Palma is the sole major city in the Balearic Islands and, as the capital, boasts an array of historical sites, landmarks, and cathedrals that reflect its Roman, Moorish, and Christian heritage. The name Palma can be traced back to its Roman origins, although human settlement on this land dates back to the Bronze Age. Over the centuries, Palma transitioned between Arabic and Catholic rule, and today it stands as a tourist-friendly city where modern cafes, hotels, and shops coexist within ancient architectural marvels. When you visit Palma, you can delve into its rich history at numerous sites, museums, and landmarks.

Plaza de España, Palma

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If you are arriving by bus you will start off here, the main terminus.

The Plaza de España or Placa d’Espanya is a beautiful square located in the heart of Mallorca. It provides you with unparalleled scenic views and a relaxed, calm atmosphere. A favourite with locals and visitors, this square is ideal for a walk or just to sit back and take it easy on one of the numerous benches. It features pretty fountains that by night turned into a visual wonder. Eclectic music and vibrant lights give such an effect that the fountains seems to be virtually dancing.

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Mercat Olivar

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Leave the square at its most southerly exit and turn right down Carrer Convent Caputxins.

Mercat Olivar embodies the essence of a traditional Spanish market on a grand scale. Every day, it welcomes visitors, inviting them to wander through its corridors and purchase fresh food and products directly from the producers. The first floor boasts a wide variety of fresh produce, while the second floor is dedicated entirely to meat and cheese. Along the way, you’ll encounter vendors serving delectable tapas at affordable prices—truly representing the pinnacle of street food quality.

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Plaza Mayor

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Leave the market using the west ext onto Plaça de l’Olivar, turn left. Walk along La Casa de Valentina and follow the road as it turns left into Carrer d’En Vilanova. You will pass a small square and the Església de la Mercè – Pares Mercedaris, a Catholic Church, belonging to the Order of Mercy, built at the beginning of the 17th century. Turn right into Carrer de Can Martí Feliu until you reach Plaça del Banc de l’Oli. Leave the square (oval) at its south west exit and walk towards to archway entrance to Plaza Mayor.

Plaça Major serves as the primary square in Palma, characterized by its rectangular layout and framed by traditional yellow buildings adorned with green shutters. Over the centuries, it has remained the vibrant heart of city life.

This square occupies the site where the San Felipe Neri convent once stood and later became the headquarters of the notorious Spanish Inquisition in Mallorca, a role it held until 1823. The present square, as we know it today, took shape during the 19th century, with construction spanning from 1825 into the early 20th century.

The attractive edifices surrounding Plaça Major feature arched colonnades on the ground floor, providing sheltered walkways where shops could showcase their wares. Nowadays, these buildings house a diverse array of cafes, bars, and restaurants, many of which offer terraces that spill out onto the square. Here, street artists and musicians often entertain passers-by.

Plaça Major also hosts a craft market catering to tourists seeking souvenirs. This market operates throughout the year and is especially lively in July, August, September, during Easter, and at Christmas.

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Plaza de Cort

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Leave Plaza Mayor at the large exit in the middle of the south side. Walk down Carrer de Colom until you reach Plaza de Cort.

The delightful and petite Plaza de Cort or Plaça Cort, nestled in the heart of the city, is renowned for its ancient olive tree known as the ‘Olivera de Cort,’ which proudly graces its centre.

The square earned its name ‘Cort’ because it once served as the gathering place for the feudal court. Dominating the plaça is the town hall, a structure crafted between 1649 and 1680 by local architects Pere Bauçá, Miquel Oliver, and Bartomeu Calafat. Its façade is adorned with a blend of Mannerist and Baroque architectural elements.

At the heart of Plaça Cort lies the famous ‘Olivera de Cort,’ a six-hundred-year-old olive tree that was transported to Palma from the Pedruixella Petit estate in Pollença in 1989, symbolizing peace. This remarkable olive tree stands at a height of seven meters and is a popular attraction for visitors, many of whom enjoy searching for intriguing shapes on its trunk, such as an ear referred to as the ‘Orella de Mallorca.’

Around the square, you’ll find several charming bars and cafes, many of which offer inviting terraces that extend across Plaça Cort. Additionally, there’s an ice cream parlor known as Giovanni’s, which is notable for its royal patronage, as they deliver their delectable ice creams to the Spanish Royal House. Treat yourself to one of their ice creams and savor it beneath the shade of the ancient olive tree.

