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Manacor

People have lived in the Manacor area since pre-Talayotic times and they started by living in caves before moving to boat shaped houses called Naviforms and eventually built walled settlements. Two good examples are at Es Boc Vell two miles to the south and s'Hospitalet Vell, six miles to the southeast at nearby Cales de Mallorca. There was a settlement with round and square towers at Sa Vall two miles to the north and a hilltop settlement at Bellver Ric to the northwest.

Manacor itself was a Talayotic settlement and trading centre until the Romans conquered the island in 123 B.C. There was a thriving Roman village on the site and remains at Porto Cristo show that the harbour would have served the settlement. The Vandals razed the village to the ground in the mid 5th Century and the ruins lay deserted until the Moors established one of their markets here for 500 years. They called it Manaqur, which translates as ' Hand of the Heart', and the town's coat of arms bear these symbols.

Following the conquest in 1229, the village mosque was torn down and replaced by a church devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows in 1236. The building was rebuilt in the 15th Century and dedicated to Santa Maria but what we see today was completed in 1890 and dedicated to Santa Cristo. A large rose window fills the interior with colourful light while the tall, slender tower rises 75 metres above Manacor's streets.

manacor, mallorca (majorca)
The Church of
Our Lady of Sorrows.
manacor, mallorca (majorca)
The Palace Tower.

Just across from the church entrance (looking to the left standing with your back to the door), you will see a stone lintel carved with the words 'Torre de Palau', or Palace Tower. Walk through the entrance to discover the tower. James II commissioned the building of the palace at the beginning of the 14th Century and it was completed by Peter Cornell by 1323. The Kings of Mallorca would have visited Manacor when they were in the forests which formed the royal hunting grounds around Son Severa .

The building was given to Joan Ballester during the second half of the 15th Century and then passed to the Orlandis family in 1707. Most of the royal palace was demolished in the 19th Century and all we can see today is the royal tower where the King's chambers were. Originally there would have been walls surrounding a courtyard and a gatehouse.

On the north side of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows is Weyler Plaza and it is named after General Valeriano Weyler (1838-1930). Weyler fought those seeking Cuba's independence but he was sacked for the cruel treatment of the natives. He was General of Catalonia during the uprisings known as the Tragic Week in 1909 and was Governor General of the Philippines. He was eventually appointed Spain's Minister of War and Chief of the General Staff of the Army. His town house is in the Santa Cruz district of Palma. Continue into Sa Bassa Plaza, a popular meeting place for the people of Manacor surrounded by 18th and 19th Century buildings overlooking the cafes and restaurant terraces.

manacor, mallorca (majorca)
Weyler Cafe overlooks Weyler Plaza.
manacor, mallorca (majorca)
The eerie S'Alicorn.

Turn left into Convent Street and head west. After 200 metres you will find the Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer. Ferrer came to Manacor in 1414 during his visit to Mallorca when he called upon people to support the Inquisition in its work against the Jews. The church was dedicated to him in 1576. Inside the church is a peculiar statue called S'Alicorn. It is a seated statue of a man with the head of an ass and Manacor folklore says that it represented the priests of the Inquisition. S'Alicorn is carried out of the church each 24 May during the celebrations of Santo Domingo.

Next door to the church is the Dominican Monastery which has an elegant rectangular cloister. In 1835 the monastery was one of many sold off under Prime Minister Mendizabel's plan to raise money to support Queen Isabella II and end the First Carlist War. The monastery was taken over by the council and while the monk's cells once served as prison cells, rooms now serve as council offices. You can still visit the elegant cloisters.

manacor, mallorca (majorca)
The Dominican cloisters.
manacor, mallorca (majorca)
The Tower of Points.

Torre de ses Puntes, or the Tower of Points is in the western suburbs and to find it follow Avenida Torrente west until the crossing with Avenida del Salvador Juanto . The fortified manor house was built outside the town walls in the 14th Century and its name comes from the pointed battlements. The building was restored in 1985 and is now used as an exhibition hall.

To the south of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows is Ramon Llull Plaza, the old market of cattle, vegetables, wool and other products. To the north of the town centre is Sant Jaime's Plaza with its ornate fountain decorated with four huge fish. To the east of the church is Paseo de N'Antoni Maura where a statue outside the Infant School remembers Antoni Amer. Amer was the town's Lord mayor executed in 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War. Around 300 men, deemed opponents of the Franco regime in the eastern area of the island, were rounded up and executed in Manacor's cemetery, southeast of the town.

Manacor is also the home town of Rafa Nadal, the former World Number One tennis player who is nicknamed 'King of the Clay' because of his success on clay courts. He has won ten Grand Slam singles titles 19 ATP World Tour Masters and was part of the Spanish Davis Cup Team which won four finals.

manacor, mallorca (majorca)
The Fish Fountain in
St Jaime's Plaza.
manacor, mallorca (majorca)
Torre dels Enagistes, home to Manacor Museum.

Manacor Museum

One mile southeast of Manacor, on Calle de Son Fortesa the road to Cales de Mallorca, is the Torre dels Enagistes. A Moorish farmhouse called Ancrad stood on the spot but following the conquest in 1229 Nuño Sanç gave it to Pelai Nuniç who built the tower in the centre of the building we see today. At the end of the 15th Century it passed to the Santjoan family and they extended it. In 1651 it was donated to the Society of Jesus, otherwise known as the Jesuits. The founder of the Society was Ignatius of Loyola, hence the Catalan name, Torre dels Enagistes, or Tower of Ignatius.

The tower passed into private hands when the Jesuits were expelled from Spain in 1767. It was eventually acquired by the city of Manacor in 1982 and turned into a museum. There are exhibits relating to the Talayotic, Roman, Moorish and Medieval eras. One of the exhibits is a collection of mosaics and artefacts taken from the 5th Century Son Peteró Church, the earliest Christian church on the island (Check out the Sant Llorenç webpage to learn more about the church). To find out more on the museum and the history of Mallorca, visit the museum's website.

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