Santa Margalida: Talaiots & More

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Some of the first settlers to ever to make Mallorca their home arrived on the north coast of the island thousands of years ago and discovered a place where it was possible to survive.

It is thought that they lived in caves and the talaiots that we can still see today were built as funeral monuments for the dead.

The talaiots are huge on the outside and tiny on the inside. These stone monuments were always built at places that were of strategic importance to the people of that time, as anyone who has climbed up the huge stone edifices will appreciate.

In the north and northwest of Mallorca there are many sites of archaeological interest. In the town of Santa María, there are 153 excavations which are evidence of that this region had been inhabited from time immemorial.

Although the town is located at 10 kilometres from the coast, it has its own beach: the beach of Santa Margalida, situated at the touristic area of Ca’n Picafort, in the bay of  Alcudia. Son Serra de Marina also belongs to this municipality. Nowadays, this small city has 4500 inhabitants who are called santamargaliders.

The first time that the parish church of Santa Margalida appeared in the archives was in 1232 but that was destroyed by fire in the 14th century. After that, no reconstruction took place until the 18th century and the church has stayed more or less the same since then.

The church is devoted to Santa Margarita, whose legend if comparable to the one of Sherezade, from A Thousand and One Nights. The beginnings and setting of the legend date back to Arab times

The troubadours who came from the east told the tale of an  innocent and charming princess who fell prey to a dragon. With the magic of her beautiful eyes, she was able to tame the beast and turn him into a faithful lapdog. The Christian conquerors gave her name to this beautiful place and the princess and the Mallorcan saint Catalina Tomás have been venerated as patrons of the town by the santamargaliders since ancient times.

In the 17th century, Mallorca was hit by famine and chaos. The Catholic clergy sided with the nobility and together they tried to prevent economic and social change.

One of the nobles was Count Ramón Zaforteza, from Santa Margalida, whose palace is located in front of the parish church. His aim was to impose his feudal rights through massive reprisals against the people, who were trying to reassert their rights through legal means and the courts. However, the count used inimidation by hiring murderers frighten the inhabitants of Santa Margalida.

In November, 1647, the situation came to a head. A respected and honourable representative of Santa Margalida, Baltasar Calafat, was killed on the threshold of his house by the counts death squad. Calafat had fought to defend civil rights and paid for his resistance against the feudal powers with his life. The citizens were so outraged and angry about the death of Calafat that the count, fearing reprisals and revenge, had to flee to his isolated estate at the foot of the Galtazo mountain.

The legend says that even today, the restless spirit of Count Mal still roves the the summit of the mount Galatzó causing fear and mischief..

Santa Margalida has always been a prosperous town. The viewpoint behind the church offers a panoramic view of the pastures where crops have always been abundant and their grain has brought wealth to the citizens. It is a wide landscape of rolling hills which seemlessly blend with the plain of Mallorca. To this day this region still continues to be “the granary” or grainhouse of the island and is one of the wealthiest areas of Mallorca.

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