When my friend Rapha was raving about the Museo Militar in Porto Pi I was puzzled. A memory site for guns and weapons? Definitely not my thing. But after centuries of fighting and bloodshed the location of the museum is a peaceful, almost magic place, today. And the view from Castillo de San Carlos over the bay of Palma just spectacular. Towards Palma’s cathedral and as far as Puig Major. Or out to the sea.
The peculiar star-shaped fortress has a long and eventful history. Some of which is told in the carefully restored exhibition rooms. If you are rather uninterested in military objects and strategies, you’ll enjoy a visit nonetheless. Explore the plain, often narrow Marès vaults. Or just walk along the walls of the Castillo, from one corner to the next. The perspective changes with every turn.
The terrace of the museum café Bar San Carlos is worth a visit on its own. Sitting in the shadow of the pine trees with a coffee or a cool drink all you can hear are the cries of seagulls. Hard to imagine, that in the Middle Ages Mallorca was one of the most embattled places in the Mediterranean.
Palma’s harbor was actually located in Porto Pi. To protect the ships an iron chain was fixed between two towers on either side of the small bay. This soon seemed insufficient, so the Castillo San Carlos was built. The thunder of its cannons shattered the glass of the nearby beacon until it was moved to the Torre de Porto Pi.