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Banys Arabs

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Leave by the south east exit to Plaça de Santa Eulàlia and the Església de Santa Eulàlia (Church of Santa Eulalia). Walk down Carrer de Can Fortuny and Carrer del Call. The juction is the locaton of the entrance to the old Jewish Quarter, look for a symbol on the floor. Turn right onto Carrer de Santa Clara and first left. At the junction you can either head directly down Carrer de Can Serra to get to the baths or buy some nougat from the Nuns at the Convent de Santa Clara.

These 10th-century baths are one of the few remaining vestiges of the Arab city of Medina Mayurqa, known today as Palma.

Dating back to a period spanning the 10th to 12th centuries, the Arab Baths were constructed using antique elements and recycled capitals from earlier epochs, including Muslim, Byzantine, and Roman capitals. These baths are seamlessly integrated into the gardens of the former orchard of the Can Fontirroig manor house.

They likely formed part of a nobleman’s residence and are akin to similar structures found in various Islamic cities. The tepidarium, a warm room, features a dome resembling a half orange and is illuminated by 25 circular openings to admit sunlight, supported by around a dozen columns.

One remarkable aspect is the unique character of each column, suggesting that they were salvaged from the remnants of diverse Roman edifices—a testament to early recycling practices. Hammams, such as these, served not only as places for bathing but also as social gathering spots. The courtyard, adorned with cacti, palm trees, and orange trees, would have provided a pleasant area for cooling off after a soothing bath.

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Museu de Mallorca

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Continue down Carrer de Can Serra turning right and right again to reach the Museu de Mallorca.

This museum offers a first-hand journey through the history of the island. Housed within a building erected on the grounds of a former 16th-century Baroque palace, it still preserves a significant portion of its original architecture. Within its walls, visitors can explore a wide range of artefacts spanning from prehistoric eras to the 19th century. The museum also boasts a notable collection of ceramics, showcasing various styles and historical periods, including the Modernist creations from the La Roqueta factory.

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Jardí del Bisbe

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Walk up C/ de la Portella and turn left and walk down Carrer de Sant Pere Nolasc. The Ornate entance to Jardí del Bisbe is on your left.

The Jardí del Bisbe, or Bishop’s Garden, is situated behind Palma Cathedral, providing an exclusive and refreshing vantage point for viewing the cathedral’s rooftop and the rear façade of the Episcopal Palace. To enter the gardens, visitors pass through an impressive gate constructed in the mannerist style.

Once inside, you’ll encounter a layout reminiscent of the gardens that adorned the “Casals” or mansions of Palma. The design features meticulously trimmed hedges arranged in geometric patterns, an orchard, and a pond known as the “safareig.” During the spring and summer, the pond boasts blooming water lilies, adding color and fragrance to the surroundings.

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Museu Diocesa

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Leave the Bishops gardens turning left and left again.

This compact museum, housing a collection of religious and historical artifacts, is situated within a section of the former episcopal palace situated discreetly behind the cathedral.

The bishop’s palace, originally constructed in the 13th century, boasts a primarily Gothic architectural style, though it has seen numerous renovations over the centuries, altering its initial appearance.

Within the museum’s exhibits, you’ll find an array of items such as paintings, pulpits, and prayer books. Notable highlights include exquisite Arab tapestries, a diverse collection of ceramics spanning five centuries, and a 17th-century painting depicting baby Jesus carrying a cross. Be sure to keep an eye out for the portrait of St. George (Sant Jordi), set against the backdrop of medieval Palma.

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Royal Palace of La Almudaina

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Walk alongside the Cathedral on the aptly named Carrer del Mirador or Street of the view. The entrance to the Royal Palace is in front of you.

The Royal Palace of La Almudaina is located just opposite Palma’s imposing Cathedral ‘La Seu’. It’s elevated position overlooking the Bay of Palma lent it great strategic importance throughout the ages. Today, it’s one of the capital’s main attractions. If you are staying in Palma, it’s a short walk or public bus ride to the palace. There is also ample parking in front of the Cathedral along the Paseo Marítimo. The word ‘Almudaina’ comes from the Arabic for ‘fortress’. However, long before the Moors arrived in the 10th century, the site had already been used by Romans, and even further back, by the Talaiots. When the Christians took possession of the island in the 13th century, the Moorish features were largely demolished. Under King Jaume II, the palace adopted the Levantine Gothic style. Visitors can wander through its numerous rooms, soaking up its history. There are a series of three grand rooms where you may notice the bricked-in Gothic arches cut off in the middle. These rooms, which are furnished with period pieces and tapestries, would have once been double their present height and formed a vast hall.

