The town of Capdepera in Majorca - Castle
|The Capdepera Castle (Castell de Capdepera / Castillo de Capdepera) is an ancient walled city of the fourteenth century, located atop a hill overlooking the town of Capdepera in the northeast of the island of Majorca. It retains as original buildings, ramparts, a watchtower - existing at the castle - and the castle chapel. This is one of the largest castles in Mallorca.|
|The Capdepera Castle sits on top of Puig de Capdepera 159 m at a distance of 1.9 km from the east coast of Majorca. Southeast of the castle is the Puig de Saguer, top 169 m to the south, the Puig de Cova Negra, 234 m high, and in the north the Puig de s’Agulla, 233 m high.|
The fortress occupies a strategic position to be able to monitor a large part of the north-east of the island of Majorca, to Artà, and part of the north-east coast of Menorca and the channel between the island of Majorca and the neighboring island, Menorca.
The monitoring system of the castle was strengthened by several watchtowers, built along the coast of Capdepera, with the task of monitoring the maritime traffic in the Strait of Menorca’s : the tower of Talaia de Son Jaumell located on the Cap des Freu and Sa Torre Vella at the Cap Vermell in Canyamel near the Caves of Artà.
|At the foot of the castle on the south side, the modern city of Capdepera runs east to west.|
The ramparts of the castle you can see the coast of Capdepera with Cala Ratjada, Sa Pedruscada and Son Moll beach.
|The walls of the fortress Capdepera around a 8 069 m² surface, trapezoidal, almost triangular. The land rises from the entrance to the highest point in the north-east, where the Chapel of Our Lady of Hope.|
The walls were built around the existing lookout tower, of Muslim origin, later named Miquel Nunis Tower. The walls are not included in the original tower defense, four towers were built later on the most vulnerable flanks the southwest wall and the south-east wall. These towers also served as housing. Inside the wall, a walkway ran along the walls. The first residential homes were built from the beginning, along with the walls.
There was at first, and for a long time, only one door, the gate tower of King James (Porta del Rei Jaume) in the seventeenth century a second door was added to the south of the first, the Portalet.
|Points of interest||Plan of the castle||Suggested route|
|A - The Tower of Sa Boira|
B - Tower of Ses Dames
C - Tower d’En Banya
D - King James’ Tower-door
E - Tower of Es Costerans
F - Wall-walk
G - House of the Senyora
H - Portalet (visitors’ entrance).
Gray, visible remains of houses.
|The suggested course is organized chronologically, following the historical evolution of the castle from its origins until today.|
The tour starts at the highest side of the hill, where there is the oldest building.
1 - Tower of Miquel Nunis
2 - Roof and tower of the chapel
3 - Tank
4 - Chapel
5 - Walls, towers (A, B, C, D, E), inputs (D,:00) and rampart (F)
6 - Governor’s House
7 - archaeological area
|The Entrance (Portalet)|
|The front door Portalet (H point) was opened in the sixteenth century, the southwest corner of the fortress, and was protected on the left by a massive tower defense tower Sa Boira.|
To facilitate access, a paved road was built in 1954, since it leads Capdepera, the former suburb, until Portalet is now the main entrance and the entrance of visitors.
|Tower Sa Boira (Torre de Sa Boira / Torre de Sa Boira)|
|Tower of Sa Boira ("Tower of Fog") (H point) is the southeast corner of the fortress, near the door of Portalet. It dates as the Portalet from the sixteenth century.|
|The East Wall|
|The rampart is about 75 meters long and has two towers attached to the wall, the Torre de Ses Dames (Tower of the Ladies) and Torre d’en Banya (Tower of the Horn). This wall offers spectacular views of the coast of Capdepera.|
|Tower of Ses Dames|
|The Tower of the Ladies (point B of the visit) is at the southwest corner of the fortress.|
|Tower d’En Banya|
|The Horn Tower (point C of the visit) is in the middle of the eastern wall.|
|The Wall Northwest|
|The wall of the northwest about 100 feet long, it extends from the Chapel of Our Lady, in the north to the western corner of the fortress. The wall of the northwest has no towers.|
|The Wall Southwest|
|The wall of the southwest about 80 m in length, it includes, near the west end, a gate-tower, the Tower of King James. Amid the southwest wall is a defense tower, the Tower of Es Costerans (point E of the visit).|
|Tower-gate King James||Tower of Es Costerans|
|The gate tower of King James (Torre-porta del Rei Jaume) (point D of the visit) is the old main entrance to the fortress. It owes its name to King James the First. It is located in the western corner of the fortress.|
La Torre-puerta del Rey Jaime was completely rebuilt in the late seventeenth century - beginning of the eighteenth century.
