• Artistic expression Artistic expression

    The Tramuntana Mountains have acted and still act as a model and source of inspiration for many different artists – mainly painters and writers – since Valldemossa Monastery welcomed the musician Frédéric Chopin and writer George Sand from the winter of 1838 to 1839. They stayed in monastery cells that still conserve memories of their time there, like the Pleyel piano that the composer used and manuscripts and first editions of Sand´s work Un hiver à Majorque (A Wi [...]

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LIVING LANDSCAPE

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Ethnographic, scientific and technical knowledge

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In 1869 Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Habsburg-Lorraine and Bourbon of Austria (Florence, 1847 - Prague, 1915) arrived in Mallorca, becoming known locally as s´Arxiduc. He was so captivated by the beauty of the north coast that in 1872 he purchased Miramar and gradually acquired most of the estates located between Valldemossa and Deià. He had the spirit of a traveller and a scientist, and was a great nature lover too, building paths and vantage points on these estates.

Over the following decades, Miramar became the centre of his possessions. It was there that he received all his visitors, who were drawn by the beauty of the landscape, and they can be considered Mallorca´s first tourists. They include the French painter and writer Gastón Vuillier; the prehistorians Bartoli and Cartailhac; the Spanish naturalist Odón de Buen; the botanist and rector of the University of Geneva, Roberto H. Chorat; the writer Margherita D´Este; and the poets Rubén Darío and Jacinto Verdaguer.

He became integrated into the local population, learning the Catalan language and investigating traditional culture. As a result he published Rondalles de Mallorca (Folktales of Mallorca, 1895), among other works. But the Archduke´s fundamental contribution was Die Balearen geschildert in Wort und Bild (The Balearic Islands Described in Words and Pictures, 1897), a complete radiography of the reality of the Balearic Islands in the second half of the 19th century in which he describes the habits, customs and scenery of the Balearic archipelago, populated and worked just by its inhabitants along with the occasional traveller. This extensive work would later achieve international recognition. In fact, Jules Verne based a part of his novel Clovis Dardentor (1896), set in Mallorca, on this book, since Verne himself never visited the island.

Aside from the contributions that Archduke Ludwig Salvator made to broadening knowledge of the ethnography and culture of the Tramuntana area, we must also stress those of other researchers and scientists, such as François Aragó, Dorothea Bate, Guillem Colom, Emil G. Racovitza and William Waldren. They contributed to a knowledge of the natural environment of the Tramuntana area and boosted work carried out subsequently by other researchers.