Tools of the Trade

I’m not much of a handyman myself. Often I have known despair when I attempted to sort out something only to realize that I did not possess the proper tool for a specific job. So it is no surprise that I have a certain respect for people who know what they are doing and have the tools to prove it.

I took the photo when I passed an ironsmith’s workshop in central Palma quite a while ago. I was intrigued by the activities going on in there, asked for permission to enter and was allowed to take a few snaps.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 4th, 2009. The time was 16:16:58.

Tools of the Trade

The Claustre de Sant Vicent in Manacor

The Dominican Order originated in the south of France at the beginning of the 13th century where the fraternity was known as the Jacobins (Blackfriars in England). Later, during the 15th century the order spread to the Iberian Peninsula. I believe they came to Mallorca during the 16th century where they built a number of churches in places such as Inca, Pollença and Manacor, as well as Palma de Mallorca. During the 17th century, the order founded some convents or monasteries in the very same towns and cities. The Dominican monastery in Palma became the largest of all convents of any denomination here on the island and is said to have been a very imposing and spectacular building complex. But, as a consequence of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizabal in 1835, this and other orders were expropriated and sadly, the convent in Palma was subsequently destroyed. The monasteries in Inca, Pollença and Manacor were spared such fate and instead, passed into the hands of the municipal authorities.

In Manacor the church and the adjoining convent go by the name of Sant Vicent. The church was built in 1576, expropriated in 1837 and redeemed by the Catholic Church in 1908. A visit there is justified for the splendid Rosario chapel and the exceptional organ dating from the 18th century. The Claustre de Sant Vicent was built somewhat later in 1617 and renovated only two or three years ago. The convent used to be the seat of the Ajuntament de Manacor. The Sala de Actes is still situated here, as is the municipal library and some other town hall departments.

Outside of the church there is a sculpture of the cross of Sant Vicent dating from 1488. The campanario (bell tower) is graced by a large sundial possibly dating from 1775 (see photo below).

The photos were taken in Manacor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 25th, 2011. The time was 16:50:00 and 17:00:03, respectively.

The Claustre de Sant Vicent in Manacor

The Colegio de Montesión

When my friend Lluís went to secondary school quite a few years back, he went to the Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Montesión, then a boys only school. Nowadays, the school is a colegio concertado, i. e. open for boys and girls. Earlier this week, the school started celebrations for its 450th anniversary. Celebrations of all sorts and kind are scheduled for the next 18 months. The school was founded in 1561 by five Mallorcan Jesuits and the Society of Jesus. Pupils were admitted to the school in Palma as of 1562. The academic hotbed has been open for education ever since under the motto Iesus Hominum Salvator. The Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Montesión in Palma de Mallorca is the oldest Jesuit school in the world. There are currently approximately 1,100 students attending at the Colegio de Montesión in Palma. Since 2007, there has been a close collaboration with the British Council extending to preparations for entry into Cambridge University. Interestingly enough, the school is considered a private enterprise and does not come under the umbrella of the diocese of Mallorca.

For most of its history the Colegio de Montesión used to be the proud owner of the Llibrería luliana, a vast library of thousands of old and very old books and manuscripts of excellent provenance from the 17th and 18th century, and its famous antique bookshelves (see photo below). For some reason or other, the library was moved from the school’s premises to those of the Casa de Cultura in Palma but, mysteriously, all has been locked up and inaccessible ever since. Maybe after the demise of Franco 35 years ago and with now 450 years of reasons to be cheerful, the literary treasures may be returned to their rightful owners to finally allow Ignazio Loiolakoa (Ignatius of Loyola), the Jesuits founding father, to stop gyrating in his grave. Late is never too late.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 24th, 2011. The time was 15:27:48. The image (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet. Thanks are due to Alta mar, fabian.balearweb.net and the photographer, Juan Luis Coll.

Muchas gracias.

The Colegio de Montesión

A Very Long Baleares Day

Next Tuesday, March 1st, the Día de les Illes Balears will be celebrated. As the calendar would have it, the date makes for a splendid puente weekend with plenty a Mallorcan being away voyaging or even, skiing. For those of us stuck on the island, the Govern de les Illes Balears has put on a full-scale programme of activities starting from today. Let me draw your attention to the fact that the Consolat de Mar, the seat of the presidency of the Balearic government, will have a series of Jornades de Portes Obertes (Open Door days) when the public will be allowed to have a first hand look at the illustrious premises. The dates are February 26th and 27th, as well as March 1st, the times are from 10h00 to 14h00 and from 15h00 to 19h30. If you have never been to the Consolat de Mar before, I would recommend a visit and the guided tour. The Consolat de Mar is next door to La Llotja in Passeig de Sagrera. Admission is free but you may have to join the queue, depending on the time of the day and the weather. Also recommended are the Mercat of traditional crafts, all day next Tuesday, in Plaça de la Drassana, Passeig de Sagrera and Parc de Sa Feixina, and the workshop of Castells (Human Towers) in S’Hort del Rei, on March 1st at 11h00. A Petanca Trophy will be competed for in the Estadi Balear in Palma and a Torneu de Tir de Fona will be held at the Ermita de Crestatx near Sa Pobla, at 10h00.