|Wall-walk (Camí de Ronda / Camino de Ronda)|
|The House of the Senyora (Casa de la Senyora / Casa de la Señora)|
|At the House of the Senyora (point G of the visit), we can see a mural.|
|The Miquel Nunis Tower (Torre d’en Miquel Nunis / Torre de Miquel Nunis)|
|The Tower Nunis Miquel is a watchtower dating from the period of Muslim occupation of Mallorca, its construction dates back to the tenth - twelfth centuries. She belonged to a farm called Moorish Benifilia.|
The tower stands at the highest Puig Capdepera (point 1 of the plan) point and are square in plan, built of clay bricks, and was originally a height of 10 m is ie twice today.
La Torre d’en Miquel Nunis named the head of the family to which Jaume I of Aragon region attributed Capdepera after the reconquest of Mallorca.
In 1231, King James I signed in this tower the Treaty of Capdepera concluded with the Moors who occupied the island of Minorca, under which the Moors kept the island but pledged allegiance to the crown of Aragon.
In the nineteenth century a circular mill was built inside the square tower with a spiral staircase inside. One half of the tower had been destroyed when the governor ordered to stop work.
|The Chapel of Our Lady of Hope (Nostra Senyora de l’Esperança / Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza)|
|The Chapel of Our Lady of Hope is located at the highest point of the fortress Capdepera place in the northeast corner (points 2 and 4 of the plan).|
The chapel of Nostra Senyora de l’Esperança is a fortified church with no windows, the walls north and northwest part of the exterior walls of the fortification, from the roof terrace of the church, which had a defensive purpose and which is now the panoramic terrace you can see the coastline with Cales de Capdepera, watchtowers and channel Menorca, southeast of the chapel is a platform surrounded by walls.
|The construction of the Chapel of Our Lady dates from the fourteenth century, but it has undergone transformations until the eighteenth century. Three construction phases are distinguished:|
- During phase 1, in the fourteenth century, the chapel to the right of the entrance and the front part of the present nave was built in the Gothic style. The first church was much smaller than today and probably had a tile roof on a wooden frame. The original altar has kept a figure of Christ carved wood orange in the Gothic style, which dates from the late fourteenth century or early fifteenth century. The original sculpture was colored, but painting the figure disappeared nowadays. Some elements, like the crown of thorns and the cross lacking today. This altar figure of the first chapel was hung in the chapel on the right side of the current building, which is the location of the altar of the original building.
- During Phase 2, in the sixteenth century, the chapel was enlarged to the north, and the small church dedicated to St. John the Baptist (Sant Joan Baptista) was added to the rear of the nave. The nave was now facing northeast, with the altar now located at the northeast end.
- During Phase 3, in the early eighteenth century, the side chapels were added. In 1703 was built a baroque chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
|After 1840 the Notre Dame was no longer used as a larger church was built in the castle.|
The church also houses a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, is a Gothic statue of 1.65 m in height. Only those original head and hands, as the statue was dressed and the body was not carved. The current body of the statue was made in 1966 in the Gothic style, with a Madrid sculptor José Rodríguez.
This statue of the Virgin Mary is the center of a miraculous legend of the protection that the sacred image assured the people of Capdepera, commonly called "gabellis". When Capdepera was attacked by Moorish pirates, at the end of the fourteenth century again, residents, refugees in the castle, the Virgin came out of the chapel and placed on the walls. Virgin put a thick blanket of haze over the city and the coast, making it impossible for the success of the attack.
