Historical documentation has suggested that building started in 1306.

10-09-2020Jaume Morey

A Majorcan architect, Miquel Ballester, maintains that the building of Palma Cathedral started in the thirteenth century after the conquest by Jaume I's forces in 1229 and not in 1306, which is when traditional historical documentation claims.

Ballester is a member of the Conservation of Religious Art Heritage group at the University of the Balearic Islands. He has spent the past two years researching unpublished information about the building of the Cathedral, which is on the site of a one-time mosque. The research has gone into a doctoral thesis on the development of the Cathedral, which was presented on Thursday.

Construction started, he argues, in the middle of the thirteenth century and lasted until 1630, three decades after the blessing of the main portal of the Almudaina Palace, which until now has been when it was believed that the work ended.

The research documents and explains the logic of the final phase of construction, which corresponds to 40% of the total surface. The thesis was directed by Mercè Gambús at the university, who says that the part of the Cathedral between the main and side portals had not previously been documented. "We didn't know anything about the main façade."

A further discovery relates to the one-time mosque. Both Ballester and Gambús had believed that there were no remains of the mosque. However, the mosque inside the Cathedral was a key element in the construction, both in terms of its surface area and its height.

Ballester has ruled out the bell tower having corresponded to the old minaret, as has been argued, but points out that the dimensions of the three naves and the height of the main chapel, which includes the rose window, are connected to the building of the royal chapel and to the space once occupied by the mosque.

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