The Poblat de Ses Païsses

The Poblat Talaiòtic de Ses Païsses near Artà is probably Mallorca’s most important archaeological site. It certainly is one of its best-known and best-preserved prehistoric locations. The settlement was inhabited from approximately 1300 B. C. to about 100 B. C., when the Romans arrived on the shores of Mallorca.

Ses Païsses was declared a Monument Històrico-Artístic (Artistic-Historic Monument) in 1946. The site was excavated by Giovanni Lilliu, an eminent Italian archaeologist and historian of international fame, between 1959 and 1963. That’s no more than fifty years ago. Signore Lilliu died only last week, aged 97.

The archaeological site is open from Monday to Friday (09h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 17h00). Admission charge is 2 €. Sadly, the Talaiot is not accessible on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.

The photo was taken near Artà, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 22nd, 2012. The time was 11:06:12.

The Poblat de Ses Païsses

Baleares Day

March 1st will be a holiday here in Mallorca, and all over the Balearic Isles, the annual Día de las Islas Baleares. A festive programme has been prepared by the Govern de les Illes Balears and the Ajuntament de Palma, starting from today and lasting until Sunday, March 4th. Programme details can be downloaded from the Govern website (Documents: Programa Mallorca).

Activities include a giant Scalextric race track in Jardins de s’Hort del Rei, a theatre performance of La Casa de Bernarda Alba (Federico García Lorca) at the Teatre Pricipal, performed by a cast of partly illiterate gipsy women, a Trofeu de tir de fona tournament in Parc de la Mar, a Petanca tournament at l’Estadi Balear, Open Doors at the seat of the President of the Govern de les Illes Balears at the Consolat de Mar (a must if you have not been there), Open Doors at the newly restored Llotja, a couple of horse trotting Trofeus de Trot at the Hipòdrom de Son Pardo, an art and craft market at Sa Feixina, Passeig de Sagrera, Drassana, Carrer del Consolat, Passeig del Born and in Antoni Maura, some Ball de Bot in Ses Voltes, Open Doors at Castell de Bellver and Palau de l’Almudaina, Open Doors at nearly all the museums and galleries in Palma and the rest of the island, such as Es Baluard, Museu de Son Marroig in Deià, Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober near Alcúdia, Ciutat Romana de Pol·lèntia i Museu Monogràfic in Pollença, and a few things more, too numerous to mention here. Enjoy your day off.

The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 12th, 2011. The time was 10:10:37.

Baleares Day

The Castell de Bellver

The Castell de Bellver (Bellver Castle) just outside of Palma is unique among Spanish castles in being entirely circular. It was built between 1309 and 1311 for Rey Jaume II, when there was the Regne de Mallorca, a proper Mallorcan kingdom. Now it is one of the main sightseeing attractions of the island.

Today, the castle contains Palma’s museum of municipal history, with pottery from Talaiotic, Roman, Arab and Iberian periods. In the past, the castle was used for many centuries as a prison; the widow and sons of Jaume III were imprisoned here for most of their lives. The intellectual and writer Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (1744-1811) was one of the most famous prisoners of the castle. I’ll tell you more about him in a future blog entry. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the castle was used as a military prison for French soldiers serving under Napoleon, and again, during and after the Spanish Guerra Civil. Emili Darder Cànaves, the erstwhile mayor of Palma (1933-34 and 1936) was also imprisoned here before he was executed 75 years ago last week.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca. The date: February 24th, 2012. The time was 17:36:38. The image (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of fabian.balearweb.net.

Muchas gracias.

The Castell de Bellver

The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta

If you know Mallorca and love the island for its natural beauty you will most likely know the Parc Natural s’Albufera de Mallorca. The wetland of flooded marshes between Can Picafort and Alcúdia is certainly one of my favourite areas for peaceful outings, tranquil ambling and walks and exciting activities such as bird watching or nature studies of plants and wildlife in their natural habitat.

The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta is a smaller but similar wetland but is a bit of a poor relative of the better known and more popular s’Albufera. I somehow prefer s’Albufereta because I can watch the same bird varieties with less Hoi polloi and fewer self-important bird-spotters. The vegetation of s’Albufereta is typical of the wetlands of the Mediterranean shore, with a predominance of reeds, bulrushes and rushes. S’Albufereta holds the Balearic Islands’ most important Tamarisk grove (Tamarix gallica and Tamarix canariensis). The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta provides a nesting ground for species such as the Purple Gallinule, the Marsh Harrier, the Black-winged Stilt, the Yellow Wagtail and the Sedge Warbler. Fan-tailed Warbler, migrant Bluethroat and Green Sandpiper can also be seen here. In Winter, common visitors are Cormorants, Egrets, and various species of ducks and geese.