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La Seu cathedral

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Turn left out of the palace and right along the north side of the Cathedral.

The monumental La Seu cathedral is an immense structure situated by the sea, and its construction spanned several centuries. Its origins trace back to around 1230, at the command of King Jaume I of Mallorca, following the conclusion of the lengthy Moorish rule over the Mediterranean island. This grand church was erected on the site of an ancient mosque. The construction process endured for over 350 years, culminating in the completion of the nave and the main entrance in 1601.

Upon closer inspection, the colossal dimensions of La Seu cathedral become apparent. The building spans nearly 110 meters in length and boasts a width of 33 meters. Its nave reaches a towering height of 44 meters, ranking among the largest of its kind in Europe. One of the cathedral’s remarkable features is the Gothic rosette window on its eastern facade. With a diameter of 12.55 meters, this window comprises over 1,200 vibrant stained glass fragments. When the sunlight filters through, it conjures mesmerizing kaleidoscopic patterns within the interior, captivating all who behold it.

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Palau March

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Leaving the Cathedral head back to the Palace and turn right to get to Palau March.

Situated within the Palau March, a residence constructed between 1939 and 1945 for Majorcan banker Juan March Ordinas (1880-1962) in Palma, this museum is a splendid testament to architectural and historical elegance. The project was skillfully crafted by architect Luis Gutierrez Soto of Madrid, incorporating a historical design language enriched by influences from Majorcan and Italian baroque palaces.

Notable features of the Palau March Museum encompass the grand courtyard of honor and its meticulously adorned façade. The latter showcases intricate ornamentation and an open gallery, now transformed into the museum’s cafeteria, which serves as an outstanding vantage point offering panoramic views of the heart of Palma.

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S'Hort del Rei (Royal Garden), Palma

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Walk down the steps of beside the Palace which you will walk anticlockwise around.

The gardens, originally dating back to the medieval era, were once an integral part of the Royal Palace Almudaina. These lush grounds were adorned with fruit trees, vegetables, medicinal plants, and ornamental flora, which is why they were often referred to as the orchard of the Royal Palace or the king’s orchard. These gardens were encompassed by a lofty wall, and the Cavalry guarded the area on the seaside and northern fronts, with a gardener’s residence present.

In 1834, the wall surrounding the garden was replaced with a wooden fence, which, in turn, was substituted with an iron fence in 1882. However, as the early 20th century dawned, the orchard gradually disappeared, making way for the construction of the Lyric theatre (1902), La Alhambra (1918), and other structures like a barber shop, a photography shop, a bike shop, and more.

It wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that a decision was made to undertake a revitalization project in the heart of Palma, aimed at preserving the city’s historic sections and architectural heritage. Beginning in 1966, efforts commenced to dismantle the buildings occupying the site of the Royal gardens and to restore the gardens themselves.

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La Llotja

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Cross over Av. d’Antoni Maura and walk along the Passeig de sagrera until you reach the Palm trees of Plaza La Lonja.

With its twin turrets and a guardian angel gracing the entrance, this 15th-century waterfront edifice bears the appearance of being part-castle and part-church. However, it is, in fact, neither.

Designed by Guillem Sagrera, the same architect responsible for the cathedral’s Portal del Mirador, this building served as the city’s exchange during Mallorca’s heyday as a major maritime trading hub in the 15th century.

As the tides of trade ebbed over the centuries, Palma’s commercial significance waned, prompting the building to adapt to changing needs. It served as a storage facility for goods and weaponry during the War of Independence and transformed into a fine art gallery in the late 19th century.

The rectangular hall features octagonal towers at each corner, complemented by ten smaller towers functioning as buttresses. Standing amidst the spiraling pillars, gazing upward at the ribbed vaults, one can attempt to envision the Mallorcan merchants from 500 years ago engaging in negotiations over silk, spices, and silver.

Today, La Llotja serves as a cultural center, hosting temporary exhibitions and fostering a vibrant artistic atmosphere.

Read more about La Llotja (The Market), Palma

Passeig del Born

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Walk along Carrer de Sant Joan and turn second right into Carrer dels Apuntadors. The roundabout at the end is called Plaça la Reina, or square of the Queen. Turn left to walk along Paseo del Borne.

Paseo del Borne, known as ‘Passeig des Born’ in Catalan, stands out as arguably the most refined avenue in Palma. Not surprisingly, it has become a magnet for luxury brands like Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Carolina Herrera, and Sandro, earning it the nickname of the “Golden Mile.”

