Porreres, 2nd largest municipality

 

Porreres is situated in the south of the Mallorcan plain or Pla. Its 4500 inhabitants live in an area of 86 square kilometres, which is the second largest municipality of the Balearic Islands after Algaida.

The Pla has always been considered the breadbasket of Mallorca. Successive invaders who settled on Mallorca valued the fertile plain and used it for growing agricultural products. The reddish hue of the earth, produced by deposits of iron oxide, gives the landscape a warm glow.

The fertile wealth of this land of shades, ranging from dull to bright red, has been known since early times. Balanced farming methods were practised and the diversity of the farming was always a priority so many different types of crops and cereals were cultivated. Farmers also managed to increase the fertility of the soil by changing the fruits grown and by diligent weeding. Today they continue to combine growing cereal with almond trees, carob trees and fig trees.

Porreres has also made a name for itself as a wine producing area, and since the Arabs planted apricots in large numbers in the early tenth century, Porreres has become the centre of albarcoc. This type of stone fruit has its origins in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and was also known by the Romans, however the grandeur of the Roman Empire favoured larger fruits like peaches which looked better on silver platters than the smaller apricots. The Romans treated the velvet-skinned apricots as if they were failed peaches and therefore were never good enough to be a chosen delicacy.

As often happens in Mallorca, the detailed description of the story begins in Porreres with the Christian conquest. Some traces of early human occupation still exist in the form of talaiots, or have been left from prehistoric times.

The time of Roman rule is documented by the stones, discovered in the nineteenth century. In the Arab period the town belonged to the Manqur district, which also included Manacor, Felanitx and part of the present areas of Campos and Santanyi. The public fountains are a testimony to the presence of the Arab occupants. The current apricot plantations, which had already been planted in large part by the Arabs, were not worth mentioning by Western historians.

During the rule of King James I, the land of Porreres was given to Count Nuño Sanç, one of the kings loyal servants. After his death, King James II became the new owner, who in the fourteenth century declared all the land as a municipality. The name Porreres comes from the knight Guillem Porrera, who took part in the conquest of Mallorca.

Porreres has many interesting sights of interest. In the town centre there is the stunning church of La Mare de Deu de la Consolació, documented in 1277. A bell tower was added to the side in the 17th century. The nave with its domed roof is the widest on the island. In the sacristy ecclesiastical treasures of great value are kept safe.