Palma, often called Palma de Mallorca, is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coast of Majorca on the Bay of Palma. As of the 2009 census, the population of the city of Palma proper was 401,270, and the population of the entire urban area was 621,000, making it the twelfth largest urban area of Spain.
Almost half of the total population of Majorca live in Palma. The Cabrera Archipelago, though widely separated from Palma proper, is administratively considered part of the municipality. Its airport, Palma de Mallorca, serves over 22 million passengers each year.
Palma is famous for La Seu, its vast cathedral originally built on a previous mosque. Although construction began in 1229, it did not finish until 1601. Local architect Antoni Gaudí was drafted in to restoration the building 1901. The Parc de la Mar (Park of the Sea) lies just south, overlooked by the great building which sits above it on the city’s stone foundations. Between the two are the town walls.
The Old City (in the south-east area of Palma behind the cathedral) is a maze of streets clearly hinting at an Arab past. With the exception of a few streets and squares which allow traffic and are populated with tourists most of the time, the walkways of this city quarter are fairly narrow, quiet streets, surrounded by a diverse range of interesting buildings, the architecture of which is comparable to cities such as Florence. The majority are private houses, some of which are open to the public as discreet museums or galleries. The Old City is also home to the Ajuntament (or Town Hall), the Convent of the Cathedral and the Banys Àrabs.