King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will preside over the opening of a major exhibition on the Order of Malta, Majorca and the Mediterranean in the beautiful Gothic setting of La Lonja this evening at 8. The exhibition has been organised by the Assembly of the Order of Malta, the Council of Majorca and the Balearic government, and it reflects the Order's history in Majorca and its impact on the world of popular art, culture and traditions. Exhibits include jewellery, reproductions of Majorcan maps of the period, documents, paintings, ceramics and decorative objects on loan from public and private collections in Majorca, the Peninsula, Rome and Malta. Pau Feliu, a member of the Order in the Balearics, explained yesterday that the Order of Malta has 40 knights and ten ladies in Majorca, it is present in 80 countries as a state without territory and has ambassadors in another 70 countries. The order was founded in Jerusalem in 1048 and came to Majorca shortly after the Conquest, obtaining land for the construction of a hospital and church near the docks. The church, known as Sant Joan de Malta, was rebuilt in the 18th century and is in La Lonja. In 1314, the Order received all the land and possessions of the Knights Templar in Majorca, mainly in Palma and Pollensa. It reached the height of its power here in the 17th and 18th century, with the grand masters Rafael and Nicolau Cotoner.
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