SANTUARI DE CURA
Santuari de Nostra Senyora de Cura – often referred to as just Cura – is one of the most famous monasteries in all of Mallorca. Together with Santuari de Lluc and Santuari de Sant Salvador, Cura is one of the absolute must-see monasteries on the island.
Cura is located at the top of the Randa mountain, at a height of 543 meters, which is also the highest point in the Es Pla region. At the same time, Randa is considered the most important sacred mountain in the Balearic Islands, as it was here the famous philosopher Ramón Llull received his revelation. Here on the mountain Randa, there are also two other monasteries, Nostra Senyora de Gracia and Nostra Senyora de Honorat. The first is very scenic, as the monastery is built into the mountain wall and also offers great views of Mallorca’s southern part from its position.
History of Cura
Cura was mentioned for the first time afterthe Catalan conquest of Mallorca, around 1231. However, there has been human occupation up here since prehistoric times, this is evidenced in the site of Coco del Corb, which is found not far from Cura itself. There has also been found remains of a former Moorish temple or fortress up here, which again highlights the importance of the Randa mountain.
As mentioned earlier, philosopher Ramon Llull (1232 – 1316) received his revelation up here, that he wrote in his book “Vida Coetania”, which by the way was the first book ever written in the Catalan language.
Llull began his mission to convert heathens, a mission that would later lead to the death of him. He grew up in a community in Mallorca where Jews, Christians and Moors lived in coexistence, and many of his philosophies empathized reconciliation and blending the three faiths. His views and innovative ways has, and still does, caused much debate, but also inspiration to many people.
Throughout the second half of the 14th century, Randa consolidated itself as a sanctuary, a place of veneration and contemplation. Following the death of Llull in 1316, his apprentices continued bringing his ideas to life based on his philosophies. They founded a small hermitage up here, the first building on this site, from which they could live, study and practice their religion. Already in 1394, the bishop of Mallorca, Luis de Prades, officially authorized the hermits to form a small community here.
In the period between the 15th and 17th century, the small hermitage developed into a regular sanctuary and a chapel was erected dedicated to Nostra Senyora de Cura (Our Lady of Care), which was based on a small sculpture that was brought here.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, a grammar school was inaugurated and established next to the chapel, which soon grew and became one of three major grammar schools in Mallorca governed by the Great Council.
Cura became synonymous with three things; devotion to Mary, devotion to Llull and education.
As the farming community evolved, the congregation grew simultaneously. Cura’s location in the Es Pla region, which has been heavily predominated by agriculture since the Middle Ages, led to a long tradition of religious ceremonies and blessings of land and fruits. These ceremonies are documented all the way back to the 16th century.
When the grammar school closed in 1830, a long period of decay and decline in religious ceremonies entered. Cura seemed abandoned and lost. But, in 1913, Bishop Pere Joan Campins decided to restore Cura, and once again make it an important place of veneration and contemplation. Thus, he assigned the task to the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Assisi, who the past century has been taking care of this place and been responsible for its modernization.
In 1955, the small sculpture of Nostra Senyora de Cura was officially canonized at a ceremony.
What to experience at Cura
There is a great range of things you should see when visiting the sanctuary.
The museum of Cura is situated in the building of the former grammar school, where pupils received education in grammar, rhetoric and Greek. In 1588, about 160 pupils lived at Cura.
Inside the museum you can discover original furniture and items from the school, as well as religious paintings, articles and books.
One of the absolute highlights of the museum, is the chamber dedicated to Llull, where you will get a much better impression of this historically important character.
This chapel was the last of many that has been erected at Cura. Inscriptions dating from 1662, 1668 and 1710 indicate that the chapel has been expanded in several phases.
As you enter the chapel, notice the beautiful manger commemorating the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which Saint Francis celebrated in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Also, notice the anagram of ‘Ave Maria’, Llull’s coat of arms and the crest of the Franciscan order.
Finally, of course, the statue of Mary exhibited behind the altar. The statue is made of stone from Santanyí, and dates from around 1510.
There is a mass every Sunday at 12:00.
The vantage points
Cura is situated at an altitude of impressive 543 meter, allowing for a breathtaking and magnificent panoramic view. On clear days, you can easily see the islands of Cabrera and Ibiza to the south.
Looking west, you can enjoy the fantastic views of the bay of Palma with the Tramuntana range rising in the background.
To the north you can enjoy the views of the rural plain landscapes of Mallorca, with the many small villages scattered all over like a mosaic.
How to get to Santuari de Cura
Algaida is a typical rural area found in the most southern part of the region called “es Pla de Mallorca”, a place where agricultural traditions are still commemorated in the local spirit. Algaida is, however, also a place of great diversity, both in its landscapes and when it comes to the things you can do here. There are a bunch of local points of interest to see such as the parish church of Sant Pere i Sant Pau, the old stone croosses in the streets, the famous Cura sanctuary, the Xina windmill and the medieval chapel of Castellitx built immediately after the Catalan conquest of the island. But there is also the famous Gordiola glass factory and the Modelmon interior design showroom. Algaida also celebrates its traditions several times a year with entertaining festivals in the town, absolutely worth attending for a cultural input.