THE island's first maritime museum has been opened in the 13th century oratory of Santa Catalina in the port of Soller.
The initial cost of the project was 323'600 euros, and it was paid for by the Plan of Excellence in Tourism. The Council of Majorca refurbished the building, which was not intended to house a museum originally. However, the Council then conceived the idea of a network of maritime museums dotted around the island, and it was decided to incorporate the oratory into the scheme.
The museum, however, belongs to the town council as the Council of Majorca's plan has been delayed.
The museum has been devised as a centre for interpreting the role of Soller and its port in connection with the sea throughout the centuries.
It includes a review of the emigration from Soller to France and South America, closely related to maritime trade at the end of the 19th century, shipbuilding and all the traditional trades and crafts connected with the sea.
The main hall resembles the hold of a boat, with a mechanical system providing movement suggesting the swell of the sea.
There is also an audiovisual, exhibits from the merchant navy, the Spanish navy and private collectors.
The local authorities attended the opening, and the museum will have an open day on August 28, from 10am to 8pm.