The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) has designated 1 July of each year as World Marine Aids to Navigation Day.
The Porto Pí is one of the most charming and symbolic lighthouses in the Balearic Islands. Furthermore, inside the lighthouse, located at the Port of Palma, the most incredible treasure relating to maritime signalling and our history is safeguarded. The permanent Maritime Signalling Exhibition at the Porto Pí Lighthouse reopens its doors with new opening hours that include Saturdays so that Balearic Island residents and visitors can discover all the secrets amassed behind its priceless walls.
After its temporary closure to undertake maintenance and air conditioning tasks, visitors can once again visit the permanent Porto Pí Lighthouse exhibition free of charge –with prior booking– from 10 am to 2 pm Monday to Saturday. Visits will take place in groups comprising a maximum of 20 people. Furthermore, individual visits may now be made without having to be part of a group. The visitor organisation will now be in charge of organising visitors. Associations, educational centres and other institutions will continue to function as they have done to date, that is, booking their visit in advance through the websites: www.portsdebalears.com or www.farsdebalears.com
One of the first in the world to come into operation
The Port Pí Lighthouse was the second lighthouse in Spain to come into operation and the third in the world. According to the information compiled through maritime signalling research, it was first mentioned in the will of King James II in 1300. In the will, the king entrusted the care of the lighthouse to his heirs. In any event, this central building, located at the end of Palma's seafront promenade, is a symbol of not only the city, but also the maritime communications of the Balearic Islands.
A turning point in the history of the lighthouses and their keepers came in the 1980s, when technology intervened in the dynamics of this type of maritime signalling, changing their use and functioning. At that time, Rafael Soler Gayà was the director of the Port of Palma. He caringly and wisely took the initiative –with other lighthouse keepers– to rescue and preserve all the pieces that had been taken out of the coastal lighting service due to being obsolete: lens, rigging, photographs, records, maps, etc.
That is how the Porto Pí Exhibition came about, which the APB decided to open up to and share with the public in 2004. Since then, many groups and schools have enjoyed experiencing this cultural treasure, the history of maritime signalling, our own past and the peculiar lives of lighthouse keepers.
A complete and valuable collection
The APB has received national and international acknowledgement for its meticulous care of the lighthouses, the work put into recovering the history of lighthouses and their legacy, and for having one of the most complete collections of materials used in maritime signalling since the mid-nineteenth century. This valuable collection is once again open to the residents of Mallorca and to the visitors who want to immerse themselves in the passionate and enigmatic world of lighthouses.