Avignon in France and convinced Pope Gregory XI to move his administration to Rome. She is also one of only two patron saints of Italy along with St Francis of Assisi. The founder Joan Baptista Despuig was a member of the Knight of the Order of Santiago, a 12th Century Order which drove the Moors from northwest Spain, and he is buried by the altar. Francisco Herrera finished the Italian style building in 1680. The convent was demolished in 1966 while the church is used by the city's Russian Orthodox community.

Calle Miguel crosses Calle Oms in front of the church. Calle Oms is a long pedestrian commercial area stretching across the north side of the city. Rows of 19th Century buildings connect the north end of the La Rambla at its west end and Plaza Espanyol at its east.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
The Church of Santa Caterina de Sena.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
The Church of Santa Margarita
.

The Church of Santa Margarita

Continue another 50 metres to see Church of Santa Margarita on the left. The first mass was held in the mosque which stood here after the city was captured on 31 December 1229. Inside is the tomb of Don William Torrella who fought alongside Jaime the Conqueror with 30 knights and 1,300 men. The building we see today is a 16th Century building.

The Military Hospital

The Military Hospital next to Santa Margarita Church was built in 1872 at the request of Fernando Weyler y Lavina, General of Medical Military Affairs. He wanted it to care for soldiers and sailors on the island. You can walk around the two storey building where the white walled corridors surround a central garden. There is also a pharmacy filled with period medical supplies inside.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
Many soldiers and seamen
recovered in the
Military Hospital.
the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
The plaque remembering the conquest of Palma.

The Conquest Plaque

50 metres north along Carre San Miquel is a plaque (on the left side of the street, higher than eye level) remembering the capture of the city by Jaime the Conqueror. Santa Margarita Gate was 100 metres to the north, where the street meets the inner ring road. Starting in October 1229, King Jaime's siege engines pounded the wall while his troops tunnelled underneath. Jaime's troops stormed the walls on 31 December and went on the rampage through the city. The street on the far side of the ring road is called 31 de Decembre and it ends at Plaza Abu Yahya, the name of the Emir who surrendered to King Jaime in the Royal Palace.

Plaza Espanya

Head southeast from the plaque into Plaza Espanyol, or Spanish Square, a busy area dominated by the mounted statue of King Jaime the Conqueror on a stone plinth; a bronze figure of a foot soldier is on the base. Enric Clarassó's bronze sculpture was unveiled in 1927 and it sits on a fragment of the early 17th Century gateway. It was officially known as Çanoguer Gate, after General Fernando Çanoguer, the Viceroy of Mallorca when the city walls were upgraded, but it was nicknamed the Painted Gate.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorcaThere are a number of other important buildings around the square and to the north is Bar Crystal built by Gaspar Bennazar between 1913 and 1916 with a mixture of classic and modern architecture. Across the busy road is the cinema called Sala Augusta and on the wall is a plaque remembering when the building had a sinister use. During the Spanish Civil War it was a warehouse known as Can Mir and it was a prison. Enemies of the Franco regime were brought here to await court martial and if found guilty they were taken away and shot. See the Spanish Civil War webpage in the Events section to find out more.

Next door is the railway station for the Sóller Train which opened in 1912, connecting the isolated town to Palma. The discovery of the benefits of Vitamin C meant that the people of Sóller could afford to build the railway line and bring their oranges and lemons to the city. Check out the Sóller Train webpage in the Tramuntana East section for more information on the famous train service.

The buildings belonging to Palma's originally railway station are next door and the southerly building houses a Tourist Information Centre. They were designed by Emilio Estada and built in 1875. The sidings and the goods yard stood behind the building but they were recently converted into a large city centre park. The modern underground bus and train station opened in 2007.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
The Caputxins Church.

At the southeast corner of Plaza Espanyol is the Caputxins Church and monastery and they were built between 1778 and 1791. The plaque by the entrance remembers Father Atanasi from Palafrugell, northeast of Barcelona, who founded the Antoniana Christian Youth organisation in 1913.

Pomar's Cross

Head south from Plaza Espanyol and after 200 metres there is a white stone cross at the junction of Avenida Alexandre Rosselló and Carrer de Gilabert de Centelles. It was erected in 1645 in memory of Perez de Pomar i Torres, the Viceroy of Majorca. Some accounts say that he died leading a mounted posse chasing bandits out of the city. Others suggest he died accidently in a brothel. Either way Perez de Pomar has a permanent memorial.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
Perez de Pomar's cross.

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
The Church of the
Monks of Mercy.

The Church of the Monks of Mercy

Continue south along Avenida Alexandre Rosselló and turn right into Calle Bartomeu Ferra after 200 metres. Follow Calle Volta de la Merce to Plaza Mercè and the church and convent of the Monks of Mercy. The original church was completed in 1240 and the founder of the Order of Mercy was Sant Pere Nolasc (1189-1256), teacher for the young King Jaime I. Nolasc accompanied his student during the conquest of Mallorca in 1229. The church was rebuilt between 1621 and 1720 and an ancient charred black image worshipped inside was rescued by monks.

Church of Saint Felip Neri

Turn right out of Plaza Mercè and walk to the Church of Saint Felip Neri 50 metres to the west. The original Convent dels Mercedaris, or Convent of Mercy, was founded by Guillem de Moncada's widow in 1232 and the Trinitarians worshipped a statue of Christ rescued in Algiers. Guillem and his nephew, Ramon, were killed in battle near Bendinat in 1229 during the conquest of Mallorca. In 1550, Saint Felip Neri founded the Congregation of the Oratory in the church and they rebuilt the current building by 1618.

 

 

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorca
Church of Saint Felip Neri

the walk from the plaza mayor through the Calle San miguel and plaza espanya in palma de mallorcaCaubet's sculpture of a grandmother
reciting a poem to her grandchildren

Bank de l'Oil Plaza

Turning southwest along Calles ant Esperit, walk 100 metres to Plaza Bank de l'Oil. Remigia Caubet's sculpture of a grandmother reciting a poem to her grandchildren was unveiled in 1968 in memory of Pedro Alcántara Peña's poem ' Colcada' . There are a number of wonderful buildings around the square. Plaza Mayor, your start point, is just a few metres to the southwest.

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