This avenue seamlessly channels the flow of traffic from two bustling thoroughfares, Avenida Jaime III and Carrer de la Unió, which leads to Las Ramblas. Despite this constant stream of activity, the broad promenade somehow manages to retain a sense of tranquility amid the hustle and bustle.

Along the pedestrianized section, you’ll find restaurants and cafés with inviting terraces, perfect for indulging in some people-watching. Numerous stone benches line the avenue, encouraging visitors to pause and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s pulsating heart.

Tall trees generously provide shade during the summer months, while in winter, their trunks come alive with sparkling Christmas lights. Paseo del Borne is flanked by two charming squares, Plaça Joan Carles and Plaça de la Reina, adding to the overall allure of this captivating promenade.

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Can Casasayas

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Walk along Carrer de Jovellanos and turn left into Carrer dels Paraires until you reach Plaça del Mercat.

The Casasayas building and the Pensión Menorquina are exemplary structures showcasing the Modernist ‘art nouveau’ style, distinguished by their original symmetry and dynamic design. These two buildings, identical in execution and symmetrically positioned with Calle de Santacília between them, rank among the most significant and distinctive edifices in Palma.

Commissioned by Josep Casasayas Casajuana, the proprietor of the Can Frasquet pastry shop, these buildings were designed by Francesc Roca, who supervised the initial phase of construction. Completion of the project was overseen by Guillem Reynés.

The ground floors emphasize structural elements, prominently featuring metal columns. As you ascend to the upper levels, you’ll be captivated by the undulating designs and finishes that infuse the facades with remarkable dynamism and plasticity. The balconies showcase intricate metalwork, and the windows exhibit exquisite wooden craftsmanship, contributing to the overall effect. The openings assume various forms, including parabolic arches, marking the pronounced plastic and dynamic treatment characteristic of the Modernist ‘art nouveau’ movement. While decorative elements are not overly abundant, you can spot elegant representations of ferns, acanthus leaves, and butterflies, particularly adorning the iron capitals and wrought-iron details of the balconies.

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Juan March Foundation Museum

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Turn to the right and walk along Carrer Unió taking the steps to reach Plaza Mayor. Leave by the north exit and walk along Carrer de Sant Miquel.

The Museu Fundación Juan March is housed in a building that originally served as a private residence, with its origins dating back to the 17th century. However, in the early 20th century, it underwent a significant renovation overseen by architect Guillem Reynés i Font. Since 1990, this historical structure has been the home to a portion of the art collection belonging to the Fundación Juan March.

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Continue along Carrer de Sant Miquel until you return to Plaça d’Espanya.

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Tours and Activities from Palma

Palma held significant importance as a medieval city, and like many such cities of its time, it had its own Jewish quarter or Call Jueu. Referred to as the ‘Call Maior,’ the Jewish quarter in Palma represented a quasi-independent city within the city, complete with its own walls and entrances into its heart. Unfortunately, very little physical evidence remains of this once-vibrant Jewish quarter, as it was ultimately razed and destroyed. However, the stories and legacy of this historic neighbourhood are very much alive, and it’s still possible to discover traces and elements that allow us to catch a glimpse of the rich history and atmosphere of Palma’s Call Maior.

History of the Jewish people in Mallorca

When did Jews first arrive in Mallorca?

Historical accounts suggest that the Jewish presence in the region can be traced back to the Roman era, specifically after the year 70 CE. Archaeologists have uncovered significant artefacts, such as a lamp featuring an engraving of a menorah dating back to the 5th century. Additionally, a well-known letter penned by Bishop Severus in the year 418 CE discusses the conversion efforts directed at the Jewish community of Menorca. Throughout the subsequent centuries, Jews continued to inhabit the islands, enduring various periods of conquest by the Visigoths, the Byzantines, and the Moors.

During the era spanning from 902 to 1229, the North African Muslims held sway over the islands and bestowed upon Mallorca the name “Medina Mayurka.” This historical timeline underscores the enduring presence of Jews on the islands, despite the changing tides of political control and influence. During this time the Jews lived the Call of Almudaina (ancient Roman Palma), which was surrounded by walls and contained the “Castell dels Jueus” (the castle of the Jews).

Arrival of Jaime the First of Aragon 1229AD

The year 1229 holds great historical significance, as it marked the arrival and conquest of Mallorca by Jaime the First of Aragon. He was supported by the Jewish community and records indicate that Jaime brought a substantial number of Jews with him from the Iberian Peninsula, and they would eventually become part of the existing Jewish community already residing on the island under Muslim rule.

