History of Castell de Bellver: Castle fortess and Prison
Built by Jaime II in 1309-1311, this circular, hilltop castle was erected as
a summer residence for the kings of Mallorca. This was before serving as a
fortress and then a prison. Jaime III's widow and sons were incarcerated here
for most of their lives. The jail's most notable inmate, statesman
Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, served six years in the early 19th century.
Getting to the Castle from Palma
Today the castle is one of Palma's
top attractions. It is located just to the West of the city. Many visitors
come for the spectacular views afforded by its lofty location, 112m above
the city. Some holiday makers choose to
walk up from Palma. You can have
picnic in the surrounding
Wood, the largest green area in the vicinity, before entering the castle. Some
take one of several buses up here.
The complex is home to two museums which are open Monday to Saturday.
Despuig Collection of Classical Sculpture:
- Neo-classical sculptures from Cardinal Antonio Despuig's collection. Influece from his time living in Rome is seen here.
City History Museum:
- Conprehensive museum that chronicles Palma's history from prehistoric times to the present.
- Has artifacts including; coins, weapons and pottery from Talayotic, Roman, Arab and Spanish periods.
- Other exhibits, spread over two floors include; the Sala de Jovellanos, throne room, kitchen, dungeons, and the San Marcos Chapel.
Torture in the Castle
The castle's nethermost room, L'olla or The Pot, was originally designed to collect water. Later it was employed as a torture chamber. Now you can see it as it stands adorned with fantastical instruments of torment.
Castle Tower - Torre de Homenaje
This is the keep of the castle. It is a huge structure nearly twice as high as the castle walls. You must contact the castle to arrange appointments to see inside it.