Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Mallorca Day 51 - Palma tourist bus and Castell de Bellver

Caught the 10am Express bus to Palma today, I was in to the central bus and train station by about 10:40am.
Just outside the station I sat at a cafe and had a coffee and croissant and realized I was right beside the tourist office, so I bought a ticket on the Hop on Hop off, sightseeing bus and got directions to the nearest stop. I got the last seat on the top deck and plugged in to the English commentary.
I have found these buses to be a great way of figuring out the general layout of a city and getting some basic history, in comfort. I can then decide what is walkable, what is interesting and where I want to get off and on.
A section of the old wall that used to circle the city. It was dismantled as urban planners believed it was restricting the growth of the city and contributing to disease and plagues. There are two small sections left.
A different view of the cathedral than I have had before.
This, Castell de Bellver (Castle of the beautiful view), I knew would be a place I would want to get off.
Bellver Castle[1] (Catalan: Castell de Bellver) is a Gothic style castle on a hill 3 km to the west of the center of Palma on the Island of Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. It was built in the 14th century for King James II of Majorca, and is one of the few circular castles in Europe.[2] First serving as the residence of the Kings of Majorca, and afterward long used as a military prison throughout the 18th to mid-20th century, it is now under civilian control, being one of the main tourist attractions of the island, as well as the seat for the city's History Museum.[3] 
From Wiki.
I have never seen a circular castle before.
I walked around the outer defenses first
as the height gave great views of the marina, city, coast in both directions
and what looked like rain clouds amassing over the Tramuntana mountains
The inside courtyard reminded me of a bullring more than a castle.
Inside, on the lower level, is a museum of the city. Although there is evidence of earlier occupation the beginning of Palma is set at 123BC, when the Romans established a port here. Pollenca, on the North East coast was a more important port then as it was a more direct route to Rome.
Palma was more important under the Moors as it faced South, towards North Africa. The Moors built the first city walls, developed water and irrigation systems and built mosques (the Cathedral sits on a Mosque site)
The Moors were driven out by the Kings of Aragon and  Mallorca and Palma were under Catalan rule for about 200 years however the urban sprawl of Palma can be blamed on the government since the 1950's when tourism took off. The museum did not have a great deal in the way of artifacts but had lots of information in English and was clearly organized.
Back into the central courtyard and then up to the second level.
where there wasn't much to see, a throne room, a large assembly room, a fireplace
but I still found the circular architecture fascinating.
On the top, views of the surroundings
and down into the courtyard.

I love the play of sun and shade through arches.

I sat to do a quick sketch and then hopped on the bus again.
I am going to end the post there, even though I am only about half way through my day. It is 11pm and I have another guided walk tomorrow. I will catch up over the next couple of days. Mum's birthday tomorrow too.

1 comment:

  1. We enjoyed meeting you at the Castle. I would like to follow your blog, but I can't see the link to do that.