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Palma #

Palma Palma, Mallorca is now the official name of the city, whose earlier name was Palma de Mallorca. It is the biggest and capital city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coast of the island Majorca (locally spelled Mallorca, but the pronounciation contains a clear "j") on the Bay of Palma.

The population of the city is around 1/2 million if the entire urban area is counted, making it the twelfth largest urban area of Spain. Almost half of the total population of Majorca live in Palma. Its airport, Son Sant Joan, serves almost 30 million passengers (mostly tourists) per year.

One of the main sites in Palma is the Plaça d'Espanya, the transport hub of Palma near a large and popular park. One of the displays in the park shows the Ferrocarril de Sóller, a railway dating back to 1911: It connects Sóller with Palma.

Palma is famous for its vast gothic cathedral La Seu, originally built on a previous mosque. Although construction began in 1229, it did not finish until 1601 and local architect Antoni Gaudí was drafted in during a restoration project in 1901. The Parc de la Mar (Park of the Sea) lies just below by the great building which sits above it on the city's stone foundations.

The Old City (behind the cathedral) is a maze of narrow streets also hinting at the Arab past. This part of the city has a diverse range of interesting buildings, the architecture of which is sometimes compared even with those in streets of cities of Florence, Italy. Most are private houses, but some are open to the public as small museums or galleries.

The Arab Baths, one of the few remnants of Palma's Moorish past, include a lush garden that house sparrows, cacti, palm trees, and a wide range of flowers and ferns. The small house with thwe original baths is of Byzantine origin, dating back to the 11th century and was possibly once part of the home of a Muslim nobleman.

From a historic point of view, Palma was founded as a Roman camp upon the remains of Talaiotic bronce age megaliths (dating back some 3.000 years). The city was subjected to several Vandal sackings during the fall of the Roman Empire, then reconquered by the Byzantine Empire, then colonised by the Moors (who called it Medina Mayurqa) and, in the 13th century, by James I of Aragon. Its history from then on is closely intertwined with the one of Spain.