Bellver Castle is situated on top of a hill, surrounded by Bellver Wood, which is the largest green area within Palma de Mallorca and which affords spectacular views over the city and the bay. It was constructed by the King of Mallorca Jaume II between 1309 and 1311 as a military fortress and Gothic-style palace. Throughout its history it has always been used more for defence purposes and imprisonment than as a residence for royals or other important personages, and it has always been linked to the conflicts in which the island has been involved. The building has a circular layout and is constructed from Mallorcan mares stone, some of which was extracted from mysterious subterranean quarries which have been drilled into a good part of the mountain at between 40 and 60 metres below the castle. It has four circular towers, one of which – Torre de l´Homenatge (Tower of Homage) – is linked to the main building by a bridge; at 33.37 metres high, this is the tallest of the castle´s towers, and it is divided into four rooms. The bottom room, known as L´olla (The Pot), was deigned as a water deposit with a single opening at the top, but it was transformed into a room for cruelly punishing many of the prisoners held at the castle. The castle´s central area is occupied by the Pati d´Armes (Arms Courtyard), which is circular and which has a tank neck in the centre giving access to a large water deposit, which occupies almost the entire subsoil. At the same level as the courtyard there is a corridor which surrounds and provides access to the rooms in the lower section, forming a perimeter of semicircular arches, above which there is another corridor with ogival arches, which provides access to the main rooms of the top floor. Amongst the castle´s rooms, most of which have cross-vaulted ceilings, we find the royal rooms, the Chapel of Sant Marc and a large kitchen.
One of the castle´s most illustrious prisoners was Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos – an old minister of Carlos IV of Spain – who was imprisoned at Bellver from 1802 until three years before his death in 1811. He wrote part of his works here and documented his imprisonment.
It is here that we find the City History Museum, whose pieces mainly come from archaeological excavations. It is possible to view models and photographs of the Talayotic village of Son Oms, which was destroyed when the second runway of the airport was built.
Timetable for visiting the Bellver Castle
From October until March:
Daily: 8 am – 8 pm.
Sundays and public holidays: 10 am – 5 pm.
From April until September:
Daily: 8 am – 9 pm.
Sundays and public holidays: 10 am – 7 pm.
(Sundays and public holidays the museum is closed)
Address: Camilo José Cela, s/n
07015 – Palma de Mallorca
Telephones: +34 971730657 / +34 971451203. FAX +34 971454373