Bellver Castle: A Unique Piece of Gothic Architecture

On a hill that is roughly 112 meters above sea level, Bellver Castle is located about three kilometers from Palma’s city center. It provides a magnificent view over Palma, its port, and much of southwest Majorca.

A distinctive Gothic-style fortress constructed in the early 14th century, commissioned by Jaume II, King of Majorca. The castle’s circular shape distinguishes it from other castles from the era, making it a must-see destination for history buffs and lovers of architecture. We will examine the background and construction of this amazing fortress in this blog post and why it may be an interesting destination for families.

History of Bellver Castle

During King James II of Mallorca’s rule, between 1300 and 1311, Bellver Castle was constructed. Constructing the structure took nine years, while the embellishment took longer. A vast number of women, the king’s slaves, and 70 permanently employed laborers all contributed to its construction.

As a royal residence, the castle was built. There were brief stays by Jaume II, Sanc I, and Jaume III, the three Majorcan monarchs. When the plague struck mainland Spain at the end of the 14th century, Joan I of Aragon and his wife Violant of Bar fled there and spent four months there with their court.

After the collapse of the Kingdom of Majorca in 1343, the castle served as a military jail in its early years, and political prisoners were kept there for many years. The castle was once more put to use as a jail during the Spanish Civil War, this time by the Republican administration. The castle served as both a school and a museum after the war, and it has been accessible to the public as an institution since the 1970s.

Architecture of Bellver Castle

The castle’s round shape distinguishes it from other Gothic structures and makes it stand out. A central courtyard and a circular keep, which served as the primary prison, were made possible by the round design. The keep has three stories, the first of which is now a museum. The roof of the castle is composed of tiles, and its stone walls are broken up by Gothic arches.

The building is divided into two floors that are grouped around a central courtyard, with the upper level featuring Gothic arches and the distinctive ribbed vault found in Gothic architecture, and the ground floor featuring semicircular arches and flat roofs.

Bellver Castle’s “crown” atop the keep is another distinctive aspect of the fortress. The stronghold is surrounded by a crown made up of numerous pointed arches that are held up by columns. This characteristic of Gothic architecture lends the castle its distinctive aspect.

A chapel, a hall, and a dining room are among the Gothic-style rooms found inside the castle. A Gothic fireplace that was used for cooking and heating is also present in the castle. The dining room’s stone fireplace can be found there.

The structure and the surrounding woods were donated by the government to Palma City Council in 1931, who used them to create the Palma History Museum and the Despuig Collection of Classical Sculpture.

The Surroundings

Bellver Castle’s surrounding park is a tranquil retreat from the busy city. It is a lovely green space. If you were to walk around the outskirts of this park, considering there were paths, it would be a rough 5km walk around the tall trees and other vegetation that encircle the park. It has picnic spots, walking routes, and benches, making it the ideal location for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, especially for those who live in the area surrounding Bellver Castle. The park also provides breathtaking views of the castle from a number of vantage points, allowing tourists to take in its distinctive circular shape and Gothic architecture. The park also has a number of monuments and sculptures, which enhance its beauty and intrigue. There are also two amazing playgrounds that can be found in the park – one being the playground of the park of Bellver, while the other located on the opposite end is the playground of Castell Bellver (albeit not being that close to the castle). The former has a picnic area nearby it. Hence overall, Bellver Castle’s park offers tourists and locals a like a tranquil and beautiful setting to explore.

Why visit?

The castle is now a major tourist destination and a museum. You may enjoy stunning views of Palma and the Tramuntana mountain range when you enter the castle and go to the highest floor of the structure. Concerts and other special events are also held at the castle.

All year long, the castle is accessible to the general public. You can go alone or arrange a tour with a guide. The Visitors Reception Center in the parking lot is where tickets can be purchased. Up until 30 minutes before the event’s scheduled end time.

Aside from directly driving up all the way to the parking lot area, where the ticketing booth and reception area are found, you can alternatively walk through the park, however plan in at least for a 30 minute walk. This may be a good alternative if you would like to stroll through the park, without time pressure, or visit the large playground before or after visiting the castle itself.

If you are visiting the city and do not have a car, public buses and a tourist bus that ascends to the castle parking area are the only ways to get to the castle. Along with the castle, there is a small café and a gift shop for tourists.

Hence in closing, when in Mallorca, make sure to check out Bellver Castle, a distinctive example of Gothic design. It is an interesting location for anyone interested in history and architecture because of its circular design, Gothic elements, and lengthy history. Bellver Castle is well worthwhile a visit especially for the stunning view of the city of Palma de Mallorca.

Bookable Activities

Here are a few suggested activities in the area by our partner GetYourGuide.

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