Castell de Santueri

Mallorca

The rocky castles of Mallorca

The rocky castles are characterized, as its name suggests, to be located in high areas of difficult access where the ramparts are adapted to the rugged terrain, and the cliffs are part of the defensive system. They aren't usual castles, but fortresses that, by its special geographical position, became military support while acting as a refuge for the defenseless population.In Mallorca there are three rocky castles: the Castle of the King in Pollença, Alaró Castle and Santueri Castle  in Felanitx. 

The three rocky castles Mallorca were not great medieval fortresses, castles of the nobility of the way they portray the novels of Walter Scott and the cinema. Were only shelters, defended only by artificial works, by the very nature. Only in those areas where the rock on which rise could allow the passage of the enemy, were built walls, towers and gates defended battlements, rakes, etc. [ref 27].

Although they all have specific solutions tailored to the characteristics of each site, respond to the same pattern: highly defensive space combined with a major hydraulic system, a chapel and storage areas. 

Despite in none of them a program of archaeological excavations has been done, we know that all three were used as a refuge by communities in the  Late Roman Period before the Muslim conquest and, later, by the Muslims during the conquest of James I in 1229, but quickly fell into Christian hands, around the 1231. From that moment, they became royal castles owned by the King and the Government, except the Santueri Castle which, due to some agreements prior to the conquest, became owned  to the Knight Nunyo Sanç until his death and, thereafter, the castle acquired the same category than the other two. 

These fortresses were in operation throughout medieval times acting in different conflicts and defending the coast against possible pirate attacks. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the castles lost its defensive role since changes in weapons favour new kinds of buildings, and these fortifications are degraded. In 1715 the King's Castle and the Castle of Alaró are abandoned, the latter maintaining a garrison until 1741, although it was over a century that it was destined as oratory. 

The Alaró Castle belongs to the Ministry of Culture of Spain, while the Castle of the King and the Santueri Castle are privately owned.

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