TOPONOMY OF THE AREA
The municipality of Maria de la Salut, located between the municipalities of Santa Margalida, Muro, Llubí, Sineu and Ariany, covers 30 km2 and has a population of 2,073 inhabitants, called Mariers or Mariandos.
The municipality’s original name, Maria, comes from a Moorish farmstead first documented as a land grant in 1259. Regarding the etymology of the word, the most widely-accepted theory comes from Joan Coromines, who believes that the name comes from an Arabic word meaning “to see, to look”.
The municipality of Maria de la Salut had already been populated in prehistoric times, evidence for which can be seen at various archaeological sites, including two burial caves located in Montblanc. It is highly probable that some possessions, a type of rural homestead, including Es Pujol and Deulosal stand above Talayotic period remains. Archaeological remains from the Roman and Islamic eras have also been found, which give us an idea of the area’s intense occupation throughout its history.
After the Conquest of James I (1229), the lands of Maria de la Salut were integrated into the parish church of Santa Margalida, forming the Maria farmstead. There was a sharp rise in the population from the 16th century, giving rise to the construction of a new chapel, which was subsequently extended.
A process to separate the municipality of Maria de la Salut from the municipality of Santa Margalida began at the end of the 19th century, but this was not implemented until 1836.
Why Som Central?
The name SOM Central is a tribute to the establishment previously located in the same building, Bar Central, run by Francesc Cañelles Oliver between 1947 and 1953. Because numerous objects from the old establishment have been painstakingly restored and recovered, this name is a reference to both the previous owners and tenants and to all the Mariandos, or residents of the island, who have passed through this establishment for generations.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Parish Church of Maria
The first evidence of Maria church dates to 1592, when an oratory was built at the Son Puig estate, on a small hill. According to historians, this little chapel may coincide with the current vestry.
In the 18th century, as a result of strong population growth, a new church had to be build, which was completed in 1786. Large-scale expansion was undertaken between 1856 and 1881 (resulting from a new population growth).
The church’s exterior is most notable for its belfry, with a square shape and crowned with an octagonal bulb-shape feature, which is reminiscent of oriental designs.
The interior of the church has six side chapels and it is covered with a barrel vault. It features a baroque main altarpiece from the end of the 18th century, presided over by an image of the Virgen de la Salud [Our Virgin of Health] (first half of the 17th century), installed in a revolving niche, which means she can be worshipped through the rear alcove (dated to 1928).
Ca l’Amo in Gaspar (Plaça de Dalt, 11)
The building, located close to the parish church, is currently used by the council for cultural events. The doorway features a Roman-arch with keystones at the top of three steps. It also boasts a splayed window. The renovated interior conserves some traditional elements.
Escola de baix or Escola de nines
The Escola de Nines dates to 1928, according to the plans of the architect Guillem Forteza, and is a regionalist-style building, constructed with the backing of Antoni Lluc Monjo Bunyola. The single-storey building is structured around a patio with a well, which is accessed through a Roman-arch doorway, protected by a porch held up by two columns and two Ionic pilasters.
Molí d’en Blai (C / Major, 63)
A flour windmill that dates to the 17th century. The house and store can be accessed on calle Major, and feature a simple façade that is notable for its Roman-arch doorway, which sits above steps to compensate for the natural unevenness of the ground. The spiral staircase of the interior of the cylindrical tower remains intact. It also features an exterior stairway leading to the windmill terrace.
5 TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MARIA DE LA SALUT AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
- Try “palo con sifón” (palo and soda) in a café in the town.
- Taste Ralf beer (Maria de la Salut).
- Visit Sineu market (Wednesday) and eat a dish of frit mallorquí at Can Font.
- Visit the Els Calderers estate (Sant Joan).
- Walk along the trails of Pla de Mallorca in the winter (January, early February) and take in the almond blossom.