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Ecotax to the rescue

Temple towers to be restored


The so called Ecotax has come in for a lot of criticism from almost all sides, tourists who have to pay it, politicians and ordinary people. Despite this it does seem to be contributing to the preservation and restoration of much of Mallorca's environment and history.

The latest project to be funded by the Sustainable Tourism Tax is the restoration of the Temple Towers in Palma. Long neglected for whatever reason, the towers are an integral part of the history of Palma from its time as an Islamic stronghold and through to the Christian reconquest.

The crenellated towers look just like the type built in the European middle ages through which arrows were shot and all kinds of nasty things tipped onto would be invaders, but are in fact part of the gate in the city walls of the Islamic Almudaina Gumara. They became a Christian stronghold when Jaime I reconquered Mallorca with the help of the Knights Templar, a violent religious order from the Crusades whose epithet seemed to be 'killing for Jesus,' who took over the towers.

They used the building for storing booty they had looted all over Mallorca and became very powerful in their role as bankers to the Popes. However, they weren't all bad, as they built a beautiful chapel in the interior of the building which is renowned for its simplicity.

Over the years the building has been used for various purposes, the Spanish Inquisition, unexpectedly used it for the pointy hatted activities and it was all used for housing. Now, over €2 million is to be spent restoring the towers to their former glory, removing later additions to them, restoring the battlements to their original form and revealing many hidden architectural gems.

The plans are the brainchild of the Ibicenco architect Elias Torres and his practise Elias Torres Martínez-Lapeña, who have designed other such projects in Palma and Spain, together with the Architect Maria Jose Duch. As announced earlier this week on Twitter, the work will start in the second quarter of 2018 and last well into the following year.

The only drawback about the Knights Templar's chapel is that it is almost impossible to see into it, if you are lucky there is a tiny window open from which it's possible to catch a glimpse. Maybe the eproject will involve us being able to see into it? I hope so.

If you mosey on down to have a look, there's a nice square opposite where you can take a coffee or cool drink. Enjoy!