The mighty San Carlos castle which dominates the entrance to Palma's enormous bay and port
The mighty San Carlos castle which dominates the entrance to Palma's enormous bay and port hasn't fired a shot in anger for many years and is a wonderful place for an interesting morning visit.
It's now the Spanish Armed Forces' Military Museum and is packed full of interesting military memorabilia from the 12th century up to date!
Constructed on the orders of King Philip III from 1610 to 1612 at the behest of the Merchants' Association to protect their goods and the port from attack by pirates and Berber Corsairs it cost an
enormous £12,000 to build. Like many great buildings in Palma, it was built from locally quarried sandstone, and many of the blocks still bear the identification marks of the quarry on them.
For hundreds of years it served as a fortress and home to the canons and mortars used by Spain's finest artillerymen, who by repute all came from Mallorca. It's also been used as a hospital, home
for prison officers, and a battery for saluting homecoming warships until it became the museum in 1981.
Inside the various old rooms, cavernous sandstone chambers with vaulted ceilings, house a fascinating collection of weaponry covering hundreds of years; guns, canons, swords and mortars used in the
various offensive and defensive military campaigns of the Spanish Forces. In addition there are rooms dedicated to The War of Independence fought against Napoleon's invading French troops, and one
of Spain's most famous (some say infamous) military men Valeriano Weyler, who was born in Palma and became the Governor of Cuba.
As well as fabulous views of the Port and City, there's another good reason to visit the castle at the moment – Lluisa the baby donkey! Four adult donkeys are on permanent duty at San Carlos,
grazing the grounds to keep everything looking neat and tidy. One of the pairs has just produced little Lluisa, who is as cute as a button, and the other pair will be hearing the patter of tiny
hooves imminently, and as you can imagine, people are flocking to see them!
The Museum is located on the Carretera del Dique Oeste in the Porto Pi (just past the shopping mall) area of the city beyond the cruise ship port and can be reached on the number 1 bus. It's
totally free to enter and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 until 14.00 – visit its website by clicking the link.