Deep in the Tramuntana Mountains there is a hidden valley, where the air is cool, the grass is green and there is not a beach in sight. Orient Valley and the village of the same name are tucked away from the maddening crowds for one simple reason, they are hard to find. The valley is virtually surrounded by Puig Major (Puig is Spanish for Hill) to the north, Serra d'Alfabia to the west and Puig d'Alaró to the south. The twisting road from Buyola to the west passes over the Col d’Honor and it is nerve wracking drive. An easier route is from the south east where the road from Alaró passes between the precipitous peaks of Puig d'Alaró, with its lofty castle, and Puig s’Alcadena, once home of witches.
There is evidence of prehistoric life here and there ruins at Es Pujol and Es Forn de Calç as well as a Comasema Talayot in the grounds of the manor house of the same name. Although the Moors started to cultivate the valley was probably given to the Knights Templar following the Conquest in 1229 and they had soon built a tiny chapel on the highest part of the valley floor. The village soon grew up around it and Son Palou is one of the largest properties in the area. There are now around twenty houses nestled around the small 18th Century Church, which is dedicated to Saint George, and main street which has the intriguing name King’s of Orient Street. The Knights Templar had fought in the Crusades in the Holy Land and their first headquarters were on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Maybe Orient was a reminder of the Temple of Solomon?
So if you want to discover a bit of tranquility Mallorca’s hidden valley, head to Alaró and look for the road to Orient. You can then enjoy lunch at one of the village restaurants, enjoy the cool mountain air and wonder about the mysteries of the Knights Templar.
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