Muro: Windmills, beach & nature

The small town of Muro does not, at first view, give the impression that it belongs to one of the richest city councils in Mallorca.  In the municipality, clustered around the town of Sa Pobla are the majority of the windmills on the island.  Only the area that borders the airport of Sant Joan and Llucmajor has a similar concentration.

The basis of this relative well being of “Los Murers” is in its productive agricultural economy.  The Romans planted vineyards, cereal crops and the wheat transported back to Rome was significant.  Under Arab rule, of the Algèbeli, Muro was one of the nine capitals of its provinces.

The Arabs started the drainage and drying of the nearby marshes and till today the fertility of these fields, orchards and gardens allows a triple harvest each year!

The profit from argricultural production at the end of each year meant that Muro along with Sóller, Manacor, Inca, Llucmajor, Pollensa and Valldemossa was counted as amongst the most well of Towns in Mallorca.

Today the problems of the Mallorcan agricultural economy are also evident in the granaries of Mallorca. The crisis in profit margins began in the 1970’s when Mallorca began to import fruit and vegetables from the heavily mechanized agricultural areas of Murcia and Almería.  The policies of the EEC (EU) accelerated the downward trend with larger operations benefiting whilst medium and small sized producers suffered.  Price guarantees and fixed profits for farmers meant that larger farms specialised and increased their machinery and chemical use in the production process; something the smaller farmers could not do and so they were forced to either abandon farming or search for secondary sources of income.

The fact that many “Murers” have turned their backs on the farm has also given rise to the interest in making money in the tourist trade, simpler, faster and more of it.

Another industry in this area, the Mancomunitat de Nord is the mining and cutting of sandstone. Papers in the city archives already document the existence of quarries in the 15th Century.  During the celebration of Saint Anthony, celebrated the 17th of January every year, homage was paid to the stonecutters with the unveiling of a monument dedicated to their work.

The Municipality also contains the beach of the same name Playa de Muro. This tourist centre that stretches for the complete five kilometres of the beach (about half the coast of the bay of Alcudia) has become, over time the principal source of income for Muro.

The natural habitat of S’Albufera has also been preserved.  Many visitors pause in Muro’s restaurants and bars on their way to see the marshes. Dishes such as eel and other fish from the waters of the park are famous, served with distinct spices and delicious trimmings.

In the vast landscape of Muros smooth hills there are 14 “possesiones” Mallorcan estates and houses. The largest of these is Son Perera Vell. The most fantastic story it offers is without a doubt Son Jeroni. It’s builder Guillermo Ballester was taken in like an orphan by a philanthropic foundation.  Here he learnt to read and write and after taking his exams he was accepted into University.  He eventually became a professor at the Capitals University.  The style of construction of Son Jeroni clearly shows Roman elements, its flat tile roof and its terrace.  In the four corners of the balustrade are large statues symbolizing the four seasons each one of which separates the view to Muro.   It is something that the owner of the “posessió” wished to express:  the arrangement of the statues is fascinating.

The town is dominated by its parochial church, an imposing building, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist which was completed in its present form during the years 1570 to 1611.  The bell tower and the nave with its heavy abutments in the form of arches demand respect and humility.

The Ethnological Museum shows us the daily culture of a time when the actual tourists travelled like students.  It opened its doors in 1965 as the Ethnological section of the Museum of Mallorca.