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A TOUR OF THE SURROUNDING AREA
The municipality of Santanyí has many archaeological sites. Some are on the point of collapse while others have practically disappeared or are located in places where there is difficult access. However, you can admire important and rich remains of the first inhabitants of Mallorca, which constitute great educational visits. In Santanyí you will find artificial and natural caves, burial sites and even fortified settlements. The latter have been thoroughly excavated. Indigenous and Roman pottery, Roman tombstones, small bronze statues, bones, coins and stones with cave engravings have been unearthed in these sites. The three most important sites in Santanyí are es Rafal des Porcs, Son Danús and Ca Jordi.
Es Rafal des Porcs is formed by several sites along the coast which are located in the estate with the same name. The most outstanding element is sa Talaia Grossa, a fortified settlement near the Cave of es Drac. The cave stands out for its underground freshwater lake that was used by prehistoric communities.
Son Danús is formed by a series of Talaiotic buildings, including an outstanding round Talaiot that was declared artistic-historic monument in 1946. It is located by the Palma-Santanyí road.
Son Talaies de Ca Jordi is a fortified Talaiotic settlement with an elliptic ground plan and three remaining sections of wall. It is one of the largest on the island.
The population lived in fear of the constant presence of pirate ships off the coast of Santanyí and numerous defence constructions were built as a result. More than 40 defence structures have been listed, although several structures have already disappeared. The tower is the most common structure and it has a round, square or rectangular ground plan. The towers are located along the coast and they were part of the general defence system of Mallorca. Communications between towers were conducted through bonfire signals to alert of raids.
The most important towers of Santanyí are Torre d’en Beu, in Cala Figuera; Torre Nova de sa Roca Fesa, in Cala Santanyí; and Torre d'en Bassa, in Portopetro. The construction of the former began in 1569 and the latter two date from the 17th century.
The Fort of Cala Llonga
The fort was built in 1740, but 15 years later it was severely damaged by an earthquake. It was rebuilt in 1793. It has a square ground plan and is 26 metres wide. On the side facing the sea there were embrasures housing cannons to repel pirate attacks. On the side facing the land there were numerous loopholes to repel attacks from land.
The Chapel of La Mare de Déu de la Consolació
The chapel was built on the hill of Consolació (205 m). It is a simple construction due to the poverty of the townspeople. The chapel is linked to the tradition of Santanyí, as its inhabitants have always visited the chapel in times of need. Mass is officiated in the chapel on Santa Escolástica Day in February. On the first Sunday of May, mass is officiated and the fruits are blessed in the chapel.
From the chapel you can admire a unique view of the municipality as well as the entire coastline.
The estates of Santanyí were very important until the early 20th century. They were the drivers of the economy as the estates were important centres of production of cereals and livestock. Nowadays, the estates no longer play their traditional role. The most important estate is Son Danús Vell, which was built on the Arab farm of Benilassar. The estate has a 17th century defence tower of rectangular ground plan attached to the houses and a Talaiot of round ground plan by the entrance. In 1289 the Berenguer Danús family is already mentioned as the owner of the estate.
Other important estates of the municipality are Son Danusset, So Danús Nou, Sa Talaiola, És Pujol, Sa Punta, Són Morlà and És Rafal des Porcs.
Mondragó Nature Park
Mondragó was declared Nature Park by the Balearic Government in 1992. It has a total area of 785 hectares (the regional government owns 95 hectares). The park consists of two coves that contain a large variety of ecosystems: beach, rocky coast, dunes, lagoons, scrubland and pine forests, traditional agriculture and a very diverse wildlife. You can access the park via the S'Alqueria Blanca and Cala Figuera roads.
The sea is the main attraction of Mondragó. The parks offers visitors the chance to discover a large number of species, as well as a combination of leisure and relax. Limpets, crabs and sea urchins are visible on the rock platforms. The park also contains specialized species of plants such as the marine fennel. Birds like the red seagull or the cormorant are also very common in Mondragó.
Mondragó has wetlands such as the pools of s'Amarador and Ses Fonts de n'Alís. The scrubland and the pine forest are the largest habitats in the park.
A walk through the park is a perfect introduction to Mallorcan rural architecture, which is a reflection of the different activities that humans have developed in the area throughout the years. Some of the most outstanding elements are the traditional huts, the dry-stone walls and the small docks that were built near the sea to store the boats.