Friday, May 1, 2015

Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca or La Seu

The idea of seeing it again filed my heart with excitement and I felt like a little child while I was getting dressed. It was our first day of vacation. When we got out of the hotel the salty smell of the sea breeze hit us in the face, the light and the sunlight surrounded us and felt peasant on out skin. We went into the bus and headed for Palma town. I stuck my head in the window and waited impatiently for the one thing I most wanted to see. We passed long fields filled with green palm trees, red rhododendrons and white houses. Then the bus entered Palma and my hearth started pounding waiting to see it behind any building. And then suddenly it appeared in front of our eyes, majestic and splendid. The Cathedral of Mallorca or Catedral de Mallorca or La Seu. Built on the beach of the Palma city the La Seu is one of the biggest, most impressive and beautiful churches I have ever seen.  For me the cathedral has become one of the dearest churches, as Palma de Mallorca has become one of our dearest vacation destinations. Catedral de Mallorca is the symbol of Palma and it’s the first thing we see when entering the city and from the plane’s window when we land in Palma. It is build from Majorcan sandstone and the color of the stones gives it a special beauty.  To me it looks like a sand castle on the big, beautiful and fragile. The building of the cathedral started in 1306 under King James II and lasted 3 centuries until 1601. Since then it has been restored and improved by architects and artists like Juan B. Peyronet, Antoni Gaudi and Miguel Barcelo.

 La Seu Cathedral
We step down from the bus and we cross the Parc de la Mar admiring the beautiful artificial lake and fountain in front of the cathedral. We walk slowly in the park and admire the church from all possible angles. We look at the beautiful towers, the sand color walls, the statues and the two amazing rose windows, one in the front of the church over the main large door and one in the back of the church.

 La Seu Cathedral from the Parc de la Mar

 Parc de la Mar

Then we climb the stairs. The view from the cliff where the church is build is amazing. You can see the whole Parc de la Mar, the sea and the harbor. White ships and sailboat float over the perfect blue sparkling water.  The cathedral stands on cliff and is bathed in sunlight. 

Stairs leading to the Cathedral

View of Parc de la Mar

We walk around the church and we admire the walls of the church and the status close by. On the side of the church facing the sea we find one of the three doors of the church called the Mirador or the Door of the Apostles. That is because just above the wooden door there is beys-relief with the Last supper. Above the base-relief there are two more arches with stone flowers and then it ends in a beautiful triangular structure. 
 Mirador entrance facing the sea

We continue to walk around the church and we come face to face with the most beautiful church door we have ever seen, the door placed under the rose window, The Portal Mayor. Above the wooden door there is a wonderful statue of the crowned Saint Mary and around her a lot of symbols in base-relief representing her. Beautiful statues and arches surround her. Above her high up there is the rose window, one of the most beautiful and biggest I have ever seen in my whole life. It amazes you with its beauty and the delicate stone flowers which form it.

 Portal Mayor

 Statue of the Virgin Mary

The rose window above the door

The rose window above the Portal Mayor

Rose window above the altar, seen from outside
We walk slowly to the last door, the Alms door and the simplest from all three. This is the door on which the believers enter for the mass and it is near the entrance for the tourists. 

Alms door
 Entrance to the Cathedral

We stay in a long queue and then we enter first the museum filled with relics, chandeliers, tombs of famous bishops, chalices, crucifixes and other beautiful religious artifacts and clothes.  And then we enter the church. For the first minutes I am always silent. I am mesmerized by the hugeness and the majesty of it. There is so much space and it is always cool inside no matter how hot it is inside. It is always quiet, no matter how many tourists are inside and a sense of peace fills me each time I enter. The cathedral has three naves and rows and rows of wooden pews that can hold hundreds of believers. I sit in the pew and I pray, then I admire the walls and the altars and all the beauty of the church with leaves me speechless and dreamy. 

Inside the church

Resting and praying in the pews

When I am inside of La Seu I understand perfectly why it is called the Cathedral of Light. The beautiful, warm Mediterranean light which bathes the church from the outside floods also the interior through the many colored stained glass windows, 87 windows along the walls and 8 rose windows above the main altar and on the wall from the back of the church. The light comes through the colored windows, representing images from the bible and millions of colored patches of light in the air of the church, on the walls and on the marble ground. 

 Rose windows above the altar

 Rose window on the back of the church
 Light floods the church through the rose windows
Stained glass windows
 The rose window above the altar

Colored light falling on the marble floors
The most beautiful thing about this place and the one I didn’t manage to experience so far happens only two times a year on 2nd of February and 11 November and it refers to the two main rose windows in the church: the one above the altar and the one on the back wall of the church. On this day at a specific hour the light coming through the main rose window reflects itself exactly under the rose window on the back wall creating a perfect eight of unbelievable colors. I wish I could see that, I wish I could have a picture of that phenomenon.
From the windows I turn my face to the three altars which are dedicated to the Eucharist. In the mail altar, the bigger one in the center of the church is the place where the Eucharist is celebrated when mass takes place. There is the table where the priest celebrated the bread and wine, the place for the choir, the chairs for the priests and ministrants and a baldachin over the all of this. Over this main altar reins the main rose window and smaller ones around it. 

 Rose window over the main altar
 Main altar
Main altar
The altar on the left represents the Last supper, where our Lord Jesus presented the Eucharist for the first time. This altar is classical and beautiful, in the baroque style, full of statues and base-reliefs and golden decorations.

 The Last supper altar

 The Last supper altar
The altar on the right is kind of too ultra modern for my taste but somehow I understand what attracts people to like it. In the center there is the image of Christ in base-relief, in is left o him the wall looks like the bottom of the sea full of fish, on his right it is represented the earth with all its riches. 

 Modern altar
 The fruits of the sea

The fruits of the Earth
After I recollected my thoughts I start walking around the church admiring the many, many chapels around it dedicated to different saints or stages from our Lords life. My favorite chapel is also the only one which I open for prayer. It is the one dedicated to the crowned Virgin Mary. There I enter every time and kneel if from of the Virgin and pray. This is how I prayed two years ago to help me have a child and on the way back to Bratislava I was already pregnant with my baby. This time I go inside and thank her from the bottom of my heart. 


There are also many paintings, my favorite being the one in which Peter is presented the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Then there are the dark wood confessionals, the baptismal font, the organ on the wall and many, many other small decorations. 

The confession of Peter


Slowly we go out into the small square with a fountain in the middle. The bright light outside blind you for a minute and you feel like you came out of a dream. You need to sit a second and rest after the visit. Then you enter the souvenir shop where there are books about Mallorca and the church, silly souvenir, postcards, rosaries and crucifixes.  We always buy postcards or a rosary I like or some book or other souvenirs we like. 

Exit from the Catheddral

We go out with our shopping and we step down the stairs to a beautiful small artificial green lake where swans are floating. We rest again and make pictures.

 Artificial lake in front of the church

Then we pass a beautiful park full of trees and artificial fountains in front of the cathedral and we find ourselves engulfed again into the city rush of Palma de Mallorca, back to reality. It has been a wonderful visit, like usual. 

Park in front of the Cathedral
Back in busy Palma

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