World Facts Index > Spain > Palma De MallorcaPalma de Mallorca, known amongst Mallorcans as 'Ciutat', is the capital of the largest Balearic island, Mallorca (or Majorca). It is important not to confuse the name of the capital with that of the island, as this is something that does not go down too well with the inhabitants of the isle's other towns. From the point of view of tourism and leisure, the city can be divided into distinct zones: Casco Antiguo, (the old quarter), Avenidas, Sa Llonja, Paseo Marítimo, (the sea front), Es Jonquet, Gomila, El Molinar, S'Arenal and Génova.
The Casco Antiguo is where to see the tourist attractions. The Cathedral, Palacio de l'Almudaina, the Ayuntamiento (town hall), The Consell Insular (Local Authority) and the churches deeply rooted in the religious culture of the people, as well as local history museums which you stumble upon in the narrow streets and stone corners. This area is liberally sprinkled with places serving traditional Mallorcan cuisine, and a few shopping streets, such as San Miguel or Via Sindicato, and these make it an absolute must for those visitors who want to learn something of the city's history.
Las Avenidas (The Avenues), the nickname for the 5 main routes that run through the city from the Paseo Maritimo, is the hub of the city's shopping area. Department stores, bank headquarters, fashion shops, cinemas, offices and cafes contribute to the bustling urban atmosphere of this area. It's here that you find Plaza de España, the departure point for the majority of private and public transport. In front of the square you can find the recently inaugurated Parque de las Estaciones, a project that aims to become the ecological 'lungs' of the city.
Sa Llonja is the most typical area for nightlife for young people in the city. Around the Sa Llonja monument Consulado del Mar, restaurants and bars abound. From atmospheric bars with fresh flowers and fruits and classical music to the typical pubs. Nearby in the Muelle Viejo, the very young gather on weekend nights to indulge in what is known as a 'bottelón'. This basically consists of parking the car, putting the music on full volume and gathering round an open boot with friends and a bottle of some alcholic drink.
The Paseo Maritimo mixes enthusiasts of the sea with tourists who stay in one or other of the hotels located in this area and enjoys one of the best views in the city. Around here there are plenty of cafes, rental agencies, restaurants and entertainment stops, and in particular Palma's most important nightclubs: Tito's, and Pachá. The Paseo Maritimo is completed by the Auditorium and also a special lane for cycling, skating and running which gets quite busy during the evenings and weekends.
Es Jonquet is another important place in Palma nightlife. In these streets there are plenty of 'pa amb oli' restaurants (a typical dish of dark bread, oil, salt and tomato accompanied by ham, cheese, etc.) as well as a few bars.
For many years the Plaza Gomila was the haunt of intellectuals and artists of the time. Gomila is characterized by its attraction of a gay crowd, who claimed their own area, as in all modern cities. Discos, bars with shows, hotels and saunas populate this little area of freedom. At the entrance to the neighbourhood there is a detour that leads to Castillo de Bellver, which is an emblematic image of the Balearic community.
El Moliner is an old fishing neighbourhood, right on the seafront, that is now an upcoming area of the city. However, it's still a calm and peaceful neighbourhood, ideal for a stroll or an aperitif on a Sunday morning. S'Arenal and C'an Pastilla are the tourist areas of Palma. Here Germans and elderly holidaymakers rub shoulders in bars and restaurants where they only speak German. In Balneario 6 it's quite likely that you won't be understood if you don't speak German.
Genova finishes our tour of the city of Palma in a popular area of restaurants specializing in local cuisine. Pa amb oli (bread with oil), snails, stuffed aubergines, frito (fried pig offal with onions and peppers) or Mallorcan soup are some of the dishes that you can enjoy in any of the 10 or so restaurants that have sprung up in this area.
History of Palma De MallorcaIf we travel back to prehistoric times in Mallorca, there are numerous remains from a primitive population that lived in the Bronze Age. The talaiots or funeral monuments, of which the visitor can see more than one example during his trips round the island, are testimony to this. Later a range of civilizations established colonies on the island of Mallorca: Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians.
The Balearics were also under Roman rule but, in spite of the fact that they founded small towns such as Alcudia ' in the North of the island ' there are not many Roman momentos here. After these colonials the Vandals arrived, then the Phoenicians and finally in the 9th century the Islamic muslims, who took power of the archipelago and took orders from the 'Califato' of Córdoba first and then the kingdom of Denia. This went on until the governor of Amortadha declared them independent. The Arab occupation lasted nearly 5 centuries. However, in terms of monuments they didn't leave any significant remains, apart from the Castell del Rei, near to Pollenca, a part of the walls of Alcudia and the the arab baths of Palma, that date from the 10th century and in which you can appreciate the existence of a sophisticated urban life. But the most significant Arab legacy is in the customs that have been preserved throughout the years, such as the concept of habitat, the art of embroidery, the technology and the pictures imprinted on the ceramics or the forgery, as well as in the place names such as Binissalem.
The Arab domination finished with the conquest of Jaime I, the Conqueror, which was a key part of the island's history. In the city of Palma this monarch founded the Christian kingdom of Mallorca. This kingdom resulted in successive battles, with the occupation of the island by the troops of Alfonso III of Aragón, fighting against Jaime II of Mallorca. The kingdom of Mallorca was united with the kingdom of Aragón first and then with the Spanish monarchy with the accession to the throne of Fernando of Aragón and Isabel of Castilla, the popular Reyes Católicos.
From that moment onwards the history of the Balearics is mixed with that of Spain, with the internal events being the battles that effected the peasants and the middles classes in the 15th century, the spread of diseases such as cholera, the plague and yellow fever or the pirate raids. As far as the 20th century is concerned it is worth mentioning that Mallorca, which has always been a first rate military base, fell into line with the Movement and Franco.
Any historical tour should include some reference to the famous people that have left their footprints on Mallorca and contributed to the reputation of the island as a bohemian haunt, such as the famous composer Chopin or the poet Rubén Darío, among others. But above all it should include art, some of the oldest examples of which we have already mentioned. In this sense it is necessary to name the many churches and public monuments in the Gothic style, among these those that stand out are the Cathedral and La Lonja in Palma. As for the Renaissance, and in particularly the architectural style known as plateresque, the most interesting example of this is the portico of San Jerónimo, which is also found in the capital of Palma.
In the olden days Mallorca was also known for its muslim ceramics from Inca, especially the large plates varnished on one side and blue in colour. To see these magnificent works of art, and many others, visitors should not miss a trip to Musem of Mallorca located in the Casco Antiguo of Palma. In terms of painting the altarpieces of the 14th and 15th centuries stand out, these are majestic works that show minute detail.
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