If you ever visit the island of Mallorca (Majorca), Spain you will have seen the magnificent Catalonian Gothic Cathedral that dominates the skyline of the islands Capital, Palma. This towering Cathedral, which ranks at the 4th most beautiful Cathedral in the world! Overlooks the harbor in the oldest part of the city, and is dedicated to San Sebastian, Palma’s patron saint. The foundation stone was laid on New Year’s Day 1230, and it was laid on the site where previously a mosque stood, so it faces Mecca rather than Jerusalem.
The Palma de Mallorca Cathedral or “la Seu”, as it is known in Mallorca (Majorca), is the jewel in the crown of Mallorcan architecture. Apart from being one of the most famous Gothic buildings in Europe, it represents Mallorca (Majorca) and is a symbol of the whole of the Balearic archipelago. It is considered one of the most magnificent buildings ever built and encompasses almost all artistic styles since the Middle Ages.
The Cathedral has its origins at the very beginnings of the Christian takeover of the island, back in the 13th Century. In the autumn of 1229, King James I and his men sailed to the island to defeat the Arabs and it was on his crossing that the see of the cathedral was sown. A storm rages so violently during the 3 and a half day journey that the young King feared for his life, so he made an oath to God, promising, should his enterprise succeed, he would erect a temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary. He was lucky, not only did he arrive safely, but he also defeated the Arabs. And as a God-fearing Christian he did not forget his promise, and quickly set about putting into practice his oath. As mentioned earlier the foundation stone was laid the following year (1230) and faced towards Mecca, in doing so King James created an all-time historical paradox; anyone kneeling at the altar in Mallorca’s Cathedral does so in the direction of Mecca like a Muslim, not, as should be the case for a Christian, towards Jerusalem. World on the Cathedral was not completed until 1601, when the main façade was completed. The vast central vault is 144 feet high, its columns tower to a height of 65 feet, it has one of the world’s largest stain glass windows containing 1,236 pieces of glass, and measuring 39 feet across. Twice a year an extraordinary display of light is created inside the cathedral by the sun, because of the architectural genius of the cathedral’s creators. On the 2nd February and the 11th November, at around 8am, the rising sun shines through the massive stained glass window on the east side of the cathedral, and casts a huge multi-coloured display just below the rose window on the opposite end of the cathedral, 400 feet away. On other days of the year it just casts this wonderful shadow down into the main central vault of the cathedral. The photos below show this magnificent cathedral and the shadow.