A light-struck citadel of a cathedral, Santa Maria of Palma - also known as Le Seu - is one of Mallorca’s architectural icons. A hilltop palace of devotion reflected in the azure Mediterranean shoreline, it simply demands your attention, believer or not.
Built by the Crown of Aragon in 1229, its tombs hold Majorcan Catholic kings, yet its foundations, which are steeped on the ruins of a former mosque, dictate that its high, decorative façade points towards Mecca and not, as was common at the time, Jerusalem. Perched upon a clifftop where the Roman city of Palma was founded, Cathedral Santa Maria of Palma stands protective above the city walls and dominates the old city’s skyline. A sandstone beacon of Mallorca’s rich past.
Spreading a staggering 7000sqm along the coastline, Cathedral Santa Maria of Palma’s nave reaches a heavenly 44m tall, the tallest of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe. With a façade that looks like it could have been plucked from a powerful empire in Game of Thrones, this is a true heavyweight of cathedrals.
But Cathedral Santa Maria of Palma also has a delicate side, as it is also known as the ‘Cathedral of Light’. With 59 windows that harbour a soft inner glow its main rose window – one of the largest in the world – gently steals the limelight as ‘the Gothic eye’. Then for twenty or so days around the winter solstice, its two rose windows beckon in the sunrise and create a magical kaleidoscope effect that is so completely Insta-worthy, no filter needed.
Of course, you can’t mention Mallorca’s Cathedral Santa Maria of Palma without footnoting a bit of Gaudí. As part of a restoration projectGaudí forged the enormous wrought-iron chandelier that now hangs in the main alter. However, the angels did not sing upon the project’s partnership and following an argument, Gaudi walked out. His chandelier that was designed to look like a crown of thorns, however, remains.
From one imposing giant of Majorcan grandeur to another, luxe Neoclassical mansion Sant Francesc Hotel Singular Mallorca is a seven-minute walk to Cathedral Santa Maria of Palma. A restored abode of noble nuances and luxe urban vibes, these stone archways and vaulted ceilings talk of a time that understands the lone giant up on the hill, so much so that when you leave your seductive nest of cool for a visit, it will be like going from one old friend to another.