The Sanctuary of Lluc is the religious hub of Mallorca. Its choir school is one of the oldest in the entire world, dating back from the 14th century. Lluc is a place where architect Antoni Gaudí left his mark, and with a wide array of cultural and nature-oriented activities to offer.
The legend of Lluc
The history of Lluc began with the finding of a holy figure on the mountainside.
As you follow the path you will pass the small cemetery (an oasis of peace in the shade of the holm oak trees) and the five stone monuments with three bronze reliefs that represent the mysteries of the Rosary (joy, pain and glory, like life itself!). These are true works of art by the architects Joan Rubió and Guillem Reynés and the sculptor Josep Llimona, supervised by Antoni Gaudi himself.
At the summit, crowned by the sign of the cross, you can rest for a while and enjoy the magnificent view of the valleys of Lluc and Aubarca, the rooftops of the Sanctuary, and the mountains, that in the winter are often covered with snow.
The visit takes between 20 and 30 minutes, and is well worth it. You will undoubtedly meet other tourists and pilgrims who are following the path through stopping to pray as they make the ascent on the slopes.
The church of Lluc
The current church, built in the Renaissance style, was begun in 1622 and finished in 1691 with the completion of the façade. The floor is laid out as a Latin cross with one central nave, and 3 chapels on each side, a barrel vault and a dome at the centre of the cross. The arches and cornices are made of local stone. The high altar is the work of the Maestro Jaume Blanquer with the statue of the Virgin in her central niche which can be rotated. At the start of the 20th century the whole church was decorated in the same Baroque style as the chancel, following the design of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. From this time the interior has appeared to be covered in gold. Once work was completed a dedication service was celebrated by Bishop Pere-Joan Campins on 17th July, 1914. There is a statue to this Bishop, one of the great patrons of the monastery, which was erected in 1920 in front of the main door of the church. Following the Vatican II Council the first chapels on the left were dedicated to the Sacraments (the Baptistery with its gallery of Mallorcan saints, the Chapel of Reconciliation and the Chapel of the Holy of Holies where the Mass is celebrated if the congregation is not large).
Lluc has also received many honours. In 1707 it was given the title of Royal Chapel, by King Charles III of Austria, and in 1962 Pope John XXIII declared it a minor basilica.
The chapel of the Mother of God is accessed via a doorway where the transept crosses the nave. The image of the Moreneta, which is made of painted local sandstone and dates from the 13th – 14th century, was crowned by Bishop Mateu Jaume in the name of Pope Leon XIII on 10th August 1884. The chapel was renovated by the architect J Ferragut in 1962. Two paintings by the artist Salvador Torres recall the legend of the discovery of the statue, and the shields of all 53 towns of Mallorca pay homage to the Patron of the island. The Ave Maria in 7 languages underlines the ecumenical spirit, and many pilgrims write their resolutions in the Book of Prayers.
Ethnological museum of Lluc
The museum is located on the first and second floors of the main building of the Sanctuary, over looking the interior patio know as the Jardí de les Magnòlies (The Magnolia Garden) and the patio of Bishop Campins.
It was inaugurated in 1952 with an archaeological collection and a display of the gifts offered to the Virgin over the centuries. In 1971 don Antoni Mulet i Gomila donated his collections from CaŽn Mulet in Génova to the Museum, which included local costumes, pottery, religious images, traditional furniture, jewellery and paintings.
In 1984, with the celebration of the centenary of the Coronation of the Virgin the museum expanded with the addition of a considerable acquisition of modern art and sculpture, which was further extended to include rooms dedicated to the work of Josep Coll Bardolet who made 2 donations of his works in 1989 and 1995.
The Collection Bujosa Rosselló was created in 2004 to display Mallorcan textiles, as well as the objects and machinery from this family firm.
The Museum consists of 8 rooms: Archaeology (Room 1), Treasury (Room 2), Mallorcan Chamber (Room 3), Sacred Imagery (Room 4), Ceramics (Room 5), Josep Coll Bardolet (Room 6), Art Gallery (Room 7) and Textiles (Room 8).
Passing through the archway at the side of Ses Mides at about 70 metres from the Plaza of the Pilgrims you will find a bridge leading towards the interior of the Sanctuary. Here you will find a sign pointing to the Botanical Garden. The garden was first laid out in 1956 when it was reserved for the use of the religious community and was made up of indigenous plants.
Due to the demand from visitors, between 1993 and 2001 Brother Macià Ripoll expanded and redesigned the garden, helped by some former blauets and friends of the Sanctuary. Currently there are examples of around 200 plants from the Balearics, and wherever possible, wild plants are shown in a natural setting. There is also an area dedicated to aromatic and medicinal plants from Mallorca and a display of the most ancient varieties of fruit trees from the island, especially those found in the great estates (possesions) of the mountains.
A recent addition is the Arboretum, dedicated to trees and bushes from the Iberian Peninsula and other countries, where a monument was erected in 2009 to Fr Francesc Bonafé, MSSCC, botanist, poet and a great friend of Lluc.