Artà & la Colònia routes

Itinerary 1: Town centre

 

1.- Station

 

Artà connected to Mallorca's railway in 1921. This brought in faster communication with Manacor and Palma and increased the transport of people and goods. It's worth noting that the project was promoted with private funds, mainly from the businessman Rafel Blanes.

 

The station and the group of secondary buildings were raised at the sides of the railway track, on the stretch along Costa i Llobera avenue.

 

The train stopped working in 1997, leaving these group of buildings unusable for several years. Nevertheless, as it is a public property, the station is now used as a Tourist Information Centre.

 

The main building, of perfect symmetry, has three floors and rectangular shape.  The lintels over the windows are decorated with geometric motives of red and white ceramic. They are worth a look!

 

Beside, we find an old coal cellar and the toilets.

 

Finally, in the area we find three more buildings that are private properties nowadays.

 

The Station also hosts a local product shop, as well as a point of tourist informacion and a handcraft centre.

 

Come by and enjoy it!

 

2.- Plaça del Pes dels Porcs (Square of the Pig Weigh)

 

 

As its name says, Plaça del Pes dels Porcs was used for two common daily works during the early 20th century: keeping the cattle protected and for weighting it. Nowadays, this building has been converted into a municipal warehouse and also hosts the local police quarters. We can still see the platform used to lift the lorries and the vans, which permitted not having to lift the animals to weight them.

 

 

 

 

3.- Teatre d'Artà - Theater of Artà

 

The Theater of Artà opened the first of June of 2001. It's one of the most important cultural infrastructures of town and it's quite popular around the island.

 

This new floor plan building designed by architect Mateu Carrió is located on the same piece of land as na Batlesa, a building donated to the town hall by Cristòfol Ferrer Pons in 1984.

 

The building is divided into three main spaces: a theater hall with capacity for 460 spectators acoustically designed by Dr. Higini Arau; a second multifunctional hall with capacity for 70 persons with an assembly room beside; and finally, an entrance hall where we find the booking office and the coffee shop.

 

Since its opening, the Theater of Artà has established itself as a cultural reference in Mallorca gathering together an annual average of 30,000 spectators. The theater hosts two outstanding events such as the Classical Music Festival Antoni Lliteres and the multidisciplinary Cool Days Festival, among others.

 

4.- Na Batlesa

 

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the first emigrants that had made their fortunes in the Americas returned to Artà. They were known as Indianos. The return of this new rich collective started a dispute: wealthy classes and newcomers competed to show their economic power through their properties. Indianos imported new building styles from the Americas and Na Batlesa is a good example.

 

This early 20th century building features an independent volume placed on a small podium and surrounded by a balustrade. The main facade forms a big triangular pediment, boasting a beautiful stairway and a balcony on the main floor.

 

The owner of na Batlesa, Cristòfol Ferrer, donated the complex to the town hall in 1984. Thus, the building became a public space hosting a public library, a youth information office and an exhibition space. Na Batlesa also hosts the document bank of famous painter Miquel Barceló. Arta’s local theatre is also located inside Na Batlesa premises.

5.- Plaça del Conqueridor - Conqueror’s Square

 

This public space dates from the early 19th century. Since then, it has been used as a meeting place for community events. After its extensive refurbishment during the 90’s, locals continue enjoying the festivities of the patron Saint Salvador here. Located in the very heart of the village, it is a must for any visitor.

 

6.- Museu Regional d’Artà -Arta’s Regional Museum

 

Arta’s Regional Museum is located close to the Town Hall, in Estrella street. The entity was founded by a group of local scholars with the aim to preserve Arta’s heritage in 1927. During the 60s, the building hosting the museum was purchased and restored by the Mallorcan bank Sa Nostra. 

 

The museum is organized in three sections: one committed to ethnology, a second section dedicated to Natural History and the Archeology section. The visitor will discover here traditional textile techniques, local fauna and flora as well as the extensive archeological heritage of the village. The museum boasts a rich collection of pre-historical and Muslim artifacts.

 

This rich batch grows everyday thanks to particular donations and the hard work of the museum’s researchers. It’s worth highlighting the impressive collection of local flora and fauna, donated by pharmacist Llorenç Garcías Font.

 

Pay a visit and get a taste of Arta’s rich history and natural diversity!

