The interior of the Cathedral was originally to have been lit by 87 windows: 7 in the Trinity Chapel, 8 in the Royal Chapel, 16 in the nave and 16 more in the aisles, 4 in each apse chapel and 36 in the chapels in the aisles. However, a total of 59 have been opened at present. The chapels in the aisles all have the outlines of five windows, two of which cannot provide illumination because they are in the side walls. The other windows in the chapels are almost completely covered by the monumental baroque altarpieces that reach up to the tracery.
As for rose windows, the Cathedral was to have seven – one at the back of the apse, another at the entrance to it, two in the aisles and three in the main façade. However, five of these seven roses currently remain as it was decided to block the two lateral rose windows in the main facade during Peyronnet’s refurbishment.
The Cathedral’s artificial lighting also deserves special mention. It is lit by five candelabras – one in the nave and four in the aisles – as well as the lighting that Gaudí designed at the start of the 20th century that comprises fourteen candelabras on the columns and the candelabras and lamps in the Royal Chapel.
THE SHOW OF LIGHT
With the denomination of the Feast of Light, the Cathedral of Mallorca wants to revitalize the historical denomination from the sixth century in the West, of Marian devotional tradition and associated with the celebration of Candelaria on February 2, date coinciding with the repetition of it light effect that occurs on November 11. Since the 1970s, the Cathedral of Mallorca has identified this double circumstance of light projected from the greater rosette and has been progressively disseminating it.
The phenomenon of the light projection of the largest rosette constitutes an itinerary that is chronically reproduced each year, related to the winter solstice and the prelude to spring. On very precise dates, November 11 and February 2, the fact is identical. Likewise, the winter and summer solstices bring new expressions of light, seen from the outside of the Cathedral, near Christmas, or, seen from the interior of the temple, at the summer solstice on June 21, where the The projection phenomenon is reversed, from the main facade or from the west towards the greater rosette.
Throughout the year, inside the Cathedral you can see other episodes of light following the solar rotation and its polychrome diffusion projected on the architectural structure and the movable elements of the cathedral heritage. The architecture of the Cathedral, of Gothic design and constructive traces according to the tradition of the art of the stonework of Mallorca, has created a unique monument in Europe that facilitates the exceptional reading of its light.
San Martín and Santa Candelária
The day of San Martín, November 11, and the day of Santa Candelária, February 2; After sunrise, around 8:30 am, an exceptional lighting effect is produced in the Cathedral, consisting of the chromatic projection of the monumental rose window that presides over the main altar over the main altar. The light of the rising sun crosses the greater rosette and projects on the opposite wall, just below the rosette of the main façade, so that, for a short period of time, two tangential rosettes can be seen - joined by a point-, one glass and one light.
The circumstantial conjunction of a series of unplanned events, result in this unique phenomenon. The historical causes that make it possible are the following:
The orientation of the Cathedral, 120º SE approximately, which coincides with the sunrise during the winter solstice.
The construction of the temple that defined its basilical plan incorporating the areas of the pre-existing mosque, as well as the spaces of the urban environment. The factory began in the 13th century and ended in the 1630s.
The dimensions of the central nave that are determined by the occupation of the previous space of the mosque. These measures are associated with the location of the greater rosette, its internal diameter of 11.38 meters and the longitudinal alignment of the central nave.
The construction of the main facade that was made in three chronological phases (XVI-XVII and XIX centuries) and presents two different fronts, interior and exterior. This is a decisive factor in the current location of your rosette seen from the inside wall.
The completion of the stained glass installation program in all the windows and rosettes available in the Cathedral that began at the end of the 19th century. The last phase of the stained glass windows coincides with the post-conciliar adaptation according to the liturgical prescriptions of the Second Vatican Council. The conditions of natural light in the interior of the temple have remained stable since 2010, when the integral restoration of the greater rosette ended.
Winter solstice light phenomenon
For some twenty days around the winter solstice, the sunrise can be seen through the Cathedral’s two rose windows – the main rose window and the rose window in the main façade – thus creating a sort of kaleidoscope effect.
The Balearic Mathematics Society (Sociedad Balear de Matemáticas) is the institution that discovered this phenomenon and every year it invites members of the public to the Baluard Museum as this phenomenon can be seen from its terraces. According to Daniel Ruiz Aguilera and Josep Lluís Pol Llompart, members of this society, the effect was discovered in 2007 by Canon Teodor Suau, who observed that the projection of the main rose window onto the rose window of the main façade was complete during these days.