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1. History of the Castell de Bellver

Bellver Castle stands about three kilometres from the city centre of Palma, on a hill some 112 metres above sea level. It overlooks the city of Palma, its bay and a large part of southwest Majorca.

Its construction began in 1300, commissioned by Jaume II, King of Majorca. Work on the building took nine years and the ornamentation was finished later. 70 permanently employed workmen, a large number of women and the king's slaves all worked on it.  

The castle was designed as a royal residence. All the three kings of Majorca stayed there for short periods of time: Jaume II, Sanį I and Jaume III. At the end of the 14th century, Joan I of Aragon and his wife Violant of Bar lived there for four months with their court, fleeing the plague in mainland Spain.

After the Kingdom of Majorca's fall in 1343, Bellver castle was used as a prison in several occasions. Between 1802 and 1808, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, Minister of the Treasury, Patronage and Justice in the reign of Carlos IV, was imprisoned in one of the rooms on the first floor. The castle also acted as a prison for numerous French officers and soldiers defeated in the Battle of Bailen in 1808. In 1814, General Lacy, leader of a failed liberal rebellion faced a firing squad there. In 1821, the castle was temporarily used as a mint. Its last period as a prison was during and after the Spanish Civil War, when up to 800 Republican prisoners were kept inside.

The building is circular in lay-out with three semicircular buttressed towers, and a single tower some seven metres from the body of the castle. The construction is arranged around a central courtyard, on two levels, the ground floor with semicircular arches and flat roofs and the upper one with Gothic arches and the ribbed vault so typical of Gothic architecture.

 In 1931 the Government gave the building and the woods to Palma City Council who turned it into the Palma History Museum and the Despuig Collection of Classical Sculpture. In addition, the Palma Town council organises various cultural and leisure activities there.

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rei en jaume Historia Castell de Bellver

Date of last modification:17 of May 2018

© Castell de Bellver de Camilo José Cela s/n. 07014 Palma (Illes Balears) Telephone: 971 73 50 65 | Fax: 971 45 43 73