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The Regional Museum of Arta is well worth a visit. It was founded in 1927 by a group of scholars from the town who were committed
to the study of the cultural, historical and archaeological features of the region. The museum is split into three distinct areas:
an ethnological section which displays diverse objects such as Majorcan textiles, implements for spinning,
and an extensive collection of articles made out of palm fibre; the natural history section, which has displays of birds, insects, and fossils etc,
and the archaeological section - with displays of pottery, bronze, iron, and bone from different periods of Majorcan prehistory.
Many of the exhibits on show have either been donated from private collections, or were found during archaeological digs that the museum
has carried out over the years. Contact details for more information are:
The Regional Museum of Arta Foundation
Calle de l'Estel 4
Tel: +34 971 829 778
A visit to the Cave of Arta is another must. The entrance to the cave is set into a cliff face and has spectacular views over the sea. Many famous people have visited in the past and left their signature in the guest book in the entrance - these include the writers Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas and the actress Sarah Bernhardt.
The most famous feature of the caves is the impressive 22m ‘Palm Trunk’ stalagmite - it was widely reported that in 1941 the British Museum
was so impressed by the stalagmite that it tried to buy it for £25,000! The caves are open throughout the year from 10am each day,
and a guided tour is available, with commentaries in Spanish, French, English and German, which normally last between 25 and 40 minutes.
For more information and admission prices contact details for the caves are:
Cuevas de Arta
Carretera de las Cuevas
Tel: +34 971 841 293
Web site: www.cuevasdearta.com
However, perhaps the most impressive attraction in Arta is a visit the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador. The Sanctuary dates back to the 14th Century, and today is the home to an small effigy of the seated Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in her lap, which is believed to be one of the oldest figures in Majorca that is still used for worship.
The walled grounds that surround the Sanctuary, were added during the 16th Century to defend against the frequent attacks from marauding pirates, although much of what you see today is the results of restoration works carried out in during the late 1960’s.
A trip to Sant Salvador is certainly not recommended for those with mobility problems, as there are 180 steps leading up to the Sanctuary which begin at the Parish Church of Transfiguració in Arta. The views from the top are well worth the climb and the Sanctuary is widely recognised as being one of the most impressive sights in Majorca.
If you happen to be on the island in winter then a visit to Arta is a must to enjoy the first fiesta of the year - in celebration of Sant Antoni, the patron saint of animals. The event begins on the evening of January 16th with the lighting of small bonfires, and involves much singing, dancing and eating. The following day a parade is held through the streets, followed by the blessing of farm animals and domestic pets. All of this takes place under the gaze of the statue of the Sant Antoni.
Later on in the year, processions that take place on Easter Thursday and Good Friday also draw large crowds of locals and tourists alike. The highlight of the two days takes place at the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador on the Friday, when the figure of Christ is taken down from the cross and is then paraded down to the Church of Transfiguració in the centre of the town.
A more conventional fiesta is held on June 13th in honour of Sant Antoni of Padua, otherwise known as Saint Antoni of the Apricots. Then, the first week of August sees the week long Fiesta of Sant Salvador, which always features a full programme of activities that appeal to both local residents and visitors to the town - these include races up and down the steps of the Sanctuary and even a watermelon eating contest!
The final event of the year in Arta is the Summer Fair, which takes place on the second Sunday of September. Although traditionally this is an agricultural and livestock show, it has developed a more commercial theme over the years and there is always plenty to see and do, with horse races being the highlight.
Further afield, the little coastal community of Colonia de Sant Pere celebrates its own fiesta, which is held on June 29th and is dedicated to their patron saint, Sant Pere - also the patron saint of fishermen. As befits a coastal village, the main focus of the event is a maritime procession of highly decorated boats around the harbour and marina.
Throughout the rest of the year Arta is a generally a very quiet town, although Tuesdays are always considered to be a ‘busy’ day by the locals as the produce market is held in the Conqueridor Square. As with all markets on the island, it tends to start early at around 8.00am, and finishes just after 1pm, before the heat of the day sets in.
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