I had the good fortune to be lent a book recently that was published in 1910 by no other than the Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria, called Die Felsenfesten Mallorcas – Geschichte und Sage. You can easily gather from the title that the book was written in German and luckily, I could read it. It is a nice feeling to browse through an original first edition of a 99 year old book.
The book is quite a compelling read, explaining how Mallorca and its fortifications presented themselves 100 years ago. The book describes in detail the Castell de Santueri, near Felanitx, the Castell de Alaró and the Castell del Rey, near Pollença. All three castles date from the time of the Moorish period and are now about one thousand years old, or thereabouts. All three castles were privately owned in 1910 and to my knowledge, still are today.
But why not let the author speak for himself (in quote from the preface to his book)?
“It seemed to me that a compiling of all the things that are known about the Rock Fortresses of Mallorca would not be unwelcome. Their walls, their merlons, crumbled by the ravages of time, will fall down little by little, their history and the part they played in the fates of the newly established Christian kingdom will remain however… The traveller, who climbs up the mountains and lets his eyes wonder over the surroundings and the wonderful panoramas, will create from this experience a new matter for his own interest, he will be able to imagine scenes about ancient times and the crumbled remnants will seem more to him than dilapidated ruins”.
Unfortunately, the book is not available in an English language version. But a Catalan translation is available in an abreviated edition under the title Arxiduc Lluís Salvador: Els castells roquers de Mallorca, història i llegenda.
Get the book, or visit the fortresses or rather what is left of them whilst one still can. All three castles are in a pretty poor state of disrepair, and have been for the last 100 years, at least.
The photo (top) was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 20th, 2007. The time was 15:47:13. The photos (centre and bottom) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of the Consell de Mallorca.