7.- Ajuntament d’Artà - Arta’s Town Hall

 

The current Town Hall dates from 1941. The building was conceived during the Spanish Second Republic (1931–1939) but the Spanish Civil War delayed its construction. Once the war finished, the Falangist authorities sped up the project finally christening the complex and its attached square in 1941. This three-story symmetrical building features an internal patio which distributes the floor plan. The basement worked as prison, the first floor as office and the attic was the archive.

8.- Posada dels Olors, Residència -Olors Inn, Old People’s Home

 

The Posada dels Olors -Olors Inn- dates from the 17th century. This was the family house to one of the most powerful families in Artá: the Font of Olors. This astonishing building was remodeled extensively along the 19th century in order to reflect the wealth and prestige of the lineage.

 

 

The complex is articulated through two blocks with three different levels. This geometry draws an internal patio, currently a beautiful garden. The family shield is carved on the facade and the main door opens to a path leading to the garden. Old cisterns are located in the backyard. Nowadays, the complex functions as an old people’s home.

9.- Ses Escoles Velles (The Old School)

 

This building is located under the sanctuary of Sant Salvador. Local youths attended school here from 1934 until the 70’s.

 

The building stands as a unique entity. It has three floors and a basement. It is worth noting the contrast between the geometry of the volume and its asymmetrical openings. Access is located on the right side of the main facade.

Currently the building is host to the offices of the Education department, carrying out a number of adult-education related activities.

 

10.- Sant Salvador

 

Sant Salvador stands as an iconic building in Artá. It is located on a small hill overlooking the entire village. Highlights are the walled perimeter, the sanctuary and the rooms of Es Donat. Its privileged location gave strategic importance to the whole complex since ancient times. First accounts on the location refer to a Muslim citadel known as Almudaina. This citadel also hosted a mosque which Jaume I transformed into a Christian temple after the Catalan conquest.

 

The walled perimeter draws a 93 by 24 meters ellipse. The main tower which stands out from the walled precinct is dedicated to Sant Miquel. The walls have seen extensive refurbishment, being initially rebuilt during the 16th century to protect the citizens from pirate raids. The whole complex was restored in 1967. This late project included the construction of a new tower and battlements all over the perimeter.

 

The current sanctuary was built in 1825 and blessed in 1832. The two towers flanking the building were finished towards the end of the 19th century. It is of Renaissance style, featuring a Latin cross plan with no apse and a barrel vaulted ceiling. The dome’s fresco is a work by the painter Salvador Torres. It was finished in 1892 and represents the Holy Glory. Once inside the building, we find a Romanesque carving representing the Virgin of Sant Salvador. This sculpture was originally preserved in Bellpuig monastery. The virgin of Saint Salvador is the patron saint of Artà since 1922.

 

The old church was burnt after being used as a pest house during the 1820 outbreak. We must highlight the rooms for Es Donat, the person in charge of the maintenance of the whole complex. Other remarkable items are the 17th century cistern and the monument to the victims of the Spanish Civil War.

11.- Esglèsia Parroquial de la Transfiguració (Parish Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord)

 

The Parish Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord is located on the side of Sant Salvador mountain. It overlooks the entire village. This Neo-Gothic building was started in 1573 to replace the small 13th century ancient Church. The chevet was finished in the 17th century, being the vault completed in 1816. The attached bell tower dates from the 17th century.

 

Two portals give access to the building. The main portal known as Portal de ses Dones (The Portal of Women) dates from the 19th century. It is decorated by the architect Bartomeu Ferrà. We must highlight here the modernist style of the pointed portal and the big rose window. The second portal is known as Portal dels homes (The portal of Men). This entrance is unfinished yet.

 

The exterior structure features side buttresses and a lateral dome that decorates the building. Once inside the building, the visitor will find up to 14 small chapels dedicated to different Saints. We must highlight here the chapel dedicated to The Rosary. The altarpiece was installed in 1906 and represents different scenes of The Transfiguration of The Lord. Other important elements are the 17th century baptismal font, the 19th century pipe organ and the impressive stained glass windows.

 

12.- Plaça de l’Aigua (Square of the Water)

 

An important water network crossed this point during the Muslim and early Catalan eras. This network supplied the orchards of the area. This square turned into a big subterranean water deposit in the 19th century. Locals used a pump to extract the water; this was supplied with the stream that flowed from a fountain located two kilometers away. This fountain was the birthplace of a sophisticated water network of Muslim origin. The aqueduct, known as the old bridge, stands out from this impressive structure. This device dates from the end of the 16th century.

