Palma’s Plaça d’Espanya is the geographical kilometer zero of Mallorca. In normal times, it is busy day and night. Commuters on their way to the train, tourists waiting for the bus, kids meeting after school, people resting on a bench in the shade. A churro stand maybe, and most likely a couple of street musicians. And in the midst of it all Gaspar Bennàzar’s Barometer, a genuine weather station. The square column with the strange gabled roof is often ignored, even though it has been the meeting point of young and old for more than 100 years, now. Witnessing everyday life I’m sure it could tell exciting stories.
Sure, today we just check our weather app for the current temperature or probability of rain. But even before the era of smart phones Palmesanos knew where to get the daily weather forecast. And Gaspar Bennàzar’s Barometer not only features a thermometer, a hygrometer and a barometer. Guess what village on the island is the farthest from Palma? The fourth side of the column tells you the distance to 48 major towns and villages on the island. From A like Alaró (23 km) to V like Villafranca (41 km). With 79 km it’s Capdepera that is most distant from Palma.
Gaspar Bennàzar, arquitecto municipal de Palma for more than three decades, had a decisive influence on the townscape of La Ciutat as we know it today. He planned the inner city ring and the new housing areas beyond the Avenidas. And he designed a number of iconic buildings like S’Escorxador, the old slaughterhouse where CineCiutat and Mercado Gastronómico San Juan reside, today. Or the mansion on Plaça d’Espanya that formerly housed renowned Bar Cristal, and where you find Es Rebost now, instead.