THE building used by the Council of Majorca as its official headquarters in Palma's historic centre is providing a rare architectural and historical treat for visitors, a Council spokesman reported yesterday.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between local government and the public, a pilot scheme was started in 2008 entitled “Get to know the Council.” During the first year there were 1'944 visitors, but during the first six months of 2009 more than 1'900 came through the doors. By the end of the year, there had been 2'700 on guided tours through the premises. This year, an average of 350 people have been to the Council buildings every month.

Schoolchildren often make up the parties that a guide takes round, both from primary and secondary schools and from Palma and the outlying areas of the island.

Neighbourhood associations, adult education centres, and immigrant groups have all sent members to the Council of Majorca buildings as part of a programme of broadening understanding of local government.

The front of the building is a neogothic work by Joaquim Pavia and Joan Guasp which was apparently inspired by English architectural styles with octagonal turrets and lavishly decorated by the works of master sculptor Llorenç Ferrer. From the hallway, visitors can mount the great staircase flanked by giant figures of Majorcan Kings Jaume II and Jaume III, Queen Esclaramunda and King Sancho. Stained glass windows by Faust Morell use the Conquest of Majorca from the Moors in the early 13th century as their theme.