The Balearic Constitution Day

Almudaina Palma Mallorca_

Spain is politically organized into a total of 17 comunidades autónomas (autonomous communities), plus 2 ciudades autónomas (autonomous cities), Ceuta and Melilla. The Balearic Islands are one of the 17 autonomous communities having been accorded such status thirty-two years ago today, on March 1st, 1983.

Every year, the Día de les Illes Balears is commemorating the Estatuto de Autonomia Balear (Statute of Balearic Autonomy), or, in other words, the Constitution giving the legislative framework for regional law making. A range of festivities will be held today in Palma and elsewhere, and have already been held for two or three days. In celebration of Balearic Autonomy, March 1st is a public holiday, but this year the holiday happens to coincide with a Sunday. Oh, well.

Each of the four main islands organises a number of festive and institutional events on this day. For Mallorca, a PDF file with the programme of activities can be downloaded in Catalan from the Govern de les Illes Balears website.

Activities include a Trofeu de tir de fona tournament at Sant Carles, Open Doors at the seat of the President of the Govern de les Illes Balears at the Consolat de Mar, Open Doors at the newly restored Llotja, 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 in Palma, Museu de Son Marroig in Deià, Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober near Alcúdia, Ciutat Romana de Pol·lèntia in Alcúdia, plus a few things more, too numerous to mention here.

Enjoy.

The Balearic Constitution Day

The Fortification At Es Fortí de Cala Llonga

When I last visited the cliff top fortification at Es Fortí de Cala Llonga in Cala d’Or, some twenty years ago or even longer, it was in a pretty bad shape; one might have called it a ruin. The origins of the fortification may easily go back a couple of hundred years or even more. It might have been built during the 1730s. At that time, surveillance and custody of the coast was a matter of great importance. In an inventory of the year 1832 the military fortress weaponry was listed as consisting of four cannons, a fact that clearly shows the importance and strength Es Fortí de Cala Llonga once had.

Nowadays, the small old fortress stands in good splendour; well, almost. The Military sold the fortress by way of an auction in 1878 and it became private property. In 1992, Es Fortí was acquired by the Fundació Illes Balears who slowly and carefully restored the erstwhile stronghold. It is now open to the public and serves as a venue for occasional festive events, concerts and other cultural and social gatherings. The views over the cliffs towards the coastline of Cala d’Or and the open Med are as good as it gets.

The photos were taken in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 6th, 2012. The time was 14:01:11, 13:57:34 and 13:45:16, respectively.

The Fortification At Es Fortí de Cala Llonga

The Torre de Cala Pi

The Torre de Cala Pi is one of three coastal defense towers in the municipality of Llucmajor, together with the Torre de Cap Blanc and the Torre de s’Estelella, and is one of 45 ancient torres on Mallorca’s coastline.

The Torre de Cala Pi guards the entrance to the cove of Cala Pi and stands at about 19.5 m above sea level. The tower was built after several attacks by the Ottoman Turks in 1543 and was completed in 1663. To my knowledge, the tower was never successfully conquered, not by pirates or Maurish marauders, anyway.

The photo was taken in Cala Pi, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 24th, 2012. The time was 17:45:04.

The Torre de Cala Pi

The Carthusian Apothecary

When the Kingdom of Mallorca ceased to exist, the royal palace Palau del Rei Sanç in Valldemossa was ceded to the church and in 1399 it was transformed into a Carthusian monastery known as Cartoixa de Valldemossa. The monks were forced to relinquish the monastery after just over 400 years when the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizabal dispossessed a large number of church properties in 1835. The property passed into private ownership shortly before Frederik Chopin and George Sand arrived in the Winter of 1838. Today the Cartoixa serves as a museum, not least for its association with King Sancho and Chopin. Amongst many intriguing aspects of the Cartoixa I would like to highlight the old apothecary shop or pharmacy. The pharmacy was installed by the monks during the 17th century. Old bottles, potions, balances and medicinal instruments of the period are well-preserved, including some 135 ceramic jars from the 18th century (see photo).

