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Miramar

miramar monastery, mallorcaMiramar Monastery was founded in the Tramuntana Mountains at the request of Ramon Llull in 1276. Llull had spent several years living as a hermit on a hill called Randa in the centre of Mallorca. He established a language school for twelve priests to teach Arabic and other oriental languages so that they could communicate with Moors on their travels and convert them from Islam to Christianity. Llull spent three years at Miramar writing books and teaching his students. Read the Randa webpage to learn about this philosopher's life.

Around 1480, the theologian and writer Bartomeu Caldentey and clergyman Francesc Prats opened a school of humanities and Lullian science in Palma to spread Llull's message. Five years later they moved out to Miramar, in search of peace at a time when Spain was in turmoil. A Royal Decree in 1492 ordered all Jews and Muslims had to leave Spain and the Inquisition made sure they did. Llull's progressive thinking was seen as subversive and Caldentey and Prats had to stop printing.

miramar monastery, mallorcaIn 1872 Archduke Ludwig Salvatore (1847-1915) bought Miramar and if you wish to find out more about him check out the Son Marroig webpage. The estate stretched to the top of the Teix Mountain, which overlooks the chapel, and it was inherited by the family of his secretary, Antoni Vives. The Archduke also bought the s'Estaca vineyards to the east of Son Marroig and built a Sicilian style house there. The estate was inherited by his housekeeper and mistress Catalina Homar and became famous when it was bought by the actor Michael Douglas and his ex-wife, Diandra.

Miramar is now a museum to Ramon Llull and the Archduke. You start in a room full of maps relating to the Archduke's estates and travels and then see the ancient oil press. Just inside the garden is a small cloister which the Archduke built using arches from the 13th Century Santa Margalida convent which stands in Sant Miguel street, Palma.

Stepping inside the school we see the sculpture Salvador commissioned in memory of Vratislav Vyborny, his first secretary. Then we enter the school hall, a small kitchen and see a small library in the stable. Stepping out of the building we are presented with a spectacular view over the sea and can see the 'Torre del Moro' or Moor's Tower, down below, on the cliff edge. After exploring the olive terraces and the views along the Tramuntana coast, we see the base of the ancient church, which is in the shape of a Byzantine cross, marked out in the garden. Finally we visit the tiny chapel which was commissioned by the Archduke and designed by Frederic Wachskmanna.

Miramar is open all days except Monday and 3 Euros for adults (children are free).


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