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Drystone Walls

drystone_wall

There must be hundreds of kilometers of drystone walls on the island of Mallorca. The technique of drystone building uses nothing but the stone and the tools to hammer and chisel the stones into the desired shape; mortar or cement are not used.

In Mallorca’s flat areas there are marges or parets (drystone walls) to enclose fields in the countryside whilst in the mountain areas there are marjades to support bancales (terraces). Some of the terraced banks along the slopes of the Tramuntana mountains, such as the postcard motif ones in Banyalbufar, Sóller and Fornalutx or those in nearby Caimari, were built between the 13th and the 15th century. Some experts even claim that it was in fact the Moorish population that started the practice of terracing fields on sloped mountain terrains. Who knows? One thing is for sure: some of the old drystone walls that we encounter today in Mallorca are age old, going back hundreds of years. That’s just amazing, don’t you think?

Mallorca would not be what it is and the Mallorcan landscape would not look the way it does were it not for the walls made of pedra en sec just about everywhere.

Sadly, experts in the trade of building drystone walls (margers) are now almost extinct here on the island. The Consell de Mallorca has to be applauded for providing workshops and training facilities in drystone wall building. Later this year (October 23rd – 25th) the Consell de Mallorca will organize a Trobada de Pedra en Sec in Palma. You could already start practicing your Mallorquín.

trobada_pedra_en_sec

The photo was taken near Can Picafort, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 14th, 2009. The time was 16:57:43.

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