Call the Menor or Small Jewish Quarter

In 1231, Jaume I allowed them to build a synagogue that was in the current street from the Royal Palace (Carrer del Palau Reial), on the site now occupied by the Parliament of the Balearic Islands. The Jews were moved from the Call Almudaina to the Call Menor.

The area was formed by the stairs of the Costa del Theatre and the streets of Sant Bartomeu, Argenteria, Bosseria, Monges, Jaume II i Reixa and Plaza Mayor. Now practically nothing remains of it.

Call the Major or Large Jewish Quarter

In 1290, Jaume II created a second Jewish quarter surrounded by walls and accessed by four gates. Call the Major or Call Mayor occupied the northeast quarter of the medieval city where the Jews were obliged to spend the night and live, but not work. The word “call” is thought to have come from “Kahal” referring to a congregation, assembly, or community of people. The area consisted of six major blocks that connected together by two main routes: Carrer del Sol and the current streets of Monti-Sion and Seminari Vell. In these blocks, the houses were often organized around a garden or patio, providing added protection and privacy for its residents. The Jews, however, did not close themselves off from the rest of city as they had houses and workshops outside of these city walls. At this time there were about 2000 to 3000 Jews living in Palma.

The conversos 1391

In the second half of the fourteenth century, the growth of the Jewish population necessitated the acquisition of houses beyond the walls of the Call. Life was peaceful for the Jews of Mallorca until 1391. After the death of the Spanish king in 1390, charismatic Catholic leaders overshadowed the newly crowned teenaged ruler and began delivering anti-Semitic speeches throughout the country, riling up the populace against the Jews. By mid-1391 there were major outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence in many Spanish cities. 300 Jews were killed in Palma and Inca, with many others being forced to convert.

Conversion of the Jews of Palma 1435

The Jewish community in Mallorca managed to maintain a degree of freedom for several decades following the attacks and persecutions in the mid-14th century. In 1435 the bulk of the island’s Jews were forced to convert the Christianity and their synagogues were converted into churches. This event took place at the Church of Santa Eulalia.

Many converted Jews, known as conversos or New Christians, continued to practice Judaism secretly, leading to the establishment of a group known as crypto-Jews.

The descendants of these conversos, known as Chuetas, continued to live on the island for generations. They faced various forms of discrimination and scrutiny, as they were often suspected of secretly adhering to Jewish traditions.

Arrival of the Inquisition 1488

In 1488 The inquisition arrived and began the search for these ‘crypto-Jews’. There were several auto de fe (trials by fire) of individuals in 1691. At the close of the 15th century, 346 trials were held, and 257 persons were handed over to the secular arm for the death penalty. The inquisition were disbanded in Mallorca in 1820.

Self-Guided tour of Palma’s Jewish Quarter or Audio Guide?

This guide is all you need to explore Palma’s Jewish Quarter however if you don’t fancy reading from your phone for your journey then I recommend using this Palma de Mallorca: Medieval Jewish Quarter Audio Guide.

La Seu: the Cathedral of Palma

Pixabay / Thomas H.

What better place to start our tour than Palma Cathedral. If you have not already purchased your tickets for the Cathedral, purchase skip the line tickets here.

Palma’s immense cathedral, known as ‘La Seu’ in Catalan, stands as the city’s foremost architectural icon. Beyond its sheer size and undeniable beauty, its remarkable interior design, crafted by Antoni Gaudí and renowned contemporary artist Miquel Barceló, sets it apart from cathedrals anywhere else in the world. While the cathedral’s awe-inspiring structure predominantly adheres to Gothic architectural principles, its main facade presents a striking and uniquely eclectic design. One of its standout features is the magnificent rose window, which claims the title of the largest in Europe. To appreciate it up close, visitors can explore the cathedral’s roof terraces.

Two remarkable artefacts within the cathedral deserve special attention.

The first is the substantial Magen David or Star of David prominently displayed in the cathedral’s immense rose window, which ranks as one of the largest in Europe. During the period of the cathedral’s construction, from the 14th to the 17th century, this geometric symbol may not have carried the same significance it does today. Throughout history, various religions utilized this symbol, and at that time, the menorah or seven-branched candelabrum often represented Judaism and its people.