 

13.- Abeuradors (Public Watering Trough)

 

Public watering trough provided water to the working animals which entered or left the town during the last century. These troughs were built at the beginning of the 20th century and restored in 2005.

 

We can find two examples in Artá: one is located in the Almudaina Mountain, in the street named after this particular infrastructure. It consists of a stone sink which is flanked by two polygonal pillars. These pillars are topped by a cornice which is sustained on cantilevers. The wall under the cornice is out of irregular stone blocks.

 

The other example is located in Son Servera street. This water trough consists of a long rectangular sink framed by two columns. A ceiling seems to be missing. Both the sink and the columns are covered in stone.

 

Finally, we also find a cylindrical small stone sink over a partially preserved stone pavement.

 

14.- El convent de Sant Antoni de Pàdua

 

The Franciscan convent of Sant Antoni of Pàdua is located on Sant Antoni street. The convent is composed of a cloister and a church. A community of Franciscan friars arrived to Artà after the Catholic euphorya of the Council of Trent, in the 16th century. The convent was founded in 1585.

 

The church dates from the beginning of the 17th century. A series of stands lead to the building’s main facade. This free-of-ornaments facade is divided into three separated bodies. The church has a typical baroque portal. A rose widow is located in the center of the main portal, flanked to the left by a square plan bell tower.

 

We move on now to the cloister attached to the church. It is a 24 column portic with 20 stone arches. A cistern is located in the centre of the structure.

Currently, the classrooms of the Franciscan School of Saint Buenaventura surround the cloister.

                                       

Route 2: Ses Païses, Bellpuig, Betlem, Sa Canova

15.- Ses Païsses

The Talayotic village of Ses Paisses is one of the largest and best preserved pre-historic settlements in the island. The walled perimeter and the internal structures are in a remarkably good state. Many wonders are yet to be found here!

 

The village has an elliptical shape. It encompasses 13.500 square meters; its walled perimeter is 374 meters long. The site was declared Historical and Artistic Monument in 1946.

 

The first excavations were carried out by Italian archeologist Giovanne Lilliu. He tried to link pre-historic Balearic structures to those discovered in Sardinia. He focused on the village central area, the Talayot and all attached structures. Highlights in this area are the Hypostile and the horseshoe-shaped room, among others. Excavation Works were resumed by Spanish archeologist Javier Aramburu 30 years later.

 

The foundation of the settlement is dated circa 1000BC. It is believed that the village was built around the central Talayot. Following Aramburu’s research, the walled perimeter dates back to circa 650-540 BC. This settlement decayed under Roman rule.

 

We must highlight the impressive doorway and the monolith placed in front of it. Great Mallorcan poet Costa i Llobera was inspired by Ses Païsses to write the poem 'La deixa del geni grec' (1900).

 

16.- Bellpuig

 

Bellpuig monastery is located in the vicinity of cami vell de Ciutat (Palma’s old road). The foundation of the monastery dates back to the Catalan conquest of the island. Jaume I granted this land to the Catalan community of monks from the abbey of Bellpuig de les Avellanes. This historic landmark meant the resettlement of the area. The new settlers reused the existing prehistoric, Roman and Muslim structures.

 

This monastery is organized around a cloister-shaped square patio. The church, warehouses and monastic dependencies are located around this structure. The church is the best preserved structure by far, being the rest of the site in ruins. This gothic style church is typical from the Catalan resettlement period. It features a single nave with gabled roof. The decoration in the interior is composed by the geometrical forms of the capitals and a small window in the apse. The Virgin Mary sculpture was transferred to Artà in 1425 after the monks left the site. The monastery was bought then by the Vivot family. The complex passed to the Dameto family in 1637. This family transformed the monastery into a farmhouse modifying the structure of the monastery. The Consell Insular de Mallorca acquired Bellpuig in 1999.

 

Several excavations have been carried out in the monastery and surroundings, bringing into light prehistoric, Roman, Muslim and monastic artifacts.

 

 

17.- Betlem

 

    Betlem hermitage is located in Arta’s mountains. These are the lands of the ancient Muslim farmhouse of Binialgorfa. The hermitage was founded in 1805 by the hermits of Saint Honorat of Randa and the Holy Trinity of Valldemossa. The lands were granted to the hermit community by Jaume Morei. The site contained an ancient war tower and a flour mill. The hermitage was inaugurated on May the 10th, 1818.

