The Felanitx Mezquita Sunna

mezquita_sunna

After a very long year of hard work and some unexpected paperwork struggle, the new Felanitx mosque is now reality and has finally been inaugurated.

The non-Muslim folks of the town seem to have given up their initial opposition and appear to have come to terms with the new place of worship. I have not yet had a chance to visit the new Sunna mosque but I will any day soon try and pay a visit. I had been into the building though some ten years ago, long before the property was acquired by the Moroccan newcomers. The building is quite modest in size really; it has now been restored and fitted out for the new purpose. A small patio belongs to the property but there is no minaret. There is also no call to prayer in Felanitx as you would hear it in North African villages.

The building extends on two floors of which the ground floor has been converted into a prayer room which I believe is for men only. The first floor is not really finished yet; it may ultimately become the prayer room for ladies. A Moroccan neighbour that I spoke to a few days ago opined that the Islamic ladies in Felanitx do not really go to the mosque for their prayers. I find that hard to believe, but he should really know; he is a member of the community that he was talking about. He commented that ladies only would go to the mosque for prayers at the occasion of the Ramadan festivities which are coming up in about eight weeks time.

The Felanitx imam – the leader of both, the mosque and of the Islamic community in Felanitx – also seems to have taken up residence in this newly converted building.

Mubarak greetings to the Felanitx Sunna community and their new mezquita.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 16th, 2009. The time was 13:49:22.

The Felanitx Mezquita Sunna

The Garden in Plaça Reina

plaça_reina

At the bottom end of Passeig des Born in Palma de Mallorca you will find the Plaça Reina and its fountain displaying some beautiful cascades of jets of water.

Opposite the fountain, in the direction of the Parliament of the Illes Balears, there is a small garden, quite peaceful despite its surrounding constant hum of traffic. The garden of Plaça Reina centres around a monument and a small fountain in honour of Joan Alcover, a Palma poet (1854-1926), plus a small sculpture by artist Esteve Monegal called La Serra. There are some lovely trees, a stunning display of plants and flowers, and plenty of shade, precisely now that we want it most during the heat of the Summer.

During mediaeval times and up until 1837, a monastery was housed in this very spot under the name of Convento de San Francisco de Paula, which was expropriated and finally torn down as a result of the Desamortizacion Ecclesiastica (1835-1837) that reigned in Spain, as well as here in Mallorca. In 1863 the garden was created and in 1996 it was last modified.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 16th, 2009. The time was 13:41:15.

The Garden in Plaça Reina

Stone Slinging

hondero

Some people argue that the name for this lovely archipelago, Islas Baleares, has its roots in the word Balearides which apparently means ‘stone slingers’. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this opinion but I can tell you that honderos (stone slingers in Castellano) or foners (in Catalan) did play an important role in the history of Mallorca, as far as I know.

Stone slinging (or sling shooting) has existed in the Mediterranean world approximately since about 6oo B. C.. Originally this technique is said to have been used for hunting purposes on an everyday basis. Later on, the slings and bullets were used as a defense method against attacking intruders. It is understood that the stone slinging people from the Balearics acquired some exceptional talents in this activity, especially once it had turned into a military profession. Rumour has it that even Hannibal employed honderos from Mallorca as mercenaries for his Punic wars.

honda

The fona (sling) is a simple rope woven of natural fiber with a leather pad which is integrated to be used to launch the bullet. The object used as such was most often a stone, a piece of ceramics or a piece of lead. The range for the projectile can be up to 150 metres; between 6 to 12 bullets can be thrown per minute by an accomplished slinger.

Tirambfona

Not much hunting is nowadays being done with fonas here in Mallorca, but in Ibiza the practice is apparently still used for hunting, as well as in some South American countries. In the Balearic Islands, the Federació Balears de Tir de Fona is promoting sling shooting as a sports activity. I believe that for sports purposes a tennis ball is now being used as the bullet. A championship event of Tir amb fona will be held today, June 28th, at 11h00 in the pueblo of Campanet as part of the local Festes de Sant Victorià; the XXVIII Campeonat de Balears will be held in Son Servera on October 11th.

The photo (top) was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 26th, 2009. The time was 15:31:43. The photos (centre and bottom) were taken from the Internet. Moltes gràcies to Plàcid Pérez Bru and to Historia Clasica.