The legend was written down by the Archduke Ludwig Salvator under the title "La oscuridad contra los moros" (Darkness against the Moors). Archduke wrote:
"The Moors were conducting a major attack and would land in Cala Ratjada. The gabellis knew that many came this time and were worried. They invoked the Virgin of Hope, and soon a cloud from the castle spread across the sea as far as the ships of the Moors. And fog once again returned, and up to three times, and they could not land. Gabellis and were extremely grateful to the Virgin of Hope. "
Since this episode, the Virgin is called Virgin of Hope (Verge de l’Esperança) or Our Lady of Hope (Nostra Senyora de l’Esperança / Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza).
|In 1871 the church was formerly dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was dedicated to the Virgin of Hope (Verge of Esperança) venerated in Capdepera since the sixteenth century and patron saint of the city. The castle chapel was therefore named Església Nostra Senyora de l’Esperança, but it is still sometimes called Església de Sant Joan. It is sometimes called the Església de Sa Boira (Church of the Mist). Since 18 December 1893, the population went in procession, each December 18 until the castle chapel.|
During a restoration of the church in the late nineteenth century - beginning of the twentieth century, the flooring was redone in stone slabs, the choir was redesigned and a new parsonage built. In the 1910s to facilitate processions, a wide path less tortuous than the previous one was built along the northwest wall to the church.
Apart from the church, the castle was little used after 1920.
In 1975, a commemorative stone plaque was placed near the chapel to commemorate the Treaty Capdepera.
|On the southeast side of the chapel of Our Lady is a rainwater tank (point 3 of the plan). This tank is one of the oldest buildings of the fortress, dating from the fourteenth century. The small size of the reservoir suggests that the tank has been created only for emergency situations, such as seats. The water was brought to the surface by means of a pulley shaft and a bucket.|
|The Governor’s House (Casa del Governador / Casa del Gobernador)|
|At the time of the Bourbons in the eighteenth century, a group of Dragons was responsible for the defense of the city of Capdepera. It was then that built the Governor’s Mansion, about fifteen meters south of the Tower Miquel Nunis and military barracks (point 6 of the plan).|
The Governor’s House, still intact, now houses the Museum of Basketry (Museu de la Llata) Llata is the craft of palm palmetto, Capdepera very important in the early twentieth century.
|Dwellings (Cases / Casas)|
|The present appearance of the castle has little to do with the original look. The walled city was a maze of narrow streets and small houses, adapted to the specific field where people took refuge during pirate attacks Moorish or Ottoman, especially during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, leaving their lands and goods thank you from the enemy.|
When construction of the fortress was completed in 1386, there were about 70 houses inside the compound and about 200 inhabitants. Some houses were built against the walls or against retaining walls made necessary by the steep terrain.
In the single entrance to the fortress gate, the Portal del Rei Jaume, was added in the early sixteenth century, a second door to the south, the Portalet. Both doors were connected by a road parallel to the southwest wall passed the houses attached to the walls. Other streets have the same east-west climbing gradually to the Torre d’en Miquel Nunis.
At the end of the sixteenth century (1595), the island was subjected to constant landings, assaults, looting and catch the pirates. It was at this time that the castle reached its maximum occupancy: the fortress comprised 150 houses.
When the function of defending the fortress became increasingly obsolete in the late seventeenth century, the inhabitants left the fortified area and gradually moved to the castle, where, gradually developed the modern city. At the end of the eighteenth century, there were only 25 houses within the walls of the fortress and outside, they amounted to more than two hundred.
The exodus of the inhabitants of the castle continued in the nineteenth century: in 1820 there were still 12 houses inhabited by civilians in 1865 only 4 houses.
Maximum of 150 houses of the old fortified village, only a few fragments of houses were discovered during archaeological research, against the southwest wall between the Portalet and Portal del Rei Jaume, one of the houses has been restored.
|Before the conquest of Mallorca by King James I of Aragon, the island was occupied by the Moors, the tenth to twelfth century. At Capdepera, Moors built a watchtower, the current Tour Miquel Nunis to protect farm Benifilia and monitor maritime traffic in the Strait of Menorca.|
|When the Spaniards reconquered the island of Majorca, in 1229, Torre d’en Miquel Nunis was the only existing part of the present castle, they continued to use it as a watchtower.|
In 1231, King Jaume I (1208-1276), Jaume the Conqueror, signed in this tower the Treaty Capdepera with the alguacil of the Muslims who still occupied the island of Menorca.
