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The principle feature of Valldemosa is without any doubt the spectacular architecture of the Real Cartuja monastery. Following its construction in the 14th Century, this building was home to a small group of Carthusian monks from 1399 until 1835, at which point it was confiscation by the Spanish government and then subsequently sold to private owners.
The monastery has since hosted some important and famous guests; including the Polish composer and pianist Frederick Chopin and his lover, the French writer George Sand. The two, accompanied by their 15 year old son, Maurice, and 10 year old daughter, Solange rented out cells 2 and 4 in the monastery during the winter of 1838/39.
Whilst there, Chopin who was suffering from tuberculosis at the time, composed several Preludes and Sand wrote the fictional book "A Winter in Mallorca". For some strange reason, the book was, up until 1979 banned across the island, however, it is now widely available and easily purchased, and has become an integral part of Majorca’s heritage, in which of course, Valldemosa features heavily.
The rooms they stayed in still house a piano used by Chopin along with the original manuscript of Sand’s book. Chopin famously once described Valldemosa as being "The most beautiful place in the world". The story of the two lovers has become part of the local folklore in the village and Sand’s book is an important part of it’s heritage. The story promotes the villages greatest qualities today; peace, tranquillity and natural beauty.
Almost 200 years since Chopin left Valldemosa, his music is still remembered in the annual Chopin Festival, which was created in 1930 by the celebrated Mallorcan
composer Joan Maria Thomas. Further details of the event can be found at:
El Festival Internacional Chopin de Valldemossa
Claustre de la Cartoixa, núm. 2 - 3
Web site: www.festivalchopin.com
The impact that this area of the island has, and in particular, its natural beauty continues to both surprise, and delight visitors. The Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvator, a distinguished traveller and cultural writer, set about actively promoting the area on account of its unique natural appeal. His legacy is continued to this day by another one of Valldemosa’s famous summer visitors, the Hollywood actor Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta Jones.
Certainly well worth a visit is the Costa Nord cultural centre, which is also home to the Sustainable Foundation of the Balearic Islands. Costa Nord gives visitors
information on the history of the Tramuntana coast and the surrounding environment. As if to give his own personal endorsement to the appeal of the local area,
Douglas himself gives a personal commentary on the visitor audio guides. Refreshments are available in the local bars and cafes near to and within the Costa Nord.
Exhibitions, plays and guided tours are amongst the many attractions offered by the centre. For further information contact details are:
Costa Nord de Valldemossa
Avinguda de Palma 6
Tel: +34 971 612 425
Fax: +34 971 612 410
Web site: www.costanord.es
For visitors that wish to actively pursue their cultural interests whilst in the village, other museums and points of interest are also nearby. The museum of modern art features famed artists such as Piccasso, Miro and Juli Ramis. Furthermore, the pharmacy located within the monastery grounds is extremely interesting and a visit would be very worthwhile.
Valldemossa is also the birthplace of the most venerated saint on the island, Catalina Thomas who was born here in 1531 and subsequently died in Palma some 43 years later in 1574. Following her canonisation in 1930, Santa Catherine Thomas became the patron saint of Valldemossa, and is remember on the 28th of July each year in the "Festes de la Beata". The festivities in her honor are extremely important for the people of Valldemossa, which also attracts hundreds of people to the town from all over the island. The epicenter of the celebration is called the "Carro Triomfal", during which each year one 6 year old girl from the town is chosen to represent Catalina Thomas in a procession through the main streets of the village.
A final point of interest, although possibly not an attraction in itself, refers to the political make up of the municipality. Until very recently, the town's mayor was the only political figure to have remained in office from the times of the Francoist dictatorship. This movement disappeared when the Spanish constitution of 1978 was passed, and thus, the town had, in a small abstract form, one of the last remaining links to bygone eras in Spain’s political past.
For those that wish to explore further a field, the various peaks within the Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range make for rigorous and challenging expeditions. Notable amongst these are the path of the Archduke, which eventually leads to a small village called Deia. Another popular trail is to the summit of the imposing mountain Teix, which is pronounced locally as "tesh", which at 1,062m above sea level is the second highest mountain on Majorca. For those interested in statistics, the highest mountain on the island is the "Puig Mayor", overlooking nearby Soller, at 1,445m above sea level. Should your appetite for exploration still remain unfilled, the Port de Valldemosa with its beach, restaurant and beach bars are also located only a short distance down from the town.
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