Stone Slinging

The Portocolom Lighthouse

faro_porto_colom

The lighthouse in Portocolom is called Far de Sa Punta de Ses Crestes. Its tower has a height of 82 m with the light signal being 137 m above sea level. The lighthouse was built in 1863, rebuilt in 1965 and modernized in 1993. Supposedly the grounds are open to the public (but not the buildings), however, I have never found the gates open on any of my numerous visits. Perhaps you will be luckier than I was. The building is inhabited by a young couple who live there rent free in exchange for rendering the duties of lighthouse keepers.

The signal emits two white flashes every 10 seconds; the signal range extends to 10 nautical miles.

faro de sa punta

The photo (top) was taken in Portocolom, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 18th, 2009. The time was 17:58:15. The photo (bottom) was taken from the Internet. Muchas gracias to ziga-zaga and ShoZu.

The Portocolom Lighthouse

Geodetic Surveying Stations

Geodetic_Station

Surveying and ordnance are means and methods for governments to map and survey a territory and its elevations, and to know what is positioned where. Ordnance surveying was first commissioned for military purposes, presumably as early as in the 18th century. Nowadays, I expect that navigation, surveying and mapping are primarily undertaken by positioning systems based on satellite technology such as GPS.

In Spain the landscape is dotted with some 8,000 Vértices Geodésicos (Geodetic Surveying Stations) like in most other countries in the world. These stations or posts are also known as trigonometrical stations or triangulation pillars. Of all the Spanish surveying posts I estimate that some 150 can be found in Mallorca. The number of 150 is my guess. Please do not hold me to this figure; I have not single-handedly counted the posts. In the Felanitx area there are nine geodetic stations – three principal and six secondary ones – like the one shown in my photo (above) in the Sa Punta area of Portocolom (estación no. 72544, 3° 16′ 23.98730″, 39° 24′ 59.40500″). This Sa Punta triangulation pillar was erected in 1984 using as its base the remains of an antique coastal watch tower.

In Spain the Vértices Geodésicos come equipped with a metal plate such as the one in my photo (below). Please do not remove these plaques for souvenir purposes; the law will penally pursue such infringements.

vertice

The photos were taken near Portocolom, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 18th, 2009. The time was 17:51:34 and 17:48:12, respectively.

Geodetic Surveying Stations

The Dance of Sant Joan Pelós

Sant_Joan_Pelós

One of the nice things about Mallorca is that things (and traditions) are done differently from one pueblo to the next.

For instance, many villages celebrate the saint day of Sant Joan (Saint John the Baptist) but only two communities celebrate the day of Sant Joan Pelós: Pollença and Felanitx. For some reason though, Pollença celebrates Sant Joan Pelós as part of the Corpus Cristi festivities on June 17th, whilst Felanitx celebrated Sant Joan Pelós yesterday, June 24th, as part of the Sant Joan celebrations. Felanitx keeps this old Sant Joan Pelós (Saint John the Hairy) tradition alive with a series of dances that have been maintained in this Mallorcan town since the 18th century.

I found a video on Youtube showing you one of the Sant Joan Pelós dances as it was performed in Felanitx last year:

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2009. The time was 19:24:07. The video was posted by guingaia. Moltes gràcies.

The Dance of Sant Joan Pelós

The Dancing Sun In Sant Joan

sol_que_balla

Yours truly had to get up nice and early this morning to see El Sol Que Balla (the dancing sun) rise and dance above the pueblo of Sant Joan in the centre of the island of Mallorca.

At 06h00 the village youth met at the Santuari de la Mare de Déu de Consolació just outside of Sant Joan to greet the Midsummer sun whilst the bells tolled from the església parroquial de Sant Joan Baptista. The small congregation was greeted by a spectacular display of nature when the sun came up behind the hills in the distance and started his glorious appearance.

The celebration appears to go back to pagan roots. It is not as overwhelming or spectacular as some others are elsewhere at this time of year, such as the one in Stonehenge but all told, I would count this festivity amongst the most joyful ones that I have ever participated in during my 22 years in Mallorca. I would recommend it to anybody. Maybe you could be enticed to get up at 05h00 on June 24th of next year.

festa_del_sol

The photos were taken near Sant Joan, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 24th, 2009. The time was 06:24:29 and 06:59:11, respectively.

The Dancing Sun In Sant Joan