Sant Llorenç des Cardassar
The municipal area of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar covers 82.1 square kilometres and has a population of 8,700. It is in the northeastern part of the island of Mallorca and is made up of two inland localities, Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Son Carrió, as well as the holiday resorts of S’Illot, Sa Coma and Cala Millor.
The municipality has more than 70 catalogued archaeological sites, including caves that were lived in or used as burial sites by the Talayotic peoples.
Of particular note from the Roman era is the early Christian basilica of Son Peretó and the vestiges of the Arab domination (10th to early 13th century) are found in the place names.
Before the Catalan conquest, Sant Llorenç had a scattered population near the torrents, wells and the hill on which the village church was built. With the arrival of the Catalans and the Aragonese and the expulsion of the Arabs, Sant Llorenç des Cardassar became an urban centre administered by Manacor.
A 1248 Papal bull issued by Pope Innocence IV refers to the parish church of Santa María del Bellver, where St Lawrence was venerated; for many years, the village was known as Santa Maria de Bellver or simply Bellver. Nevertheless, it is also documented as Sant Llorenç de Bellver (1349) and Sant Llorenç des Cardassar (1519). In 1612, faced with insecurity along the coast and constant pirate attacks from the sea, the Gran i General Consell ordered the building of a fortress on Punta de n’Amer –known as the Castle of Sa Punta de n’Amer– over the remains of an earlier fortification.
In 1892 Sant Llorenç des Cardassar attained independence from the municipality of Manacor and in the same year its jurisdiction was extended inland to Son Carrió and on the coast to Cala Millor, Sa Coma and S’Illot.
In 1948 authorisation was granted to parcel out the area of Ca n’Amer in S’Illot and it was not long before the resort areas began to develop rapidly. Traditional embroidery and a small carpentry industry combined with farming and stockbreeding until the 1960s, when tourism began to attract major investment. In just a few years the economy changed from the primary to the tertiary sector, with the latter being now the most representative of local industry. The municipality has adapted to these changes by creating the infrastructure needed for the tourism industry, including accommodation, restaurants, transportation and shops.
The first vestiges of human habitation in Son Servera date to prehistoric times. These original inhabitants probably came from Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and Occitania, territories archaeologically similar to Mallorca, and they were probably related to the prehistoric Greek Indo-European cultures that reached these islands, particularly Mallorca and Menorca.
There are more than 40 important settlements preserved in Son Servera from this pre-Talayotic and Talayotic period. They include the pre-Talayotic caves on the Son Sard estate and Talayotic archaeological sites with numerous navetes, talaiots and fortifications, which were normally built on hills or at a certain height. Good examples can be seen at Pula, Son Gener and Sa Pleta.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the islands were conquered several different times. Attackers ranged from the Vandals and other Germanic tribes to the eastern Roman Empire, according to the chronicles of the time and the remains of Byzantine temples found near Son Servera and Sant Llorenç.
Later, following the fall of the Visigothic kingdom on the mainland, the Arabs came to Mallorca in the 10th century. The area’s Arab population was spread out across various farms and estates, such as Ferret, Es Canal, Sa Penya Roja, Son Comparet, Ca s’Hereu and Son Floriana, all linked to the domain of Artà (Iartan) and the Muslim Quinena family. As theirs was a rural population living in scattered farms, they left very few traces, although there is evidence of them, for example, at S’hort Tancat, La Font de Sa Jordana and the water mills of Son Sard and Son Comparet. In fact, they stayed until the early 13th century, specifically until the year 1229, when Mallorca and subsequently the other Balearic islands were conquered by the Kingdom of Aragon. Following the conquest of Mallorca by King Jaume I and the expulsion of the Arabs, the island was shared out among the nobles and ecclesiastical authorities who had taken part in or supported the conquest. They were mainly Catalans, but also some from Aragon and other parts, including Occitanians and Italians.
The present-day counties of Son Servera and Artà were allocated to the citizens and knights of Marseilles who had participated in the conquest. These were properties in the Iartan (Artà) area –those that had been in the possession of the previously mentioned Benu-Quinena family– and part was also given to the monks of St George, now the possesió or estate of Sant Jordi.
This new dispersed population structure established in the 13th century was maintained for some two hundred years, without any town or village of any note being built, although the Ordinacions of the year 1300 tell us of the establishment of a ‘town at the Port of Banyeres’, probably the present-day Port Vell. However, no traces remain of those buildings if they were ever built.
The Servera family, originally from the Mallorcan locality of Porreres, purchased a large part of the three Binicanella farms in the 14th century, although the county continued to be administered from Artà. In the late 15th century, following the dividing up of the Cervera (or Servera) family lands, Binicanella became the nucleus of the present-day town and a defensive tower was built to protect against Saracen incursions. Today this tower is in the centre of Son Servera and is the tower of the vicarage in the town church between the two parts of the farm, Son Garí to the north and Ca s’Hereu to the south, both owned by the Servera family.
