Castell d’Alaró

medieval fortress and castle castell alaro in the mountains in mallorca
About

The Alaró castle is located at the mountaintop of Puig de Alaró in 815 meters height. The castle is one of three rocky castles in Mallorca, along with Castell del Rei (Pollenca) and Castell de Santueri (Felanitx). Just like the other two, the Alaró castle is not a real castle in its most popular understanding, but a fortress built for people to take refuge during times of war.

 

History of the Alaró castle

The first documentation of the fortress dates from the Moorish occupation of Mallorca (902-1231), from the chronicles of Kitab tarih Mayurqa where it is referred to as ‘Hisn Alarün’.

In September, 1229, King Jaume I of Aragón landed at the shores of Santa Ponca with 150 ships prepared to conquer the capital of Madina Mayurqua. About 15 – 20,000 Moors fled from the capital to the mountains, including the Alaró castle where they retrenched themselves. The king returned to the island again the following year, but it was not until 1231 that the Catalan troops were able to call themselves victorious. It is said that the Alaró castle was never really penetrated, that the Moorish population living here had to surrender due to exhaustion and lack of supplies.

In 1285, when Mallorca had been declared a private kingdom and separated from the Crown of Aragón, Alonso III of Aragón el Liberal, made an attempt to reconquer the island and annex it back into the Crown of Aragón. The campaign was no success and his occupation of the island is barely mentioned anywhere, except in the history book of Alaró. In the Alaró castle, the two captains, Guillem Cabrit and Guillem Bassa, heroically fought the Aragonese troops in order to defend their king, Jaume II of Mallorca. The two captains and their men lost the battle, and were burned in the aquare of Lledoner de los Damunt, now renamed to Placa Cabrit i Bassa to commemorate the two local heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect the kingdom.

During the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, the Alaró castle gradually fell into a state of decay as there was no use for it.  In 1622, local rector Joan Coll took initiative to erect a small chapel inside the walls of the fortress in appreciation of rain after a very long period of drought. This chapel was dedicated to Mare de Deu del Refugi d’Alaró, the protector of the martyrs Cabrit and Bassa. Inside the chapel you will find a range of beautiful religious artworks, including a Baroque altarpiece of the Virgin Mary.Also notice the painted walls made by Italian artist Antonio Soldati.

The last military garrison closed in 1741.

 

Events at the Alaró castle

There are three annual expeditions to the Alaró castle; two during Easter and one in September.

The first Sunday after Easter there is a community climb to the castle to celebrate the angel.

The day following Easter, there is a huge community walk and lunch at the castle. People bring all their leftover food from Easter and share it.

The first Sunday of September, the birth of the Virgin Mary is celebrated with a big lunch at the castle.

Where

Get directions to Castell d’Alaró

Alaró is located in a beautiful green valley protected by two rocky mountaintops shaping an entrance to the area. Alaró is popular among a vast audience due to its fantastic location between mountains and infrastructure, making it easy to have any kind of vacation you could desire. There are a number of interesting points of interest to discover in Alaró, such as the rocky castle of Castell d’Alaró, the Sant Bartomeu parish church, the first electricity tower of the island, the buildings of Son Guitard, Sa Bastia, Casa de la Vila and Can Jaumico, all evidencing the rich cultural heritage that makes Alaró worth visiting.

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