The architectural ensemble included in the Royal Valldemossa Charterhouse dates back to the 14th century. The visit includes the Neoclassical church, the cloister that was part of the old core of the structure, the gardens and the priory cells, where the historical and artistic legacy of the Carthusians is kept.
This monastic ensemble (1399) was created when Martín I ceded the old royal palace of Valldemossa to the Carthusians of the order of Saint Bruno so that they could build a monastery dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth. The palace, which is commonly known as The King Sancho Palace, was built during the time of Jaime II (early 14th century) and consolidated during the reign of his son Sancho.
The palace was turned into a monastery after it was ceded in 1399 to the Carthusians by the king. The works progressed in several stages until the 17th century. The church was built (1434-1475) over the location of the palace kitchen. The work on the larger cloister, which lay around the cemetery where the old palace courtyard was located, was completed years later (1505‑1626). A second cloister, known as the Santa María cloister, was built in 1670.
Two defence towers of different heights were built at both ends of the monastery in 1553, following a pirate raid. Nowadays, part of the smaller tower exists, converted into a dwelling and located next to the garden of what used to be the priory cell. The larger tower is still complete, with the barbican, loopholes and hipped roof, located next to the monastery gate. The annex, known as ‘hell’, was completed in 1676 and used for the female relatives of the monks.
The lengthy construction and the process of adapting a civil building for religious uses, allied to the lack of space, led to the construction of a new building. Its first design (1718) was inspired by the Montealegre charterhouse in Barcelona. The intervention of architect J. de Aragón (1751) established the final design as a convent church, which was sanctified in 1812.
The long history of this monastery can be traced to the preservation of its main structures: the Santa María cloister and its cells, as well as both defence towers, are preserved from its first stage (up to the 17th century), and the chemist was built during the 18th century (1723-1725). It is now installed in one of the old chapels of the Mirtos patio, with a large collection of Catalan clay jars, Majorcan glass, original tools (18th century) such as scales, mortars, retorts, etc.
The church (18th century) is structured with a Latin cross shape. Its longitudinal arm has four aisles that are covered by a half barrel vault with lunettes. The area of the transept is crowned by a dome on pendentives. There is one choir at each foot of the temple, one for lay people and one for monks. In accordance with Carthusian tradition, there is a small elliptical and domed chapel, devoted to the tabernacle, behind the chancel. The design is credited to J. de Aragón and brother Miquel de Petra, together with Jacinto Cocchi. The most important decoration elements are by Adrià Ferrán, Josep Folch and Manuel Bayeu.
On the walls it is important to note the system of pilasters with composite capitals and the wide entablature with modillions. The walls are lined with white stucco, which contrast with the grey marble toe walls and the frescoes (late 18th century – early 19th century) by Brother Manuel Bayeu, which depict a triumphant Christ with biblical representations of the seven virtues and Marian imagery.
Throughout its history, the ensemble has attracted many illustrious people, including Frédéric Chopin and her partner George Sand, who stayed between 1838 and 1839. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the town.