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Raixa Without Soul

raixa_apollo

Raixa was finally opened to the public last weekend. It is quite exciting to be able to see what all the rumours were about, at long last. If only …

No doubt Raixa must have been quite a remarkable estate in its day. The history of Raixa is well documented including the Moors, the Despuig family, the Conde de Montenegro, and Cardinal Despuig. The estate was used as a location for a number of film productions (Bearn o la sala de las muñecas, Evil Under the Sun, etc.). One is familiar with the large pond, the lavish gardens, the unique stairs to the Apollo statue through a number of lavish books. If only …

Disenchanted is the word that came to my mind on my way home from visiting Raixa last Saturday. All is not what one would expect it to be. Raixa has lost its soul, I am afraid to tell you.

Raixa

Raixa’s main building has been extensively restored but unfortunately, not in a very sensitive way. I consider the choice of materials as very unfortunate, such as the type of floor tiles, the modern elevator, the voguish toilet fittings. It seems to me as though the historic posesión has lost its souls. A lot of money seems to have been wasted in modernising a place that would have needed a careful and sympathetic renovation.

As for the emblematic gardens: they are closed. Yes, the minor lower gardens are accessible, and the large pond can be visited, but on the whole, the gardens are still off limits. The landscaped upper gardens have not been restored to their former glory yet and are thus, cordoned off. You can see the famous staircase leading up to the Apollo gardens, but you can not enter. The Neptune‘s pond is inaccessible, as are the Oriental pavilion and the Neoclassical temple. Garden walls are in disrepair, as are steps and stairs, columns and ornaments. Plants, trees and flower beds have not been touched thus far. There will be years of gardening work and tree surgery needed, and lots more money.

I understand from one of my readers that the gardens are undergoing renovation under the guidance of the director of the Jardí Botànic de Sóller. Let’s hope the good man will apply more sensibility with the needed work in the garden than whoever might have been responsible for the defacement of the manor house.

Raixa will be open to the public this Saturday and Sunday (10h00 – 14h00), free of charge, and from now on every weekend until the end of this year.

The photos were taken near Bunyola, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 5th, 2009. The time was 11:51:47 and 11:40:55, respectively.

2 replies »

  1. You are quite right. What a terrible crime against an old building. It has the dead hand of Council architects with far too much money. Compare it to the fragile beauty of Alfabia a few miles away where its dreamy beauty lives on with minimum of intrusive restoration. Raixa feels like a dental clinic with its walls plastered over, its mystery and ghosts destroyed… Where do we go to see how a great estate looked? The dreadful mess that is La Granja? certainly not… There are people trained in heritage conservation all over the world who know how to bring a fragile building back to safe life without treating it like a public toilet. Raixa has been murdered and it is a crime.

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