The town of Bunyola in Majorca - The finca Raixa
|The finca La Raixa (pronounced "rahisha") contains an old Majorcan house and one of the most beautiful gardens in the island of Majorca. It represents a piece of history on the island of Mallorca, which extends from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century.|
The house is an old Arab palace renovated in the eighteenth century.
After the reconquest of Mallorca by the Catalan in the thirteenth century, the area Raixa (possessió of Raixa) had several owners, as Zaforteza-Tagamanent, until its acquisition by the Despuig family.
The most important restoration of the house was conducted by Cardinal Antoni Despuig i Dameto (1745-1813), son of the third Earl of Montenegro, transformed the building into a beautiful classic Italian style palace housing the ground floor a important collection of works of art.
|Sa Finca La Raixa|
|The estate is open to the public to visit the mansion exterior, access and lower gardens, courtyard, chapel, loggia and large tank gardens.|
|The domain of Raixa covers 520,000 m² (52 ha). The buildings occupy 4500 m² and the rest is occupied by various gardens, farmland and woods.|
The center of the field is a group of houses, which are always mentioned in the plural because they include several buildings. The "cases de possessió" include different types of buildings according to their geographical location and specialization of production. There is the main house and the farm workers and neighborhoods, next to these, a number of ancillary buildings directly related to agricultural use of the area: stables, olive oil mill, oil stores pantry, and so on.
|The ground floor||The First Floor||The Second Floor|
|1. Fora Portal 2. Main Clastra 5. Room 6. Chapel 8. Hall 9. Dining Masters 10. Kitchen Masters 11. Bedroom Cardinal, 14. Archives, 15. Servants’ quarters, 16. Store; 17. Stable, 18. Equipment for animals; 19. Grange, 20. Pantry; 21. Domestic kitchen, 22. Pigsty (sty) 23. Hen, 24. Tool magazine; 25. Shed chariots 26. work Clastra ; 27. Oil Mill, 28. Store oil, 30. Dormitory domestic; 31. Store, 32. Great Basin|
|The most typical part of the manors of agriculture is "clastra" patio which communicates with the various buildings that make up the architectural ensemble. Generally, "clastras" tend to be closed on three or four sides with access through a large arched gate, known as the "portal forà", which leads to the entrance hall.|
The "clastra" of Raixa has a strong rural character and its most notable feature is the porch which was built in the early sixteenth century. The "clastra" provides access to the home of the Masters, neighborhoods farm workers and the most important ancillary buildings.
|The Masters House (Casa dels senyors)|
|In Mallorca, the rooms inhabited by the owners, when they were staying at the area were called "cases dels senyors". The Masters House is located on the first floor and is separate servants quarters, but it is connected to all buildings in the area through the "clastra". La Casa dels senyors occupies the north wing, east and south of the building.|
House Masters has undergone various transformations over the centuries, decoration and furniture are adapted styles of the moment. However, such mansions have never reached the luxury and refinement of the "patios" of Palma, especially those owned by the nobility.
Although the provision has changed over the years, during the period of greatest splendor of Raixa in the eighteenth century, the house consisted of various rooms and bedrooms, a main dining room, a dining room staff and kitchen on the first floor for the owner’s family ("cuina dels senyors").
The entrance to the "casa dels senyors" hall leading to various domestic spaces, such as kitchen, closets and various dish pantry. He also served as access to private quarters of the family.
|The view of the gardens from the balcony down to the Italian is superb.|
|The Servants’ Quarters|
|The servants and workers’ quarters, as well as workshops, occupied the west wing of the building. The ground floor contained a kitchen for domestic workers and domain ("cuina dels amos"). Employees were housed in the basement.|
|Raixa is renowned for its outstanding gardens. In the eighteenth century Raixa already included landscaped areas, but the famous gardens of the area date back to the nineteenth century.|
After a very ambitious project designed by Spanish architect Maria Eusebio de Ibarreche the cardinal Despuig hired the Italian architect Giovanni Lazzarini, who developed a large-scale project in 1802 for a series of gardens in neoclassical style. Financial constraints and lack of water meant that neither one of these projects was undertaken.
Finally it was decided in 1807 to opt for a more modest plan, based on a reinterpretation of the draft prepared by the Italian Lazzarini, under the direction of master builder Tomas Abrines.
The gardens were built in three phases. During the first phase the large pool was built, and gardens of Apollo and the low grounds, near the south facade of the mansion, were also developed.
