The huge Cathedral of Palma is the most important architectural landmark of the city and the whole island. The official name is “Catedral de Mallorca”. However, the Mallorcans simply call it by its Catalan name, La Seu, which describes its function as a bishopric that continues to this day. The inside the catedral is even more impressive than the outside and also offers fantastic views over the city and the sea. That definitely makes it worth a visit during a holiday in Mallorca.
Majorca's capital, Palma de Mallorca, has been the bishop's seat in Catholic Spain for over 700 years. Before that, Mallorca was Muslim for 300 years and Palma was called Medina Mayurqa. The church is located directly by the sea, at the same place where the central mosque was once located. Although the Christian king Jaume I conquered the city in 1229, construction of the Gothic cathedral did not start immediately. Instead, the mosque was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and used in the meantime as a church. Construction began only at the end of the 13th century under Jaume II and lasted over 350 years. When it was completed in 1601, La Seu was one of the largest churches in Europe.
The catedral is 121 metres long, 40 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres high. Apart from its sheer size, treasures and undisputed beauty, the cathedral's interior is the only one of its kind in the world. The awe-inspiring building is predominantly built in Gothic style. The main façade is completely inconsistent in style yet still beautiful. La Seu has a total of three portals: in addition to the impressive main portal there are also the two side portals, the Almoina and the Mirador. The Mirador portal is located on the side facing the sea. The innumerable Gothic stained glass windows create a magical atmosphere in the interior of the main nave. The impressive rose window is one of the largest in Europe and can be viewed up close when visiting the roof terraces. The Mallorcan kings Jaume II and Jaume III are buried in the mausoleum of the Trinity Chapel.
The original building in the Gothic style was a highlight of the Renaissance. But La Seu was severely damaged during an earthquake in 1851. Instead of restoring the ruined parts of the church in the original style, the architects decided to use a neo-Gothic one. With its intertwined buttresses on each side and the towering pinnacles, it is a masterful example of this style. The result is a mixture of the Gothic original and the pseudo-Gothic monumentalism of the 19th century, which inevitably has an artificial effect. Years later, famous artists and architects including Antoni Gaudí and Miquel Barceló designed various areas of La Seu.
Admission costs eight euros. The one-hour tours take place at fixed times and must be booked in advance, as the number of visitors is limited. It is especially advisable to book tickets in advance to avoid long queues at this very popular sight. You can also visit the roof terraces for a surcharge of four euros. You can enjoy a magnificent view over the city and the sea from the bell tower and the passage between the two church towers. However, there are almost 300 steps to climb if you go for the roof tour and there is no lift. On hot summer days, climbing to the roof in the midday heat should be avoided. Mornings or afternoons are the ideal times for the tour.