Although s’Albufereta is a Nature Reserve, most of it is private property, so your visit should be limited to the perimeters of the protected area. Please, do not trespass.

The photo (top) was taken near Alcúdia, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 23rd, 2012. The time was 12:40:52. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of birdinginspain.com.

Thank you very much.

The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta

Memories of a Dark Past

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the assassination of Emili Darder Cànaves (Mayor of Palma), Antoni Mateu Ferrer (former Mayor of Inca, below right), Antoni Maria Qués Ventanyol (founder of ERB party, below centre) and Alejandre Jaume Rosselló (Consul of Uruguay in Palma, below left). The four were wrongly accused of belonging to a Plan Lenin plot to overthrow the Falangist movement during the Spanish Civil War. After a court-martial through the Consell de Guerra (War Council), the execution took place against an outside wall of the cemetery in Palma on February 24th, 1937. The accusation was later revealed to be a fabricated deception.

Last night, some 200 people took part in a memorial walk under torch-light from the Baleares monument in Parc Sa Feixina to the Cementeri Municipal de Palma. Yours truly was there, reporting on dark memories from an even darker past.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 24th, 2012. The time was 21:34:21. The photo (centre) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of fotosantiguasdemallorca.blogspot.com. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of flickr.com and pottipotti (José Juan ‘Potti’ Luna).

Thank you very much,

muchas gracias, and

moltes gràcies.

Memories of a Dark Past

Almond Trees in Full Bloom

Often a cold spell, even with snow like we just had, belies the natural beauty which the island presents in February with the flowering of the almond trees under a blue sky, suggesting more of a Springtime.

Now, there are almond trees in full bloom all over the island. The Mediterranean climate aids the Almond tree (Prunus dulcis) even though it is not an indigenous plant like the Olive tree, the Holm oak (Quercus ilex) or the Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). The almond was rather planted here in the aftermath of the Philoxera disaster pretty much a hundred and twenty years ago which wiped out most of the Mallorcan grape plantation, to supply the affected farmers a new life-line.

The weather forecast for this weekend is good, dry and mild with temperatures around 15° C. You could venture out into the countryside and enjoy the almond blossoms whilst the bloom is still out. It won’t last long now before it’s all done and gone.

The photo was taken near Artà, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 22nd, 2012. The time was 13:31:17.

Almond Trees in Full Bloom

The Aeròdrom Militar de Pollença

Mallorca has three airports; did you know? There is Son Sant Joan, there is Son Bonet, and there is an airbase in Port de Pollença.

The Aeròdrom Militar de Pollença was built in 1937, seventy-five years ago this year. At that time, the Spanish Guerra Civil was in full swing; General Franco was well on his way to assuming power with his iron fist. Earlier this week, a commemorative act was celebrated for the 75th anniversary of that airbase, calling for a largish assembly of the Mallorcan bigwigs.

I was not invited to the commemorative bash; why should I have been? Thus, I made my way to Port de Pollença yesterday, where I had a minor confrontation with a young female from the Military Security personnel. Supposedly I am not allowed to take a photo of the main gate to the precinct, and no-one else is either. Well, I never.

The Pollença airbase is primarily geared for amphibian aircraft and seaplanes. The first such aircraft were submitted by the Italian Air Force in early 1937, which already had their base in Mallorca’s Aeródromo de Son Bonet near Palma. As of 1954, a number of Grumman SA-16 were stationed in Pollença and later a couple of Dornier 24. The Grumman SA-16 were withdrawn from Pollença in 1960 and moved to Palma. They were replaced with a number of CL-215 CANADAIR, principally equipped for the extinguishing of forest fires.

Nowadays, the Pollença unit forms part of the Spanish Fuerzas Auxiliares de Apoyo Operativo del Mando Aéreo General de la Fuerza del Ejército del Aire and comes under the Ministry of Defense in Madrid.

There is some local opposition to the airbase in Pollença claiming that in our modern age, the military base does not serve much of a purpose, apart from its forest fire fighting capacity. I think it is quite possible that before long, the Aeròdrom Militar de Pollença may change its purpose yet again or indeed, may simply cease to exist.

The photos (colour, top) were taken in Port de Pollença, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 22nd, 2012. The time was 15:18:33 and 15:26:21, respectively. The photos (b&w, bottom) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of requetes.com and elsitiodejactres.blogspot.com, respectively.

Muchas gracias.

The Aeròdrom Militar de Pollença