History of Majorca

Posted by Luci Ackers on 7 February 2018
Related property: La Reserva De Biniorella

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Biniorella is located right down towards the south-west of the island. From here you can explore the coast, local towns and a variety of historic locations.

There has been a little evidence of prehistoric settlements on the island and, later, the Phoenicians arrived around the 8th century BCE. But things really kicked off with the Romans, who took over in 123 BCE and the island began to flourish.

You can still see evidence of Roman rule in various locations across the island. Alcúdia (which was originally named Pollentia) and Palma (then Palmaria) were both founded at this time and the Roman ruins are evident today.

Alcúdia

Alcúdia is in the north of the island. Its Roman ruins are just outside the pretty Medieval town walls and include the foundations of a number of rooms and buildings as well as a little theatre. The old town walls were constructed under James II of Aragon in the 14th century and you can still climb up and follow them around the outside of the town. The main road, the Ma13, travels right up the island from Palma to Alcúdia, so it is simple enough to visit, even if you are only planning a day trip and takes less than an hour to drive from Palma.

Discover more on the website www.seemallorca.com/alcudia

In the 18th century a harbour was built and it was this that really boosted the town’s economy. Due to its position off Spain’s eastern coast in the Balearic Sea, Majorca was in a prime position for trade routes. Olive cultivation had been the main source of income during the Roman occupation of the island, and the construction of ports and harbours at main coastal towns meant trade with other islands or the mainland was possible.

Palma

Though Palma, on the island’s south-west coast, was another important port town during Roman occupancy, some of the most impressive remains in the city are actually from the later Muslim period. The maze of little streets in the centre of the old town are clearly indicative of the city’s Arabic past. Narrow streets are lined by interesting buildings with intricate architecture. You will find Palma’s Moorish baths towards the south of the city in Carrer de Can Serra, not far from the harbour. From the outside it is an unassuming building; inside you’ll find a domed roof that is supported by 12 columns and a lovely lush garden. The baths are thought to date back to the 11th century.

Take a look at Palma’s website www.seemallorca.com/palma

The conquest of Majora

Muslim forces started raiding the island from the 8th century and, during their occupation up to the 12th century, towns were expanded and agriculture improved. The island lies in the boundary zone between Christian and Muslim areas. While good for trade, this meant further attacks from neighbouring forces were inevitable and in the early 13th century James I of Aragon took control during the Conquest of Majorca.

The combination of Muslim and Christian architecture that resulted from this turbulent Medieval period is still apparent in various towns and acts as a reminder of the rich history. In Palma, for example the iconic cathedral La Seu was built by the Crown of Aragon on the site of a Moorish mosque which was, in turn built on the foundations of a pre-existing Roman temple. Today it is a stunning Gothic building that you are welcome to visit, but remember to take a look at opening times on the website before you set off. Palma is just over half an hour from Biniorella.

http://catedraldemallorca.org

Coastline

Though Majorca is still part of Spain today, it wasn’t completely plain sailing from the Medieval period and a number of fortified watchtowers can be spotted around the coastline. Towers were built as a means of defence and there are around 50 remaining on the island. As you explore you will spot them, perched high on rugged coastal cliffs looking out to sea.

The Torre de Verger is a very picturesque one about 40 mins from Biniorella in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. Also known as the Tower of Souls, this 16th century watchtower is just outside the village of Banyalbufar on the west coast.

Follow the Ma10 and it will run, in part, parallel to the coast. You can pull in and walk the little path and steps to the tower where you’ll be greeted with fantastic views out over the coastline. 

Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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