Valldemossa is probably one of the most beautiful villages in Mallorca.
The name “Valldemossa” comes from Wadi Musa (the Musa’s valley) who was the lord of this lands. In 902 the Muslims conquered the island and they organised it in 13 “juz” (districts). This one was known as Bunyula-Musu.
It was an “alquería” (farm, farmstead) and the mosque was built where nowadays there’s the parish church of Sant Bartomeu. That area was the beginning of Valldemossa. Around there, there were a lot of fountains that helped to the agriculture, the economy of the village.
It is currently considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2011. A village surrounded by olive, almond and carob trees where you can find the painted ceramics in all the houses that represent episodes in the life of Santa Catalina with the quote: “Pray for us”; or taste the delicious “coca de patata” made of flour, boiled potato, sugar, lard, eggs, oil and lukewarm water… A simple recipe passed down from generation to generation that, over time, has become one of Valldemossa’s great gastronomic features. A lot of the shops in the town sell this genuinely local sweet. Try it with hot chocolate in winter or an almond slush in summer.
It would be difficult to truly understand Valldemossa without realising the part played by La Cartoixa in its history.
The two properties that make this spectacular village are the Palace of King Sanç and the new Carthusian monastery. They have welcomed kings, writers, artists, politicians and, more simply, Carthusian monks, whose order was responsible for the buildings current appearance.
In 1229, King Jaume I of Aragon, known as the Conqueror, arrived in Mallorca. His son, Jaume II, was the first king of the kingdom of Mallorca. He ruled a realm that was not dependent on the Crown of Aragon, the dominant kingdom in the area during this time.
Jaume II had a son who suffered from asthma, Sanç I. In 1309, in an attempt to help his son, Jaume II ordered a palace to be built for Sanç in Valldemossa, it was believed the local climate could relieve his asthma. The manor built where probably was located the Muslim lord house.
The palace was enlarged in 1311 by Sanç I, who spent a long time here due to his asthma, since then it was known as the Palace of King Sanç I. For several years this palace was used as a royal residence; in other words, the home of the kings of Mallorca. However, the kingdom of Mallorca didn’t last long and, in 1349, it definitively joined the realm of the Crown of Aragon.
As there were no longer any Mallorcan kings, the palace built by Jaume II was never used again as a home for royals. So, in 1399 Martin I, the last King of the Jaume’s dynasty died childlessly, so he decided to donate the building to some monks
so they could use the old palace by converting it into a monastery.
These monks were Carthusians. After some time, during which the monks made changes to be able to live in the old palace, for instance: the prison became the refectory or dining room; the kitchen, the church; the weapons square, the cemetery, cloister and more.
Between the 16th and 17th Century, the new cloister of Santa Maria, some cells, the chapter hall and the rooms for relatives built.
The Carthusian Order had lived in the monastery for 400 years, until 1835. In 1835, due to the ecclesiastical confiscations, the Spanish government forcibly took the Charterhouse of Valldemossa from the Carthusian monks and sold it in public auctions to some people. The Cartuja was sold to a banker, Eliseu Canut, except the church, chapter hall, sacristy/vestry and apothecary which became bishop properties. Then the residential Cartuja was born and the cells were rented to visitors. That was the third transformation for the monastery as several people bought different parts to make them their home. Imagine the luxury of being able to live in such a beautiful place as the Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa! During this time a lot of artists and writers stayed here: George Sand and Chopin, Rubén Darío, Azorín, Santiago Rusiñol, Eugeni d’Ors…
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