Among the many symbols of Mallorca the one that stands out for its charm is the Majorcan courtyard. The courtyards can be found in Palma, as well as in all other areas of the island. The courtyard is an architectural space commonly located in Spain, and in particular in Palma, where it is an essential space of the urban landscape of the old town. When walking through the streets of the centre of Palma, one can discover the beautiful courtyards kept in perfect condition, seemly incredible that they are from the 14th/15th century
The inhabitants of these spaces were mainly noblemen, however in due time also rich businessmen wanted their own courtyard and stately home. In this way, the courtyard became a ‘status symbol’ that could not be refused.
The success of the courtyard kept growing, and members of the clergy, officials and the middle class, also wanted to have their own courtyard.
In fact, there are more than 500 courtyards in Majorca
The question is where did the courtyards come from?
There are many theories. For example, some people believe the idea has a Roman origin because the courtyard has a similar architectural structure to the old Roman house. On the other hand, some theories that links it to the Catalan Middle Ages.
The structure is almost always identical: a wide entrance is almost completely enclosed by walls with a centre space. The different spaces of light and shade are usually set apart by arches and columns. There are traditionally stairs, more or less grand, that lead to the interior rooms.
The courtyard is not only a decorative feature it has a practical function as well to collect rainwater: slight slopes channels the water into tanks where it is stored for domestic use. But above all, the courtyard is to be inhabited. It is the identity of the owners of the house and used in their day-to-day activities. It is not a quiet place, but instead practical and functional to the life of its inhabitants. The courtyard is a symbol of the family, and therefore the balconies and columns often bare the family’s coat of arms
Palma is a city covered with courtyards, as well as the rest of the island. Among the estates that you must visit is Son Marroig, in the Municipality of Deia, heading towards La Foradada
Therefore a tour of the courtyards is something that you cannot miss during your stay in Majorca.