The second noteworthy items are the rimmonim, a term that literally translates to “pomegranates” but is now recognized in synagogues as the ornamental finials placed atop the Torah scroll. On January 12th, 1493, during the reign of Fernando the Catholic Monarch, Jews were expelled from Sicily. The Cammarata synagogue on the island had to part with assets that were challenging to transport, including two elaborately crafted silver rimmonim with Gothic design elements and Hebrew inscriptions. Historians believe that these objects were sold by Sicilian Jews and subsequently acquired by the Majorcan merchant Francesc Puig, who, in 1493, presented them as an offering to the Virgin of the cathedral of Majorca. After arriving on the island, long silver rods were added to transform them into sceptres for specific solemn cathedral ceremonies, a process that Christianized the pieces. Notably, various Hebrew inscriptions on these rimmonim remain legible to this day.

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Center Maimó Ben Faraig

© Visit Palma

From Placa de La Seu follow the sign for the Banys Arabs down a narrow lane. The lane turns right and when you come to a junction turn left up Carrer de Sant Roc. Turn first right down Carrer de l’Estudi General. At the junction you are turning left, but before you do look to your right to see the gates of the Jardí del Bisbe (Bishop’s Garden). As you walk through the Old Quarter you take a moment to gaze into the enchanting medieval courtyards hidden behind the gates of various buildings. The City Hall has supported the installation of these gates, allowing current property owners to keep their doors open and showcase these lovely patios. Historically, these courtyards served as collection points for rainwater, with wells located in their centres.

Palma’s extensive Jewish heritage is commemorated in a modest interpretation centre situated in Can Bordils. Inside, you’ll find informative panels that vividly recount the history of the city’s Jewish community, including the challenges and persecutions they faced. Additionally, the centre features preserved segments of masonry from ancient Roman structures that once stood on this very site, providing a tangible link to the past. Maimo ben Fairag Interpretation Centre is named after a rich Jewish merchant from the 14th century.

Can Bordils, also known by the name of Can Villalonga-Escalada or Can Sureda-Zanglada. It is one of the oldest houses that are preserved in Palma. In the 13th century it was rebuilt on foundations from the Muslim era. It was owned by Maimó Biniferaix, in 1282, according to documentary evidence, it was in the 15th century, acquired by Salvador Sureda i Safont, and in the following century the Sureda-Zanglada family made important changes and reforms, the striking and spectacular windows of clear Renaissance style correspond to these modifications. In the middle of the 17th century, it passed through marriage to the Bordils family, and later, in 1808, to the Villalonga-Escalada family, again, the building is modified, and the balconies and other elements appear. It has been the property of the Palma City Council since 1982, an important reform and rehabilitation was carried out, and since 1988 it has been the headquarters of the Municipal Archive, where documentation of the City of Palma is kept since the beginning of the 18th century.

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Museo de Mallorca

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Leave Can Bordils and turn to your left to walk under the arch. The arch you’re walking through is called La Puerta de la Almudaina, a Roman gate, built during the 5th century to protect the population from the invasions of the Vandals. Turn right onto Carrer d’En Morey then diagonally to the left onto Carrer Portella to the Museum of Mallorca, where we can find some archaeological remnants from the Jewish era.

The museum in Palma finds its home within a 16th-century mansion, affectionately referred to as the “Casa de la Gran Cristiana.” In 2015, it expanded its offerings by inaugurating the Fine Arts and Decorative Arts section, which is situated in the Casal d’Aiamans.

The museum consists of a primary building and two smaller annexes. Within the main building in Palma, you’ll find sections dedicated to archaeology and fine arts, along with a collection of books and documents, as well as administrative facilities. The secondary building located in Muro is dedicated to ethnology, where various objects from the pre-tourism era in Majorca are thoughtfully displayed. Lastly, the secondary building in Alcúdia is devoted to Roman archaeology and is commonly referred to as the Museu Monogràfic de Pollença due to its association with the remnants of this ancient Roman city. This diverse arrangement allows visitors to explore a wide spectrum of historical and cultural aspects of Majorca.

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Iglesia de Montesión (Mount Zion)

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Exiting the Museum turn left down Carrer Portella. Turn right before you reach the city walls and La Portella and then right again. You pass the Banys Àrabs on your right, which is worth stopping at if you have time. At the junction turn left down Carrer de Santa Clara to have a look at Convent de Santa Clara and possibly purchase some cookies and nougats from them to keep you going. Head up Carrer de Can Fonollar and left onto Carrer de Sant Alonso. Turn left onto Carrer del Vent.

Carrer del Vent or Street of the Wind flanks one side of the church of Monti-Sion, the site of the first synagogue. Along the wall to your left there are identifiable remains of the ancient synagogue. Often you can find tiny pieces of paper with wishes written on them here. The church also had an old exit on to this street.