In 1300 King Jaume II (1243-1311), the third son of Jaume I, ordered by a decree called "Las Ordinacions" it was built twelve villages in Mallorca. One of them was to be located near the "Cap de la Pedra" and became the fortified village of Capdepera. The purpose of the castle and the building of the wall around the watchtower Miquel Nunis was to bring all the people of the region, who lived very dispersed, to control the region and also control the sea routes to the island of Menorca.
The first buildings were built the church and the tank. The wall of the fortress, first without defense towers, was built at the same time as the houses.
However, a large part of the population of the region of Capdepera would not give up their land to live inside the fortified village, due to lack of space and the difficulty of carrying out agricultural activities and animal husbandry, which is why it was ordered all residents to lock armed during the night in the castle to strengthen his defense.
Sancho I (1277-1324) succeeded his father, Jaume II in 1311; Sanç I granted an aid of 100 sueldos (sou, the Latin solidus, Roman currency) to each family who settled in the castle.
The construction of the walls was completed towards the end of the fourteenth century, in 1386, the new town had no more than about fifty houses and 200 inhabitants. The area of the fortress was only about 8 000 m², or one-tenth of the 82,000 m² initially planned.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, in 1595, with the growing threat of pirate raids Ottoman, the population of the region moved to live in the castle, which reached its maximum occupancy, with 150 houses built.
From the seventeenth century, the castle was increasingly depopulated and people settled outside the walls, at the foot of the castle.
After the arrival of the Bourbons to the throne of Spain in 1715, the population of the fortified village is deprived of his arms in defense of the fortress is now provided by a garrison of dragons, professional troopers, a governor appointed, which resides in the Governor’s House, newly built. The villagers gradually leave the safety of the castle walls, and, using the stones of their old homes, build their new homes, more spacious and comfortable, in the modern village of Capdepera. In the late eighteenth century, in 1789, it remains only 25 inhabited houses in the walled and the new village, located outside the walls, already has 208 houses.
From 1820, with the capture of Algiers by the French, the Barbary piracy disappears from the western Mediterranean and the strategic and defensive utility Castle of Capdepera decreases, in 1854, the smallest unit of dragons left the fortress. The fortress has only 12 houses inhabited by civilians.
In 1856, a royal decree declared unnecessary castle. In 1858, Capdepera became an independent municipality. In 1862, the castle was sold at public auction for 4252 pesetas, he becomes the property of Joseph V. Zaforteza. In 1865, there are only four residential houses inside the fortress. The interior of the enclosure is invaded by prickly pear, with some plantations carob, fig and oak trees used by farmers of the owner.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the walled enclosure is uninhabited.
In 1983, the municipality of Capdepera acquired the castle and began its restoration.
|The Medieval Market of Capdepera (Mercat Medieval de Capdepera)|
|Since 2000, to commemorate the founding of the city by King Jaume II in 1300, Capdepera found every third weekend of May, a medieval atmosphere, showing how its inhabitants lived in the Middle Ages. The Medieval Fair (Fira Medieval) is organized in the castle and the whole city is transformed. Residents painted wooden shields with heraldic representation of their surnames and suspend the windows and balconies of their houses, the children make banners that decorate the streets adorned with colored ribbons.|
|Cala Ratjada: Via Mallorca, 36, phone: 00 34 971 563 033|
Capdepera: Carrer Ciutat, 22, phone: 00 34 971 556 479
|Castell de Capdepera.|
Address: Carrer del Castell, s / n
We reached the castle by climbing the steps from the market square, the Plaça de Orient.
Phone: 00 34 971 818 746
Summer hours (from 16 March to 14 October): Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 to 20:00
Winter hours (from 15 October to 15 March): Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 to 17:00
Closed 1st and 6th January.
Medieval castle market: third weekend of May.
Entrance fee: 3 €
Guided tours by appointment.