• Ethnographic, scientific and technical knowledge Ethnographic, scientific and technical knowledge

    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 follo [...]

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LIVING LANDSCAPE

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Religious ideas and beliefs

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Not only have the Mallorcan mountains been considered a place steeped in energy and spirituality by writers and artists, even in a context with an inclination towards introspection as can be seen in some neo-Classical and Romantic poems. The different cultures that settled on the island of Mallorca over the years have attributed a sacred character to certain places or inhabitants of the area, venerating the forces of nature and erecting buildings to perform their religious practices. Although we can recognise some religious and funerary structures from the Talayotic period, knowledge of the religious practices and beliefs of the first settlers on the island is scanty. Neither have any significant architectural or material remains relating to the religions of the Roman, Paleo-Christian, Byzantine and Moslem cultures survived. This is in sharp contrast to the profusion of remains relating to the Christian culture, which was introduced to the island last of all, yet more strongly and continuously, and it has made a significant mark on the region´s popular and religious expression.

In the heart of the Tramuntana Mountains, especially in the municipality of Escorca, the oldest religious remains in Mallorca can be found: the Talayotic shrines of Almallutx and activity in the forests of Lluc, the name of which stems from the Latin Lucus, which means sacred wood or place. Nevertheless, there are still many unknown factors regarding the religious practices and beliefs of these first communities on the island, both Talayotic and Roman.

Nowadays the shrine at Lluc is one of the island´s main spiritual centres, with an important tradition of pilgrimages and pilgrims coming from all over the island to prove their devotion to the Gothic statue of the Virgin of Lluc. This devotion dates back to 1273 and clearly remains alive today, as throughout the year Mallorca´s different towns and villages organize group walks to the monastery.

The Tramuntana Mountains have also been frequented by monastic communities who sought the silent tranquillity and inspiring beauty needed for prayer, leading a life far away from the problems of towns. The most emblematic initiative was the Oriental language school that Ramon Llull founded in Miramar (1276), where Franciscan friars were trained to become missionaries and preach the gospel and the Ars luliana to the Moslems.

As well as surroundings steeped in spirituality, the Tramuntana Mountains have different characters and events of a religious nature associated with them. One outstanding figure is that of Saint Catalina Thomas, known all over the island as La Beateta, who was born in the village of Valldemossa in 1531. She was beatified in 1792 thanks to the intermediation of Cardinal Antoni Despuig.