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THE PALACE OF KING SANCHO

THE PALACE OF KING SANCHO

The Palace of King Sanç is in Plaza de la Cartuja. It is one of the most beautiful places you could imagine and one that has had the honour of having welcomed Kings, Emperors and Presidents from all over the world.

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In front of the, parish towards the northeast and on the hill of Pujol, in 1309, James II ordered this castle to be built as a hunting residence. Two years later, his son, the crown prince Sanç extended the palace and provided it with running water. The construction and extension work was commissioned to the master Guillem Cerdà, a builder and mayor of the town. The Kings were so delighted with the new residence, that they rewarded master Cerdà and his descendants with lands free of taxes and tithes.

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James III also spent some seasons in the castle. This meant temporarily moving the court to Valldemossa, despite the fact that the town centre was always further below, around the parish church of Sant Bartomeu. In 1399, King Martin of Aragon granted the old palace to the Carthusian monks, in order for them to found a monastery in Mallorca, in a secluded environment. The monks transformed the Plaza de Armas into a cloister and cemetery; the five lounges were turned into cells, the prison become a refectory, the pantry a sacristy, the kitchen a church, and an adjoining storehouse was turned into a chapter.

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The cloister of Santa María was built during the 16th and 17th centuries and is one of the few Renaissance cloisters in Mallorca. On the east and west slopes, six chapels were opened for the private masses of monks, and the first one remains intact. To the south there were nine cells and to the north the primitive Gothic church, abandoned in the 19th century and now used as a concert hall. The paintings are by R. Anckermann (1842-1907) and depict scenes from the history of Valldemossa. En 1717 a large extension project began on the Charterhouse, with new corridors, cells and a Church, although the old buildings continued to be used.

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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, the Minister for Justice under Charles IV, was exiled by Godoy in 1801 to the Charterhouse of Valldemossa, and lived in this cell on the first floor of the guest tower that was built in 1555 in order to defend the town from attacks by Moors. Between these walls measuring a metre and half wide, Jovellanos was inspired to write his book Public Education: A History of the Charterhouse of Valldemossa and a diary that reflects his stay there. For a year, he participated in the religious life, and the decoration of the new church, advising monk Manuel Bayeu about its frescos, and along with the apothecary, he produced a treatise on botany. Finally, and owing to such good treatment, he was moved to Bellver castle.

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Following the Disentailment of Mendizábal, in 1835, the process of disentailment and definitive expulsion of the Carthusian monks began, and they were forced to leave the monastery. The property passed into private ownership. First it was Mruan Sureda i Bímet who carried out a major renovation of the Mallorcan palace, a real lover of the arts and literature, this was the era when the primitive Charterhouse hosted illustrious guests that contributed to enriching its history: Rubén Darío, Azorín, Unamuno, Santiago Rusiñol, Eugeni d’Ors.

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Following this period and now owned by Mr José Mª Bauzá de Mirabó i Maroto the church underwent the transformation that explains the current decoration, that of a stately home of the Mallorcan nobility. It is now open to the public.