The Legend of Carrer del Vent. The story goes that the devil wanted to take the souls of the parishioners of this church. And so he asked Jesus Christ, who proposed staying with precisely those people who left through that side door. The deal was closed and the demon was left waiting on Carrer del Vent. But Jesus blocked that entrance so that no one could come out. The demon, angry at the deception, left in a rage, blowing with the force of a gale and promised that the wind would never stop blowing in that alley.

Montesión is located on the site where a synagogue once stood. It was the largest and most magnificent synagogue of Jewry. Jaume III, designated as the “curiosam et valde formosam”. The synagogue just completed, the king confiscated the Sanç I, as a punishment, and converts it into a church, the church of Mount Sion. Construction of the church began by 1571, by the Jesuits who came to Mallorca ten years earlier.

The interior adheres to the principles of Gothic architecture: a single nave with lateral chapels and a rectangular front section. The dome features a half-barrel vault adorned with a crescent-shaped ornament, a novel style that replaced the traditional groined vault. The main façade is particularly noteworthy, featuring a portal from the late 17th century, which serves as a precursor to the altarpiece portals. It is adorned with Solomon columns, a unique feature on the island.

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Carrer De La Torre De L'Amor


Head back the way you have come and turn left onto Carrer de Sant Alonso. At the next right turn onto Carrer de la Torre de l’Amor.

This street is the Street of the Tower of Love and has an interesting tale.  In the year 1365 Moshé Faquim lived in this square and was single and his neighbour and rival, named Magaluf Natjar, was married to a beautiful woman. Moshé Faquim desired his rivals wife but was consistently rejected by the virtuous wife. Faquim had a very tall tower built in his house so he could see into his neighbour’s house. He called this tower the “The Tower of Love“. He boasted of this construction and invited nobles so that they could contemplate see the object of his desire. When Natjar found this out he demanded on many occasions that his tear down the tower, but  Moshé Faquim always refused. As time passed and the tower still stood Natjar contacted the city authorities and complained to King Pere IV the Ceremonious.  Eventually the husband’s request was heard and fourteen years later, in 1379; the king ordered that the tower be lowered twelve spans.

While no trace of this tower have remained, the legal case is recorded in a document from the chancellery of Peter the Ceremonious.

Teatre Municipal Xesc Forteza

Public Domain / Chixoy

Continue along Torre de l’Amor until it ends at the Mossèn Miquel Maura square, where the Xesc Forteza theatre and the Neo-Gothic oratory and convent of the Monges del Culte Eucarístic are located.

This theatre Xesc Forteza Forteza is named after a famous Chueta actor who lived from 1926 to 1999. The repetition of Forteza Forteza meant both his mother and father had the same last name which is common among Chuetas.

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Palma's Secret Synagogue

Walk alongside the left of the theatre along Carrer dels Blanquers and turn left into Carrer de Can Salom. This turns into Carrer d’en Calders probably named after a Majorcan Jewish family, that of Isaac and Abraham de Caldes, mentioned in the Jewry in the second half of the fourteenth century. At the end of this street you enter the small Plaza de Sant Jeroni with a pretty fountain and the Convent de Santa Isabel Germanes Jerònimes to your left. Turn left onto Carrer del Seminari. Turn second right onto Carrer de la Pelleteria.

On the street of leather makers or Carrer de la Pelleteria is secret synagogue. The synagogue located on this street was constructed by Aaron Mani in 1370. Unfortunately, it sustained significant damage during the violent assault of 1391. However, it was later reconstructed by Portuguese Jews who were encouraged by the King to resettle in this area.
The location can be found by the golden SEFARAD symbol on the ground and the plaque on the wall to Miquel Pujol Ferragut a famous baker, who lived here and died in 2014. The bakery was known as bakery known as Can Miquel.

Opposite the plaque is a curious cross carved into the wall.

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Statue of Jehuda Cresques

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lliura

Continue down Carrer de la Pelleteria.

The statute is of Jafuda Ben Cresques. He was a very famous Jewish Cartographer. Born into a Jewish family, he underwent a conversion to Christianity in the aftermath of the 1391 attack on the Palma Jewish Quarter, assuming the name Jaume Ribes. It is believed that he subsequently sought refuge in Portugal, where he established the renowned Sagres School of Cartography. While some historians speculate that Master Jacome de Mallorca may have directed the school, this remains a subject of controversy.

In 1375, he and his father, Cresques ben Abraham, collaborated on an exceptional map depicting the geographical expanse from Spain to Israel. Remarkably, in his maps, he consistently included a red dash of paint adjacent to Israel, possibly symbolizing the Red Sea. It’s worth noting that many Jewish cartographers of that era similarly incorporated a red dash near Israel. He is celebrated as the creator of the famous Catalan Atlas, an iconic cartographic masterpiece.