Later, work began in the upper gardens, known as "Sa Muntanyeta" clearing the land to the east and erecting imitation ruins and picturesque structures that are typical of romantic gardens groups.
During the third phase, the field received a new driveway access and high gardens were extended to cover the entire south side of the hill.
Small additions were later made by successive counts of Montenegro and the last owner of Raixa, Antoni Jaume Nadal. The gardens are divided into access, low and high gardens gardens gardens.
|The gardens of access are covered by a large terrace-viewpoint which is accessed via a portal medieval style with crenellated towers.|
|The Lower Gardens|
|Low gardens were the first to be developed, they are focused on the loggia ten arches of the facade and mix a variety of evergreen trees (cypress and so on) with geometric plant material.|
|The Upper Gardens|
|The gardens are built high on a hill. The first seven terraces are serviced by a monumental staircase to the large pond (96 x 18 meters), the "House of Dolls" and "Bath House".|
The baroque staircase for less grandiose, surrounded by numerous statues and visible in the midst of lush vegetation, has been reproduced in many tables Majorcan artists.
|The highest part, called Sa Muntanyeta includes a path along which the visitor encounters romantic constructions path: a cave, a view from the top of a house, a chapel and a neoclassical temple crowning the top.|
|In 1753, Count Ramon Despuig i Cotoner had committed military engineer Francisco Ricaud de Tirgalle to build a huge tank (aljibe) 100 m in length in order to increase the availability of water in the area. In the nineteenth century the great basin was built from this aljibe.|
The field Raixa is watered by the stream of the "Font des Coster", but the stream does not provide enough water to expand the vineyards and olive groves to make profitable field. In 1807, the stream "des Polls" was leased to the neighboring area of Pastorix and water was brought to Raixa by a line three miles long.
|The Origins of Domain Raixa|
|There are many hypotheses about the origins of the field Raixa, but the most likely explanation is that, during the Arab domination of the island, these lands were part of a large estate, or "alquería", known as Biniatzar name, which is now the name of a nearby field.|
|Water is a scarce resource in Mallorca, and has been, throughout the history of the island, a key factor in the choice of settlements. Also, the best agricultural areas of the island are located near wells or springs. The finca Raixa is a good example because of the abundance of water - which still reflects its large pool - and the fertility of the land of this privileged location at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana, the Moors founded the Araixa farm, from which the current name of the finca Raixa.|
The area remained under Arab rule for 300 years.
|The First Owners|
|In the thirteenth century, after the Christian reconquest of Mallorca (1229-1231), King Jaume I, said Jaume the Conqueror divided the island between his supporters and encouraged her stocking. The land where now stands the finca Raixa were granted, and other lands, second uncle Jaume I, Nunyo Sanç which has, in turn, divided between its various vassals. The area was given to Araixa Count Ampuries Don Hugo Ponce, 11 May 1234.|
The first historical data Raixa date from the late fifteenth century, when the area belonged to Safortesa-Tagamanents, Majorcan noble family has been extinguished. We do not know what it was like the medieval building, but some important work from 1512 confirm the simplicity of the original house.
From the sixteenth century there was, in the nobility, a long process of accumulation of land, which resulted in the creation of successful latifundia, which in Majorca are called "possessions" (possesió). Raixa became one of those "possessions". But in the sixteenth century, the owners of Raixa were involved in the revolt of Germanies de Mallorca (Mallorca Brotherhoods), a struggle between rebel artisans and defenders of the crown, which took place between 1521 and 1523, the area and buildings were attacked and burned. Raixa but was rebuilt in the following century, the family experienced a serious decline and was forced to sell his property to the first Earl of Montenegro and Montoro, Ramon Despuig i Rocaberti (1633-1681), 18 June 1660.
|The Despuig Family|
|The Despuig family bought the estate of Raixa because of its productivity, particularly in the case of olive oil. During the period of the first Earl of Montenegro, farm buildings were improved, olive trees were planted, the olive oil mill was enlarged and another mill was built.|
In the eighteenth century the house was enlarged in various works. The historical documents show that it was a rural manor well equipped and decorated to match, according to Baroque tastes. The existence of both approval orchards, known under the names of "Hort de les Llimoneres" (Garden of Lemons) and "Hort de la Gruta" (Garden of the Cave) confirm that such areas were not only Majorcan agricultural centers but also temporary homes where the owners could enjoy nature.
