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Trampling Along the Pebbled Path

You may have wondered occasionally about the pebbled path down the hallway in Mallorcan houses, leading from the front door to the back door. Most country or farm houses used to have such a path, often beautifully elaborated with intricate designs. I think the Mallorcans call this path a Cami de Bestiar, if I am not mistaken. There is a simple explanation to this architectural feature that graces smallholdings but also some townhouses in Mallorcan pueblos: poverty.

In the old days, affluence was not widely spread, quite the contrary. People had to make do; one had to be industrious and be well versed in husbandry. The short answer to one’s daily needs was the keeping of livestock on one’s premises. A pig was reared in the back yard, chickens were kept in the patio and a horse, a mule or a donkey was raised in one’s dwelling. When the farming property or the funds were not big enough for outbuildings, the hoofed bestia was kept out in the back of the building and often had to be brought in by the front door. To avoid causing damage to the floor of the house, often a simple floor of hardened earth, a pebbled path was laid through the dwelling, allowing the hoofed animal to trample along without any further detriment.

The pebbled path in today’s photo was found in Petra; it may well be in excess of 400 years old. Nowadays, affluent finca owners use this architectural feature to decorate their holiday homes with a typical Mallorcan embellishment. The feature of a poor man’s house has nowadays converted into a status symbol of the sophisticated landowner.

The photo (top) was taken in Petra, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 30th, 2010. The time was 16:40:32.

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