There are around 30 archaeological sites around the village, ranging from pre-Talayotic caves to the walled settlement at Pou Es Celat southeast of the village. Roman families must have also settled in the area because a tombstone was found on the Son Cota estate. During the Moorish era the area belonged to the Manaqur district and while there was no village around here, there were several farms. Several modern estate names are clearly of Arabic origin.
The name Porreres dates back to 1231, the year when Mallorca was divided up following the conquest by King Jaime I. The area was given to his great uncle Nunó Sanç, and he in turn handed over Alquazor farm and the Maffumet and Totzeta estates to Guillem de Porrera from Tarragona. When Sanç died in 1241 the lands reverted to King Jaime I, but there was already a small church in the centre of the fledgling village. King Jaime II granted Porreres the title 'pobla reial', or Royal Village, in 1300 and offered incentives for families from the mainland to move to Mallorca.
Starting in the 14th Century the main sources of income were from cereals and cattle but during the 19th Century the boom in the wine market meant that farmers turned their land over to vines to increase their profits.
However, the arrival of the vine pest in 1890 wiped out all the vineyards in a single season and they had to plant their land with almond trees (read the Wine Route in North Raiguer section to learn more). In recent years, Porreres has become a centre for apricot production and the farms around the village provide most of the dried apricots eaten in Mallorca. Only the Jaume Mesquida vineyard remains today, and the bodega produces range of wines. Check out http://en.jaumemesquida.com to find out more.
The church we see today in the village plaza was rebuilt in the second half of the 17th Century and it is dedicated to Our Lady of Consolation.
The main feature on the front facade is the sundial which has been keeping time for the Porreres villagers since 1789. Just across the road is the 18th Century rectory with its ornate loggia looking over the plaza.
There is a monument to Bishop Pedro Juan Campins (1859-1915) who served as the village pastor from 1887 to 1893. He was a great promoter of the Catalan language and went on to be the Bishop of Mallorca from 1898 until his death.
One of the oldest buildings in Porreres is the Hospice on Calle Hospitalet, west of the church. The building gave support for the poor and the ill from the 1450s until it closed in the 18th Century. There is also another church in the village, the Church of Saint Felip Neri. The Brothers followed the teachings of the 16th Century Italian Saint and when they arrived in Porreres in 1886 they started work on a new church in Carrer Passaraix, south of the village centre; it was completed over 20 years later.
If you head west out of Porreres, following signs for the cemetery, you will find the Oratory of Santa Cruz, or Holy Cross, next to the burial ground. The first chapel was built in the early 1700s and it soon became a popular meeting place for pilgrims heading for Montesión on the nearby hill. It was enlarged a century later to cope with the increase in visitors. However, in 1938 it was used for completely different reason, as a place of execution. At the height of the Spanish Civil War around 120 men were shot behind the building by the Franco regime and you can still see bullet holes in the stone wall and wooden door. 32 of the men executed here were from Porreres and the wave of horror caused by the killings still echoes through the village today. A memorial was recently erected to those who died.
Take the road called Camino de Montesión south from the Chapel and follow it to the top of the hill to find the Montesión Monastery. The building may have its origins around the time of the Black Death in 1348 when the people of Porreres climbed the hill to find consolation. It is known that there was a chapel on the site 150 years later and in 1483 King Ferdinand II of Aragon approved the opening of the school at the hilltop sanctuary. The school soon became an important centre of learning for Latin, science and culture but by the mid 1800s it had been closed down because schools in Palma had taken precedence. There was a revival around 1850 when the missionary Father Francisco Ignacio Cabrera Aguilar held classes about his experiences in the monastery but it did not last for long.
The sanctuary was then abandoned and in 1859 the State sold most of its lands to raise money. The building was in a state of disrepair until the village pastor Father Campins employed Ferrà Bartholomew to renovate the building in 1892. The villagers welcomed the restoration with open arms and in 1954 the road was paved to improve the access. Today you can drive up to the front entrance and enjoy the wonderful views over south and east of Mallorca before entering the courtyard to discover the monastery's peaceful atmosphere.
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