The Despuig family is the most representative and most important family in the history of the domain of Raixa she possessed for centuries. All members of this family, the most important character is Antoni Despuig.
|Antoni Despuig i Dameto (1745-1813) was the third of eight children, and the second son of the third Earl of Montenegro and fifth Earl of Montoro. He studied at the Jesuit College of Humanities Monti-Sion and philosophy at the Estudi General Lul·Lia Palma, then began a career in the church.|
Antoni Despuig was a scholar, an encyclopedic curiosity and an enlightened man of his time. From 1774 to 1782, he made a number of trips to Italy. In 1785, he produced a famous map of Mallorca, dedicated to Princess Maria Luisa of Parma Austria.
In 1795, Antoni Despuig was appointed archbishop of Valencia and Seville.
Already during the 1790s, Antoni Despuig wrote to his brother Joan, the owner of Raixa on the transformation of the domain in the style of an Italian villa. At the time of such houses usually had gardens and a private source of pride and pleasure for their own museum.
With the help of Gabino Hamilton, a Scottish antiquarian, Antoni Despuig discovered numerous sculptures. In 1796, these sculptures were shipped to Raixa and formed the basis for its antiques and art collection. The impressions gathered in Italy by Antoni Despuig did not left him after his return to the Majorcan family home: in 1797 he transformed the old land area in a palace surrounded by Italian-style gardens.
In 1803, Pope Pius VII appointed him cardinal. During his stay in Rome, this man traveled widely grown in Tuscany and other regions of Italy, came into contact with artists of the Italian capital, and developed his interest in antiques and collections.
In addition to the collections he brought from Italy, Cardinal Despuig enriches its museum of Raixa all objects discovered during excavations he did do in the area of Raixa and consisted mainly of the remains of the Roman period.
|Legacy of Cardinal Despuig|
|Antoni Despuig was a renowned collector and patron of the arts. In addition to the collections of antiquities, he enriched the museum of Raixa with works of art from the Italian and Spanish schools. At the same time he has accumulated a considerable library, with more than twelve thousand volumes, as well as important collections of coins and engravings.|
In his will, the cardinal appointed his brother Joan as heir of his property and asked him to complete the work he had begun to Raixa, especially the museum and library. A few months after the death of Antoni Despuig, his brother, Earl, also died in his turn. The heir to the estate was the eldest son of Count Ramon, who with his brother, Joan Despuig Safortesa, made great efforts to make their dreams a reality uncle.
In 1906, the finca Raixa was purchased by the Jaume family Don Antoni Jaume offered for sale parts of the museum. In 1918, the municipality of Palma, supported by a number of cultural institutions of the island, asked the Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts, the legacy Despuig was kept in the island of Majorca, as ’asked the cardinal in his will. The works of the museum Despuig were bought by the municipality of Palma de Mallorca and can currently be seen at Bellver Castle near Palma.
|Finca Raixa in the twentieth Century|
|The heritage value of the Raixa led the autonomous government of the Balearic Islands to protect the ranking of Cultural Interest (BIC) in 1993.|
The finca Raixa was acquired in January 2002 by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and the Council of Mallorca, to make the seat of the National Parks and a major international center for the environment.
The mansion began to be restored in 2003 and in 2008, the restoration of the main building was completed. The second phase, which covers the gardens and farm buildings, began in 2009. The gardens continue to be visited after restoration.
|Raixa saw the shooting of three films, including "Evil Under the Sun" (Evil Under the Sun), based on the novel "Les Vacances d’Hercule Poirot" Agatha Christie, British film directed by Guy Hamilton, released in France April 21, 1982, with Peter Ustinov in the role of Poirot, James Mason, Maggie Smith, Jane Birkin and Diana Rigg (Mrs Peel in the Avengers). The film, expected to take place in Croatia, was shot and Raixa - for scenes of the sea - at Monk’s Cove (Caló des Monjo), about 1.5 km southwest of Peguera (Paguera) and Cala en Feliu on the Formentor peninsula and on the island of Sa Dragonera.|
The mansion was opened to the public in late 2009, but in 2011 and 2012, the gardens were still closed to visitors, for reasons of accessibility.
Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00. By appointment from Monday to Friday.
Admission is free.
Phone: 00 34 871 947 320
Road from Palma to Soller, Km 12.2.
By bus Sóller to Palma, there should be 40 minutes walk from the stop Bunyola, with luck, you can ask the driver to turn off Caubet (Joan March Hospital), the finca Raixa is then a 10 minute walk.
Site on the Web: www.raixa.org