A programme leaflet is available from the usual tourist information places. The programme is also published in all the local newspapers. I could not find the listing on the Internet though, hard as I tried.

It looks like it will be a very long Día de les Illes Balears, this year. Have fun.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 7th, 2010. The time was 14:31:01.

A Very Long Baleares Day

And Give Us This Day Our Daily Water

One element of daily life that has forever been intrinsically entrenched in Mallorcan life is water. Throughout history people have only settled throughout the island where there was a good source of water nearby. To this day, water and the sufficient supply of it, is of utmost importance here on the island of Mallorca, be that for agriculture, for the population of 800,000 Mallorcans, for the 11,000,000 annual visitors, for the upkeep of 25 golf courses, for the nourishing of livestock, you name it.

Even though the island is surrounded by water, agua has always been scarce here. Rivers have always been absent or are only in flow during a rainy spell. Over the centuries, the clever Mallorcan mind has thus acquired a clever attitude and cunning skills in collecting, preserving and safeguarding water, especially so in the countryside. Rainwater is collected in cisterns and transported by water tank lorries to where it is needed.

The water lorry shown here has long since gone out of business but, other camiones de agua are still fulfilling a daily service up and down the island.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 7th, 2007. The time was 13:15:11.

And Give Us This Day Our Daily Water

The Castell de Santueri

I have lamented before on this blog the sorry state that the Castell de Santueri near Felanitx finds itself in. Even though undertakings have been given by the Govern Balear and the Consell de Mallorca about one year ago to allocate money to acquire and restore the castle ruins, and despite the efforts of a plataforma to save the Castell, nothing much has been happening over the last few years, or make that, the last 200 years since the Spanish state sold the castle into private hands, in 1811.

Recently, the locks were changed on the main entrance to the castle precinct. Access seems even more restricted now than has been over the last twenty years or so. I do not know what is going on nor does anyone else here in the Felanitx area. With municipal and provincial elections due in three months time, nothing much will happen for the foreseeable future either, or so it would seem. It is all rather sad, really.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 24th, 2007. The time was 13:48:12.

The Castell de Santueri

The Museu d’Història de Manacor

Sorry, if I bother you with a second blog entry about museums in Mallorca within just three days. Normally, I would take great care to give you an ample variety of topics and sufficient variation of subject matter. But, I have to admit that I am somewhat biased with regard to the Museu d’Història de Manacor. For a start, the museum is housed inside a fabulous historic building, the Torre dels Enagistes, a property first documented in 1229 in the aftermath of the Reconquista but, quite obviously some substantial parts of the structure were built during the Moorish period. The building was later extended and enlarged during the 15th, 16th and 17th century. I also very much appreciate the fact that when the Torre was acquired by the Ajuntament de Manacor in 1985 and redesigned to act as a museum, the building’s conservation and renovation was done painstakingly carefully and lovingly with sufficient respect for detail and for the history of the edifice and its ambient soul. Then, I like the fact that the museum is actually open. A number of Mallorcan museums, and good ones at that, are erratic in their opening hours or are closed for endless refurbishment of one kind or other without sufficient information being offered. And, finally, I like the fact that every time I go there I discover something new, such as for instance the wall scratching and carvings in today’s photo, probably done by whoever during the 16th century.

The Manacor museum provides an excellent, informative and well-designed website with professional translations in all languages offered (Catalan, Castellano, English and German). Also, the History Museum publishes an annual booklet called Musa, selling for 5 € and worth every penny as long as one understands the Catalan text. In wintertime, the museum is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 10h00 to 14h00 and from 17h00 to 19h30, and Sundays from 10h30 to 13h00. From June 15th to September 15th, opening hours are from 09h30 to 14h00 and from 18h00 to 20h30, except Tuesday and Sunday. Entry is free of charge. A visit is recommended.


The photo was taken in Manacor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 21st, 2011. The time was 13:46:04.

The Museu d’Història de Manacor