Beato Ramon Llull

Spain is a country largely influenced by the Catholic church. The impact of religion here may be somewhat diminished when compared to, say, fifty or a hundred years ago, but most children in Spain are still baptized in church, most brides still get married in church and most families still bury their dead in cemeteries following church rites. There’s nothing wrong with that; I am simply stating a reality, even though the trend is one of slow decline.

You may be interested to know, then, that today, November 27th, the Catholic church celebrates a total of 27 saints, amongst them persons such as San Acario de Noyón, San Basileo, Beato Bernardino de Fossa, Santa Bilhildis, Beato Bronislao Kostowski, San Eusicio, San Jacobo Interciso, San Laverio, San Leonardo and San Primitivo. The one I am most interested in is Beato Ramon Llull (Raymundus Lullus). This Mallorcan born writer, philosopher, hermit, martyr and missionary also was a Tertiary Franciscan, and the founder of a seminary college which, in turn and through the centuries, turned into the UIB University in Palma. Ramon Llull was beatified, blessed and sanctified in 1857 by Pope Pius IX.

Palma’s UIB university uses Ramon Llull as their patron figure and as such, celebrates November 27th as a special festive day in honour of the great man. As this day falls on a Sunday this year, festivities will be celebrated tomorrow, November 28th, instead. I understand that no lectures will be given tomorrow and no classes will be held either.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Wikipedia.org. Thank you very much.

Beato Ramon Llull

The Studium Generale Lullianum

The making of a university in Mallorca has been in the works for the best of 735 years.

Ramon Llull, Mallorca’s wunderkind, philosopher, poet, theologian and mystic, founded the Col·legi de Miramar in Mallorca in 1276, in a way a predecessor of today’s Universitat de les Illes Balears. All those years ago, the Col·legi de Miramar was one of the first centres of study and research anywhere in Europe.

In 1483, a royal privilege was granted by King Fernando II to set up the Studium Generale Lullianum in Palma de Mallorca, based on Llull’s academic approach, as a centre of higher education. In 1691, the Studium Generale Lullianum was converted into the Universitat Lul·liana de Mallorca, with statutes approved in 1697. After a spell of anti-Llullism, the university was renamed in 1772 as Universitat Literària de Mallorca, and in 1829, it was affiliated to the Universitat Catalana de Cervera (Catalonia).

Then, in 1951, the Studium Generale Lullianum was revived and the Llullian university restored. For several years, courses were held in Law and Philosophy, albeit somewhat restricted for economic reasons. In 1959, the Ramon Llull Chair was established in Mallorca, appointed to the Faculty of Philosophy at the Universitat de Barcelona, where doctorates could be obtained. At the same time, highly popular summer courses were held in the field of Humanities, in later years being extended to other branches of science.

After the death of the autocrat Franco and with Spain’s transition to democracy, the current Universitat de les Illes Balears was founded in 1978, in a climate which was helped by the economic affluence that the growth of tourism had brought with it.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 27th, 2010. The time was 14:01:17.

The Studium Generale Lullianum

School’s Out

Youngsters all over this island are thrilled and excited. The academic year is about to come to an end any moment now. A big sigh of relief has not only been exhaled by some 6,000,000 school children in Spain, but by their families as well – parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. The month of June in Spain is always a time of particular stress to school children in the higher grades, in E. S. O. or in Bachiller, because it means at least four weeks of sometimes quite demanding controls (tests and exams). An estimated 3,000,000 pupils finish school now for good and forever, either by finishing their E. S. O. (roughly equivalent to the British G. C. S. E.), or by finishing their Bachillerato exams (similar to A levels). Selectividad, a kind of university entry exam, was held last week and now, profesores up and down the country are busy doing the corrections and giving notas.

Just before the break-up, I went to Palma to visit the students of 4º de ESO at the IES Ramon Llull last Monday, in my function as the Man with the blog from Felanitx. The pleasure was reciprocal; I enjoyed meeting the youngsters very much indeed, and I was told that they appreciated my visit as well. Their professora in English, the charming Doña María Loredo, introduced my blog to some of her classes as a learning tool for this year’s curriculum. Well, I never.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 14th, 2010. The time was 09:52:38.

School’s Out

On Your Bikes

bike_hire

If you happen to be a student at Palma’s Universitat de les Illes Balears and if you happen to attend classes now and then and if you travel to campus from Palma by way of the new Metro, you are in luck. SFM, the enterprise running the Metro service in Palma, had the wonderful idea of providing a few hundred bicycles which are for hire free of charge to be used on campus when alighting from the Metro station Universitat with a valid ticket. You have to be over 18 years of age though for legal reasons, but most students would be older anyway.

All you have to do is sign a rental contract and show your Metro ticket, and off you go.

If the complimentary service idea works out successfully, SFM will possibly extend this bike hire facility to other Metro and railway stations as well, such as the Estacion Intermodal in Palma, and the train stations in Inca and Manacor.

The photo was taken near Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 25th, 2009. The time was 14:28:27.

On Your Bikes

The Monestir de Miramar

miramar

The Monestir de Miramar between Valldemossa and Deià was founded in 1276 by Jaume II, the first ever King of Mallorca, at the request of Ramon Llull.

Miramar was not really a monastery but a missionary college dedicated to the teaching of Arabic and other oriental languages, with a view to prepare friars to convert Moors to Christianity. Some historians claim that Miramar somehow constituted the first attempt to establish a university in Mallorca.

The Archduke Ludwig Salvatore of Austria (1847-1915) bought the old property in 1872. Today Miramar can be visited for a token admission fee. A very old Tàfona olive oil press can be admired. Two museum presentations are included in the admission fee; one is dedicated to the Arxiduc and the other one pays homage to Ramon Llull. But the best impressions by far are to be had courtesy of the awesome landscape and the stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea and Mallorca’s west coast.

Visiting hours are Tuesday to Sunday (10h00 to 18h00). Admission: 3 €.

The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Valldemossa, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 16th, 2008. The time was 15:05:07.

The Monestir de Miramar

Universitas Baliarica

bolonya

Hundreds of students are on strike at the Universitat de les Illes Balears in Palma de Mallorca. Since September 2008, some 40 to 60 students are living in protest on campus, having occupied the entrance hall of the main building with their tents and sleeping bags. Various pleas by the UIB‘s rector to leave peacefully have so far been ignored.

The student protest is held in opposition to the new guidelines that are meant to bring Spanish universities in line with the new European Higher Education system, the so called Bologna accords.

Student protest actions are also known to be held in Barcelona, València, Màlaga, Granada, Sevilla, Salamanca, Madrid and virtually all the other universities that there are in Spain.

The Bolonya process, as it is called here, will make university education in Spain more expensive, more stringent and, in a way, more elitist. I can see what the young people are worried about.

The photo was taken near Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 25th, 2009. The time was 14:09:43.

Universitas Baliarica