The island of Mallorca has the highest concentration of sundials per square kilometre in the world, with 829 sundials, of which 112 are located in Palma. Over time, sundials lost their fundamental usage and have fallen into disuse. Nevertheless, these time-markers have not been forgotten in Mallorca – they are an omnipresent element, and part of the cultural heritage of the island. Palma Tourist Board together with Commission of Sundials (ARCA) have identified the top sundials to see in Palma’s Old Town and surrounding areas.
“Palma’s sundials can easily be found in the most characteristic buildings of the island such as churches, convents, historic public and private buildings, as well as on streets and in ‘plazas’ and they often go unnoticed due to the rhythms of life and the passing of time”, explains Miquel Àngel García Arrando, writer of the book “Sundials of Mallorca” and member of the ARCA.
A visitor walking through Palma’s Old Town can spot a large number of sundials. For example, on the main façade facing the famous Paseo del Borne in Plaza Juan Carlos I, on the San Nicolás church (on the side of Plaza de Santa Catalina Tomás), on the façade in Calle Bolsería 1, in Plaza Sta. Eulalia (on the corner with Cadena Street), in Plaza San Francisco (on the front of the church of the same name), in Portella Street no.8 and in the Bishop’s Palace. Other quirky solar sundials can be found in Palma’s Paseo Marítimo, Parc de la Mar (next to the Customs building), Muelle Viejo (on the path of the breakwater), in Jardines de Sa Faixina (in front of the Balearic Monument) and in Gabriel Roca Avenue (Esplanade of Santo Domingo).
Pedro Homar, manager of Palma tourist board says: “These magnificent sundials are scattered around the city and are easily missed unless they are sought out. They mark a significant part of the island’s history and a true journey through time. Palma offers varied insight into its past history from important institutions from the Middle Ages such as the first parish church, the Arabian Citadel, the Merchant Guild’s Headquarters, the Royal Dockyard, the Bishop’s Palace or Palma’s Main Jewish Quarter. These sundials are another secret that are well worth a detour.