Right at the heart of Europe, you’ll find three of the most beautiful Islands in the continent.
Known as the Balearic Islands, the largest is known as Mallorca whilst the smaller two are known as Menorca and Ibiza.
Mallorca is known to have many layers of history which is one of the main reasons why it attracts many visitors.
One of the layers of history consists of how Islam was brought to the Island. With remaining traces of Islamic influence, and a surviving Arab Quarter in the capital Palma, it prompted me to find out who the first Muslim was to step on this beautiful Island.
Isam al-Jaulani, who also became the governor of the Ummayads of the Balearic Islands, was on his way to Makkah for pilgrimage when he stopped at the Island in 902. He was recorded in history to be the first Muslim to have stepped foot on this Island. After successful trips to and from the island, he was elected as the governor of the islands.
Palma, the capital of Mallorca was renamed to Medina Mayurqa. Mosques were constructed, the famous Almudaina Palace was built as well as public baths.
It is worth noting that all this was at the time when Spain was under Muslim rule, so the Balearic Islands were naturally under Muslim rule too. This made it easier to go about building Mosques and hammams.
Located north from Palma the capital, visitors will also find The Gardens of Al Fabia which belonged to a former Muslim viceroy. Banya Arabs is another site that has an Islamic influence. These baths date back to the 10th – 12th century and are counted as one of the most important remaiming monuments of the Muslims on this island.
However, the most interesting monument in my opinion, is the Palma Cathedral which stands on the site where there was previously a Mosque in the Umayyad period. In it’s time, it was believed to be the largest Moorish Mosque in the city. Today, the building which stands there now is the Gothic church known as the Palma Cathedral which took approximately 400 years to build and possesses some of the finest architecture in all of Spain.