     The complex was enlarged with cells, kitchen and other dependencies during the 20th century. The church, built by Joan Rossello and blessed in 1824, is one of the highlights of the site.

    

    We access the complex by means of a path flanked by long cypresses. The church is a modest building. Its facade encompasses a solar clock, a small window and a rose window. Once in the interior, we will enjoy a fresco featuring the coronation of the Virgin and Manuel Bayeu’s seven scenes on the life of Jesus.

     

     We find the remains of ancient orchards and other structures surrounding the complex. These devices allowed the self-sufficiency of the religious community.

       

      Do not miss the nearby remains of the ancient water mill, Na Bernadeta fountain and the old military observatory.

18.-Sa Canova

 

Sa Canova is an extensive stretch of land encompassing a rich natural and historic heritage. It was declared Cultural Interest Site in 1986.

 

Natural highlights are its impressive dunes and sandbanks and Na Borges torrent. Its thick scrubland gives shelter to a wide range of migrant birds.

 

It’s worth noting the important prehistoric sites of Sa Canova. One of the most imposing talayots in Mallorca is located here. This prehistoric route is completed with the natural and artificial caves of Rafal pai and Sa Canova ravine. These shelters where used for funerary purposes during talayotic times.

 

We also find here a 16th century farmhouse. It is a u-shaped house with no patio. The building has two levels and features a defense tower.  The main façade is composed by a round arch featuring a Latin cross on the keystone

We will find several auxiliary buildings for farming purposes. The water deposit is remarkably old.

 

The defense tower draws a square floor plan. It has three levels and is located a few meters away from the main building. A little wooden bridge connects both structures.

 

Once on the beach, we will observe two signaling towers. These military structures were built during the 20th century.

Route 3: Colonia de Sant Pere

19.- Church of la Colonia de Sant Pere

 

Small parish church located in la Colonia de Sant Pere. This center of population dates back to 1880. It was founded by the Homar brothers who wanted to create a farming colony in the area.

 

The first families to populate la Colonia built a little chapel dedicated to Saint Peter. The quick development of the village created the necessity of a bigger religious space. The old chapel was replaced by the current parish church in 1951.

 

It features a single nave and an attached bell tower. The main façade surpasses the height of the nave. The portal has a marble lintel and Doric-style pilasters. Once inside the church, we highlight the fresco representing Saint Peter with la Colonia in the background.

 

20.- Pier of la Colonia de Sant Pere

 

The pier has its origins in a dry dock built in 1950. This infrastructure gave service to small fishing boats. The touristic development transformed the pier into a marina in the 60’s. The old dry dock and pier were replaced by a bigger dock in 1968. The marina currently has 308 moorings.

21.- Beach of la Colònia de Sant Pere

 

The beach of la Colonia de Sant Pere is located in the side of the marina. It is a little artificial sandy area in front of the urban center of la Colonia de Sant Pere.  La playa receives a great affluence of visitors thanks to the easy access from the village. This 70 meter arch-shaped beach is a dream come true. Come and enjoy its golden, fine sand!

 

22.- Hatcheries of la Colonia de Sant Pere

 

These hatcheries are located on the rock formations near the beach. These structures were built in the beginning of the XX century being used by fishermen to keep fish alive. The hatcheries are partially built on the sea with local materials and sandstone. These two constructions are 100 meters away from each other and feature a circular floor plan, wall out of mortar and a concrete circular vault. Across the sandstone doors the visitor will find a square receptacle for the fish.

 

23.- Sandy area of son Colom

 

This sandy area encompasses a prehistoric site of the calcolithic period. It is circa 4000 years old. Only two walls stand after several milleniums but the site is rich in ceramic, bone and copper artifacts. Excavation were carried out in 2004 to study this site throughly.

 

24.- Dolmen of s’Aigua Dolça

This dolmen is located in Es Canons, between la Colonia and Betlem residential areas.

 

This megalithic tomb was built around the 2000BC as a collective necropolis. It remained in use until circa 1650aC.

 

The central chamber was accessed through a narrow corridor. The human remains of the entire community were placed there along with small grave goods. These included ceramic pots, bone tools, punches and copper and bronze elements. The corridor and the chamber were surrounded by a circle of sandstone slabs.

 

This complex was covered by a stone burial mound, being its original aspect that of a big promontory with a little entrance to the funerary chamber.

 

Currently, only the perimeter and the base lines of the corridor and the chamber are visible. The site was excavated by the University of the Balearic Isles.

 

 

 

 

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