The Association for the Revitalization of Old Centres, or ARCA put forward a new proposal for the Gallerias at Plaça Major yesterday.
ARCA wants to recover the old railway tunnel under the Gallerias and create an Interpretation Centre detailing the history of the city and the tunnel, which stretches to the Parc de la Mar.
ARCA says the tunnel is “of great historical and heritage value” and its proposal has the support of the Associació d'Amics of the Balearic Islands Railway.
“It would give value to the space, cover a historical need in the city and give life to a heritage element abandoned by Palma City Council," said ARCA Vice President, Angels Fermoselle.
He explained that the Interpretation Centre "would be dedicated to publicising the history of Palma and would facilitate educational activities with schools and training centres and be of interest to tourists."
The ARCA President also said “the idea is not to create a museum with works of art and historical vestiges, just a space to explain the different historical periods of the city, in a didactic and modern way, alive and attractive.”
“The tunnel is already an attraction in itself. It has been hidden for decades but it has a rich history. It was once used to transport goods to the port and people sought refuge in the tunnel during the Civil War,” said Fermoselle. “The wall is in good condition and we must take advantage of this unique opportunity, because it is an unusual element that does not exist in other cities."
This tunnel was inaugurated in 1931 and closed in 1965. The extension between the Plaça Major and the Parc de la Mar is about 600 metres long.
“It’s a section with many possibilities as an exhibition space if it is equipped with modern projection and lighting systems without distorting it and the railway tunnel and the Interpretation Centre of Ciutat, which are located at different heights, could be linked by an elevator," said the ARCA President.
ARCA believes its proposal is also compatible with the demands of local commerce and has also proposed linking the tunnel project with the rehabilitation of the booths of the Costa des Teatre.
The Councillor of Interior Government, Alberto Jarabo, described the proposal as “interesting but we must now assess the viability of the two finalist proposals."