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Puerta de los Judios

© 2023 Andrew Ashton

Walk up Carrer del Sol.

At the junction of Carrer de Santa Clara and Carrer del Call was the site of the Puerta de los Judios or the Gate of the Jews. The great door of the Judería (Gate of the Call Major) was the main door of the Judería, which was located at the cross of the Calle de Monti-Sion and the Calle del Sol. This door allowed communication between the Jewish community and the centre of the city. The site is commemorated with a SEFARAD symbol on the ground.

This symbol carries a powerful message and represents the map of the Iberian Peninsula, encompassing both Spain and Portugal. What makes it even more fascinating is the Hebrew inscription within it, which reads “Samech” (S), “Fei” (F), “Reish” (R), and “Dalet” (D), spelling the word “Sefarad” in Hebrew, signifying Spain. Moreover, within the letters, you can find “Zain” (Z), “Vav” (V), “Kaf” (K), and “Reish” (R), forming the word “Zojer,” which means “To remember” in Hebrew.

You can head down Carrer de Monti-Sion to the first turning on your right to Carrer de Can Dusai. The grand arch at its junction with Carrer Montesión suggests that both were main streets in Palma’s Jewish quarter. Head back to Puerta de los Judios.

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Placa de Santa Eulalia

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Foto Fitti

Walk up Carrer del Call, which literally means Street of the Jewish Quarter, to Plaça de Santa Eulàlia.

In front of you lies the church of Santa Eulalia which was also called the Church of the Conversos. The Jewish community of Palma had been being forcibly converted a number of years. The Spanish pogroms of 1391 led to the sack of the Call. Hundreds were murdered by a mob who blamed them for the island’s problems. Survivors either converted to Christianity or fled. Later other Jews repopulated the Call. Violence recurred in 1435, causing Jews to be baptized en masse. It was for this reason as well as the fact that the descendants of these Jewish Conversos continued to worship here that the church received its nickname.

The church, dedicated to Saint Eulalia of Barcelona was built in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, it is the oldest church after the Palma cathedral. This church has historical significance for the Kingdom of Majorca, for it is here, September 12, 1276, that was crowned King of Majorca, Jaume II, son of King Jaume I of Aragon, granting privileges and Treaty autonomy of the Kingdom of Majorca.

At the back of the church is Argenteria Street, which translates to Silvermaker Street. This used to be the Chueta Ghetto and as recently as the late twentieth century, more than thirty jewellery shops lined this street, mostly owned by families with Chueta surnames.

Read more about Església de Santa Eulàlia (Church of Santa Eulalia), Palma de Mallorca

Plaza de Cort

Public Domain / Rafael Ortega Díaz

Head to your left along Carrer de la Cadena to reach Plaça de Cort.

Plaça de Cort, located in the heart of Palma, Mallorca, serves as the central square where the City Council of Palma is situated. It is surrounded by Carrer Colom, Plaça de Santa Eulàlia, and the headquarters of the Consell Insular de Mallorca.

The square derives its name from its historical role as the gathering place for courts, curias, and other administrative bodies. Since 1249, jurors convened at the old Hospital de Sant Andreu (now the main City Council building), which was founded by Nuno Sancho in 1230. Plaça de Cort’s significance as the meeting place for major institutions on the island, including The University and the Great and General Council, established it as the city’s focal point. In fact, it serves as the starting point for calculating the kilometers on the island’s main roads, referred to as KM 0.

Plaça de Cort has been the backdrop for various political demonstrations, San Sebastian festivities, and one of Europe’s oldest civil celebrations, the Festa de l’Estendard.

The square’s layout has undergone changes over the years. In 1865, it was smaller, with the first expansion occurring with the opening of Calle Colom. The most significant transformation took place in 1922 when the central islet, housing the Última Hora newspaper, collapsed.

The prominent building in the square is the Palma City Council, constructed in multiple phases from 1649 through the 19th century. The facade is a notable feature, reflecting the architectural style of traditional Mallorcan manors. Several elements have become iconic over time, including the Bank’s Vague and the Sinofó’s clock, as well as the figures of the dragon and snail.

Since 1989, in the centre of the square, an immense olive tree from Pedruixella Petit in Pollença has been transplanted. This ancient tree, gifted by businessman Jaume Batle i Manresa, is estimated to be over 600 years old and weighs approximately 4 tons.

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