Over the years the family lands were divided up among its members. By the 16th century there were houses at Ca s’Hereu and we know holy masses were held in the tower in the centre of the village, which means there must have been houses and a stable population in the area.
In the late 17th century debts caused the Servera family to lose most or all of its lands and they were confiscated and put up for sale by Artà town council. Having failed to find buyers immediately, the governors of Artà (known as the Universidat) took possession of the Servera family houses and lands and sold them with certain conditions, including that no purchaser could acquire more than four quarterades (a quarterada is the equivalent of approximately 7000 square metres) and that buyers had to be residents of Artà.
In the final years of the 17th century we have documentary evidence of several dozen houses with corrals along a public road that began at the tower on the lands of Ca s’Hereu and roughly followed the route of the present-day Doctor Servera Street.
The urban centre of Servera began to grow considerably, still under the auspices of Artà town council. Finally, in the 19th century, following various legal changes in which Son Servera successively became an independent municipality or returned to the jurisdiction of Artà, in 1820 it gained its own independent town council. At that time nearly 2,000 people lived in the town and on the scattered farms, despite the fact that the population had been considerably reduced by several epidemics.
The 20th century saw a major change in Son Servera’s economy. It went from a basically agricultural and stockbreeding –and to a lesser extent fishing– area, to become one of the main holiday and tourism centres of the island.
The development of Cala Millor, now one of Mallorca’s best known holiday resorts, began in the late 1950s and it has not stopped growing since.
It has passed through all the stages of the history of tourism in Mallorca. In the 1960s, when the first hotels –the Eureka and the Sabina– were built, there were only a few single-storey houses and several hotels under construction. Later it went through the urban development boom in the late 1960s and 1970s; it weathered the crisis of the 1980s and moved on to the reconversion, embellishment and quality improvement plans of the 1990s. Today the tendency is to commit to sustainable tourism.
Cala Millor is a sun and beach destination. Its main attractions are the beaches of fine, white sand, transparent blue bathing waters and protected nature areas. It also offers a wide variety of accommodation and complementary services that give our visitors wonderful, top quality holidays in a new way of understanding tourism.
Sa Coma was conceived as a holiday resort in the 1980s, when the first hotels, apartments and holiday homes were built. Since then it has seen controlled growth under an urban plan based on the proliferation of green zones, leisure areas and protected nature zones, such as Sa Punta de n’Amer, a Nature Area of Special Interest (ANEI) and one of the most valuable nature areas on the coastline. This natural area also has many historical vestiges. Near the sea we find Sa Pedrera (the remains of a quarry where the sedimentary rock known as mares was extracted), further inland we find the Castell (Castle), a vestige of the defences built by our ancestors, and somewhat farther inland, the archaeological remains of the Talayotic peoples who populated this area during prehistory.
Our prehistoric ancestors had already found in S’Illot the perfect spot to build one of the main Talayotic settlements on the island of Mallorca. It is considered to be one of the most important Talayotic and post-Talayotic archaeological sites, due to its monumental variety and long, complex historical evolution. The settlement is made up of different complexes with communal buildings around which were built the houses the people lived in. An extensive stretch of the wall that originally surrounded the whole settlement is preserved. It has recently been restored with its value as a tourist attraction in mind. There is an interpretation centre and various itineraries to help visitors understand the site.
In 1964 the first two hotels were built on the beach at S’Illot, next to the torrent that runs down from the Calicant Mountains, passing though Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Son Carrió on its way to the sea. Since then it has continued to grow as a resort with more hotels, apartments and services to meet the demand from visitors.
The mid-19th century in the municipal area of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar saw a process in which the large rural estates were broken up into smaller farms, following a general trend on the rest of the island. In 1860 a large part of the estate known as Son Carrió was divided into small properties that were purchased by residents of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Manacor.
In the period between 1885 and 1893 the subdivision of the estates of Son Tovell, Sa Gruta, Es Rafal de Sa Riba, Son Berga, Es Molinet, Es Boscarró, and many others led to a considerable increase in the population. In Son Carrió rustic land was rapidly reclassified as suitable for building, opening it up for development.
In 1879 the village of Sant Miguel –as Son Carrió was known then– consisted of three longitudinal and four transversal streets, not a great deal different to those we know today.
In 1866 the donation by Joan Lliteres Llull of a plot of land next to his shop on which to build a church for the growing village and the arrival of Franciscan nuns in 1899 were major factors that accelerated its growth into the town we know today.
The new parish church of Sant Miquel is a Catholic place of worship whose construction began in 1899. The design was based on plans sketched out by Monsignor Antoni Maria Alcover, revised by Joan Guasp and modified slightly by the Catalan architects Antoni Gaudí and Joan Rubió. It was inaugurated in 1907. Its most striking features are the Neo-Romanesque-style façade, the fan-shaped rose window and the four-storey bell tower. The buildings at the rear –the vicarage and the former Franciscan convent– were built in the same style.