TOPONOMY OF THE AREA
The name Alcanada comes from the term al-kaddân, which means white stones, or from the term al-cannada or qanat, meaning canal. The name comes from an ancient Muslim farmstead which, following the Catalan-Aragonese conquest, became the property of Pere Ferrandiz.
From the 14th century the lands and the islet of Alcanada were available for communal use, where the residents could take their animals to graze, collect wood and hunt. Towards the end of the 18th century, when attempts were being made to populate Alcúdia, this land was distributed among the new inhabitants, most of whom came from Menorca.
The former possessió at Alcanada today hosts the facilities of the Alcanada Golf Club.
According to chronicles, Alcanada was the setting for various shipwrecks, such as that of a Swedish boat in the mid 19th century, which was covered in the local press. They described the rescue of its crew by a group of people from Alcudia (known as Alcudienses), who were subsequently rewarded by King Oscar I of Sweden.
In 1933 Menorcan architect Nicolau M. Rubió i Tudurí, designed a summer resort in this idyllic nook. Rubió sought to recreate the perfection of a paradise lost, taking advantage of the local plants, the characteristics of the ground and the Mediterranean expressivity.
Why Som Far?
A lighthouse is a tower located alongside the sea, with a light atop, whose purpose is to guide sailors during the night.
In Majorca 14 lighthouses envelop the coastline of the island. The Alcanada lighthouse sits close to our hotel, located on a small islet.
Life in lighthouses was initially very difficult for the keepers and their families, but it was a very important job that was necessary to prevent accidents and shipwrecks.
The name of our hotel, SOM Far, brings to mind these highly important buildings on our island, which act as a guide for travellers who came to the island in the past and still do today.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Lighthouse of Alcanada
The lighthouse, designed by Emili Pou, was unveiled on 15 May 1861 with a steady light. The ordinariness of life in a lighthouse has varied significantly as the years have gone by, mainly due to the progress of the technology used in nautical lighting. Some of the hardest times were undoubtedly the early years, with extremely demanding postings, and when the keepers and their families had to live in islets so small that in some places, on stormy days, the seawater came crashing in through the windows of the dwellings. As a result of the poor weather, food provisions had to de delayed to agonising limits on many occasions.
Over the years, insulation gradually made life more bearable, due to the addition of elements such as motor boats for journeys to the islets. Thus, in 1866 the boat service was auctioned off, and in 1867 the seafarers stopped living on the island and moved to Puerto de Alcudia, from where they had to make two weekly journeys to the lighthouse, or extra journeys if the lighthouse keepers reported urgent needs by flying a white flag.
In 1960 the lantern was withdrawn and another was installed in its place, which was not subject to visits, since from that moment on the light was switched on automatically by way of a solar valve. It was for this reason that the lighthouse was left with no live-in keepers the following year.
As is the case with many other lighthouses, the Alcanada lighthouse keepers actively took part in saving the lives of the victims of shipwrecks.
Roman city of Pollentia
The arrival of the Romans in 123 B.C. produced the creation of two cities in Majorca: Palma and Pollentia, the former in the west and the latter in the east of the island. Pollentia most probably had a larger surface area and population, and was presumably the capital of the island.
Today it is the island’s primary heritage centre, and large parts of the city still remain buried. Excavations performed over the last sixty years by teams of national and international archaeologists have enabled the meticulous documentation of the historical progress of the city, which runs from 70-80 B.C. to the 7th century, and has brought light to the two highly differentiated construction phases. The first dates to the republican era and the second dates from around the 3rd century A.D. until the 6th century A.D.
The Roman city sits in the La Portella neighbourhood, located in front of the parish church of Sant Jaume de Alcúdia. The route indicated for the visit continues towards the Roman forum before taking visitors to the Roman theatre.
Walls of Alcúdia
Construction of the walls was commissioned by the king of Majorca, Jaume II in 1298, but he did not live to see them completed, since the work lasted until 1362. The purpose of the construction was to protect the inhabitants and also to offer refuge to the inhabitants of nearby villages in the event of attack or invasion.
The works were carried out by the people of Alcúdia themselves and, at certain points, by Genovese prisoners, who were responsible for digging the ditch.
It is an enclosure with a polygonal layout, made from sandstone and joined with mortar, lime and water. The 2 m-high facing was reinforced by 26 towers, each measuring 6 m in height. There were 3 gates: Xara (or Moll), Majorca (or Sant Sebastià) and the Vila Roja gate, now lost.
Located between Alcúdia and Can Picafort, is S’Albufera Natural Park. It gets its name from the Islamic term al-buhayra (meaning lagoon), and stretches over 1,646 hectares, between the municipalities of Muro and Sa Pobla. The area is disconnected from the sea by a strand of dunes. S’Albufera has ancient origins (around 18 million years), but the current wet area was formed less than 100,000 years ago, and its morphology has varied over time. The wet area feeds on the contribution of the streams that flow out in the area, underground up-welling and the intrusion of seawater.
The Balearic Government gave S’Albufera natural park status on 28 January 1988, constituting the first protected natural space in the Balearic Islands.
5 TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALCANADA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
- Visit the Roman city of Pollentia and see the archaeologists at work (in July).
- Discover the Albufera and see some of over 300 species of catalogued birds.
- Visit the local market (Tuesday and Sunday) and marvel at the historical centre of Alcúdia.
- Go on an excursion to the Coll Baix beach or the Talaia de Alcúdia.
- Try the “variat”, a dish with varied tapas, at one of the town’s bars.