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Palma Cathedral Spectacular

Lights, camera, action.

For any new readers or anyone who may have missed some of my past news articles, here's a story that bears repeating as it's one of those special occasions that shouldn't be missed if you have the chance to see it. Taking place in Palma's giant Gothic cathedral on Saturday it's known as “L'espectacle del vuit,” or in English The Spectacle of the Eight.

What happens is that the light from the sun rising through the eastern rose stained glass window is projected onto the wall under the western rose window forming the shape of an 8. Incredibly this happens on the same two days every year - the Saints' days of Candelaria and San Martin de Tours, whose dates are 2/2 and 11/11, both of whose digits add up to 4 and two fours are eight!

The knowledge of mathematics, geometry, astronomy as well as building skills must have been incredible to align everything in such a way to produce this spectacle way back in the 12th century when work on the cathedral commenced.

Built on a mosque which already had an east/west orientation, Palma cathedral followed the rules of Gothic church building at the time which dictated that to make life easier for a largely illiterate congregation to grasp the tenets of Christianity churches should;

have a structure which was a visible 'text'

have a mathematical harmony to illustrate the belief that sacred reality was reflected in the truths of math, proportion and nature

have luminosity as a symbol of the light of revelation.

The cathedral opens its doors at 07:30 on Saturday 11th November and is expecting a big crowd as it's the weekend. Tremendously popular already the show is sure to pack the place out this year and if possible you should really try to get there.

Even without the light spectacular the cathedral is extremely interesting and I absolutely love the two 'modern' features that have been added hundreds of years after it was completed. The famous Catalan Modernist architect Antoni Gaudi designed a fabulous alter canopy at the start of the last century and at the start of the 21st century, local artist Miquel Barcelo added a quirky modern interpretation of the bread and fishes biblical story as a mural in a side chapel.

All the photos in our slideshow are from the cathedral's Facebook page.