The town of Pollensa (in Majorcan Pollença) is home to “Puig de Maria” a mountain 330 metres above sea level, with fantastic views over the bays of Pollensa and Alcúdia and the Serra de Tramuntana. At the summit of the mountain there is a sanctuary that was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, construction began in 1348, as a means of pleading for protection from the Black Death that was ravaging Mallorca.
According to legend, there were three devout women from Pollença, known as “les dones de Can Sales” (the women of Can Sales). They had withdrawn from the world to lead a contemplative life close to this mountain and they observed a surprising phenomenon. At sunset, the Puig mountain in front of them, was crowned with a mysterious light, and the glow was most intense each Saturday, the day especially devoted to the Virgin. The news spread among the townsfolk, who led a procession to the site and discovered an image of the Virgin. When they wanted to take it down to the parish church, the stone figure mysteriously grew heavier when they wanted to take it down and it became lighter when they went to put it back up. The people of Pollença thus understood that the Virgin wished to have the sanctuary right there. Shortly afterwards, the three women moved to Puig and formed a small cloistered congregation with other sisters.
Throughout history, the Puig de Maria has been home to different congregations of nuns and hermits. In 1968 the last group of nuns settled there, and in 1988 they were forced to leave due to a lack of resources.
Their first building was a chapel where Gothic architecture takes precedence, with a basilica ground plan, including a vault with pointed arches and side chapels where the image of the Virgin Mary is kept. The sanctuary was gradually extended over time and walls and a defence tower were built around it. The tower was used to keep watch for possible invasions that could come from the sea.
At present, the sanctuary houses an accommodation area, with rooms for 2 to 8 people, which were previously the cells of the nuns, a restaurant with excellent Mallorcan food at a good price such as “pa amb oli” (bread with olive oil), “arròs brut” (´dirty rice´ with meat and vegetables), “paella” etc., an indoor dining room for those that bring their own food and a wood-fired oven for those that wish to use it. Outside, there is a barbecue area for those that wish to prepare their own meat, and visitors can purchase wood and coal.
An outing to Puig de Maria is an ideal excursion to do with family or friends. There is a single path therefore you cannot get lost. Its duration is no longer than an hour and the climb is approximately 330 metres. Throughout the climb, you will walk in beautiful landscapes through holm-oak groves and on the stony path that leads to the summit you will find two must-see sites, the well-known “cova del dimoni” (the devil´s cave) and a small seat-shaped cavity in the rock known as “La Cadireta del Bon Jesús”, according to legend pregnant women who sit there will have a happy childbirth.
On Easter Monday, it is a tradition among locals to go on an excursion up Puig de Maria and enjoy Mallorcan delicacies typically eaten at Easter, such as “panades” (meat empanadas) and robiols (sweet empanadillas)
In the area around Puig de Maria there are a substantial number of beautiful estates/country houses, offering fantastic views and true privacy.
Engel & Völkers holds some of these marvellous properties in its portfolio: estates, villas and chalets close to Pollença.