SPOT THE SUNDIALS
The sun shines on over 300 days a year in Mallorca, so it’s not surprising that the island has a lot of sundials – which are part of its cultural heritage. The island is said to have around a thousand – some three hundred of which are in Palma alone. It’s one of the highest concentrations of sundials in Europe.
For a different activity in Mallorca, you could make an excursion to seek out some of these clever timepieces.
The best places to look for sundials are churches, convents, historic buildings, and some of the ‘plazas’ in Palma. One of Palma’s most interesting sundials is not on a wall but on the ground next to the maritime customs building at Carrer del Moll. You play the part of the ‘hand’, following the instructions on the adjacent plaque. Kids will enjoy this.
Many of Mallorca’s sundials have fallen into disrepair, but those at Raixa Gardens, the Galatzó finca, and the churches in Alaró and Galilea have been restored.
Most of Mallorca’s sundials are from the 17th and 18th centuries, but there are also some more modern examples. At Lluc monastery, partway up the path towards the calvary, there’s a complicated-looking vertical sundial from 1991 by Rafael Soler. Another of his is in Sóller’s Botanical Garden. Dating from 1998, it is a cubical sundial on a pillar, with different dials on five faces.
If you get the bug for sundials, there’s even a book about the island’s authentic timepieces. ‘Sundials of Mallorca’ is by Miquel Àngel Garciá Arrando.