‘La Seu’, the most emblematic building in Mallorca
The most emblematic construction of the island is just a few minutes away from the Hotel Cosmopolitan Mallorca. As is logical, we talking about the Cathedral of Saint Mary, most known as the Cathedral of Mallorca or ‘La Seu’ (‘Seu’ or ‘Seo’ is the name given to the cathedrals of the Kingdom of Aragon). It is a Christian temple of Levantine Gothic style located in the historic old town and overlooking the bay of Palma.
The history of ‘La Seu’ is closely linked to the monarchy. After the conquest of Madina Mayurqa in 1229, James I, king of Aragon and count of Barcelona, ordered the consecration of the old major mosque to Saint Mary. They say that when the king sailed to the island to conquer it, a strong storm arose and he promised to build a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin if they arrived safely on land.
During the reign of James II (1276-1311) began the construction of the temple we know today. Built on the roman walls that protected the city, it is the only gothic cathedral that complies with this singularity. It is thought that part of the material used for its construction came from the cove of Portals Vells. There, they extracted blocks from a cliff with enormous caves and transported them by ship to Palma.
In 1346, with king James III, the temple was almost finished, only a few things and details were left, and that continued practically until 1601. In fact, after that date, reforms and restoration works were continued and are still being carried out.
In 1498 the work of the bell tower was finished. There are 9 bells, all of them with its name, being the one called ’n’Eloi’ the biggest one.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the world famous architect Antoni Gaudí adapted the interior space of the cathedral to the new liturgical and pastoral requirements. He changed the position of the choir, eliminated the main altarpiece in gothic style, took charge of the realization of the baldachin of the high altar, incorporated the chancel and changed the lighting and furniture.
Currently, from May to October, you can visit both the tower and the terraces of the cathedral. You have to climb 215 steps but it is worth contemplating the views from above.
During the visit you also go through the largest rose window, known as the eye of the Gothic. It is one of the largest in the world, with a diameter of 13.8 meters. Speaking of this element we have to mention the “Show of the 8“, a phenomenon that happens twice a year: February 2 and November 11. At about 8 o’clock in the morning, the sun’s rays enter through the largest rosette and cross the temple to the interior wall of the main wall. The light filtered by the first rosette is projected there, so the number 8 is formed.
In addition, the ‘Seu’ offers another light show: during the winter solstice, the sunrise can be seen through both rosettes, creating a kind of kaleidoscope. A phenomenon that can be contemplated perfectly from the Es Baluard museum.
In 1931 ‘La Seu’ was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument, since it is a referent of Levantine Gothic, a style that is characterized by not following the classic french models, but by using a german style floor plan. The building has three parallel chapels in the headboard and numerous side chapels.
Finally, notice that ‘La Seu’ is the base of the Diocese of Mallorca, and the Palace of the “Almudaina” (building attached to the temple) is the Chapter Archive, which can be visited throughout the year.
Take advantage of your stay at the Hotel Cosmopolitan Mallorca to enjoy this marvel of architecture, unique in the world, and contemplate history with your own eyes.