The photo was taken in Valldemossa, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 17th, 2012. The time was 12:59:22.

The Carthusian Apothecary

The Festival de Música Castell de Bellver

Every year in July, the Festival de Música Castell de Bellver is held at Palma’s Bellver Castle. Tomorrow, July 19th, the third concert of this year’s event will be given in open air conditions in the courtyard of the castle.

The concert will be performed by the Orquestra Simfònica de Balears (Balearic Islands Symphonic Orchestra). Tomorrow’s programme will include a first performance of Orión (12 mins.) by Miguel Ángel Roig-Francolí. Señor Roig-Francolí (Ibiza, 1953) is a resident in Pittsburgh (Cincinnati, USA) where he teaches Music Theory and Composition at the University of Cincinnati. It is not very often that we are treated to symphonic works by contemporary composers here in Mallorca, and even less though by composers born in the Illes Balears.

Other works performed tomorrow will be better known, including Andante in D Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Concert for Oboe by Benedetto Giacomo Marcello, Romance in F minor for violin and orchestra by Antonín Leopold Dvořák and Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World”, also by Dvořák.

The concert starts at 21h30. Tickets are available at 30 € (Patio), 20 € (Arcades) and 10 € (First floor) from the Conservatorio de Música de Mallorca and on the night at Castell de Bellver. The last concert in the series will be held next week, July 26th, also at 21h30, with music by Richard Wagner and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Details can be found on the OSIB website.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and Manu Mielniezuk.

Muchas gracias.

The Festival de Música Castell de Bellver

The Hostatgeria del Castell d’Alaró

The Puig d’Alaró makes for an exciting outing for a number of reasons. You could hike up the northern ascent from Orient which will take you just under two hours before you get to the Castell d’Alaró, or you could choose to hike up from Alaró and the southern approach. On top of the impressive rock, the fortress allows glimpses into history with sometimes bloody chapters, going back to the Arab period and quite possibly even to the Romans.

Even further up, you will find the Hostatgeria del Castell d’Alaró and the 17th century chapel of the Mare de Déu del Refugi. The restoration work at the Hostatgeria has now been completed, at long last, and currently there are four dormitories with bunk beds for four each, with more to be furnished any time soon. The refuge is capably run by a young Catalan couple who rent out beds for 12 € per person, or offer a half board arrangement at 24 € per head. There are reductions for children. The hostel brings the number of refuges along Mallorca’s Dry-stone Route up to six, along with Tossals Verds, Muleta, Can Boi, Son Amer and Pont Romà. A stay in the refuge can be thoroughly recommended if you seek rest in peaceful surroundings of historic heritage and good food. Up here you are closer to the essence of life if that is what you might seek.

Alaró and the hamlet of Orient are within walking distance and the cozy restaurant of Es Verger is just a half hour stroll away. You will have heard of Es Verger‘s fabulous lamb specialties, all slow-cooked in the wood-fired oven at affordable prices (Paletillas are now served at 16 € a piece) and all eaten with great gusto.

The photos were taken near Alaró, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 21st, 2012. The time was 16:25:02, 15:04:14 and 14:48:03, respectively.

The Hostatgeria del Castell d’Alaró

La Porta de Xara in Alcúdia

The old town of Alcúdia used to be surrounded by a fortified Mediaeval city wall, built during the 14th century and modified during the 16th century. The Southern and Western remnants of this bulwark are still largely intact; one can climb up and walk along most of its remaining expanse. Two massive gates are part of that wall, Porta de Mallorca, also known also as Porta de Sant Sebastià (the Western gate) and Porta de Xara, also known also as Porta de Moll (the Eastern gate), shown here. The Porta de Xara still preserves its original Mediaeval portcullis, carpentered in wood some 400 years ago (photo below).

The photos were taken in Alcúdia, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 30th, 2012. The time was 13:11:13 and 13:07:22, respectively.

La Porta de Xara in Alcúdia