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One of the drawbacks commonly associated with rural Mallorcan towns and villages is that in order to really experience true variety in your holiday, daily travelling invariably becomes a requirement. Whilst we appreciate that the hire of a car gives you the flexibility to travel further a field if you so wish, Muro is a unique town with many attractions of its own.
As mentioned in the previous section, the Museu Etnologic de Mallorca is perhaps Muro’s most well known attraction and frequently attracts visitors from all across the island. This museum gives fascinating insights into bygone ages in true Mallorcan style, and is housed within a superb renovated mansion. The kitchen contains pottery similar to what you would see in the markets today.
This appears to suggest that rural Mallorca has retained several aspects of its traditions. Also found within the museum is a pharmacy that has been recreated to its old style construction. Here the visitor can explore the original remedies used for the most common ailments, as well as observing the interesting (but, rather odd) pair of scales that take precedence here.
Designed in the shape of a cross, the visitor can appreciate the extensive coverage that religion holds within the town’s local culture. Located upstairs are a fine variety of local artifacts and exhibits. These take the form of a collection of siurells (clay whistles) featuring men on horseback carrying water and playing guitars. The museums courtyard houses blacksmith and cobblers workshops which contain carriages and a collection of tools once used by these local tradesmen. Within the beautiful courtyard setting is a well, a water wheel and several orange trees all of which act to preserve and retain the traditions of this local town and its people.
However, one need not only to look at the past to gain an impression of this towns culture. Embedded right in its heart is the Placa de Toros, the scene of modern day bullfighting. What sets this bullring apart from the countless others located in Spain is its design used in construction. Built in an old mares (a type of white stone) quarry, this monument took over a decade to be sculpted by hammer and chisel.
The art of bullfighting in Muro dates back many centuries when locals performed ‘a corrida’ (a bull fighting run). This confrontation involving bulls and bull dogs has its roots in local folklore, when it was believed that dogs would drive out wild bulls from newly sown fields.
The passion that the locals held for bull fighting was realised in the 1920, when the quarries owner set to work excavating the stone quarry by hammer and chisel into a circular shape at the same time as carving out the tiers. A decade later and work was complete, resulting in a theatre that could host 6,945 people, indeed, a figure higher then the present day population of Muro!
The technique used in construction is entirely unique and is unrivalled the world over. The sheer amount of labour and effort gone into its design is almost enough to warrant a visit just on account of this. However, as many locals proudly proclaim, Muro’s bullring is perfectly designed for such a spectacle since the driving art of this emotion can be appreciated from every angle. As if to further emphasis how unique this local monument is, the infirmary and stables are constructed within the rock and are located beneath the tiers housing the crowds.
Moving away from the highly charged scenes contained within this magnificent architecture, we can begin to appreciate the more relaxed side to Muro. For those with young children, the popular tourist resort of Playa De Muro is only 10km to the north of the town and boasts pleasant sandy beaches and warm, clear waters. Additionally, the land of a thousand windmills lies between Muro and its coastal neighbour.
This idyllic region of the island was formerly a swamp, but improvements in drainage have result in the land being reclaimed to support intensive agriculture. It has however retained its immense diversity, both from a plant and animal perspective. In recognition of its importance to local wildlife habitats, this area of Muro has been designated a Parc Natural de’ s’Albufera.
In terms of local celebrations and festivals, those that occur here tie in well with the customs and traditions of the town. One of the largest of these is the San Joan Baptista that takes place on the 24th of June each year. A number of festivities are led in honour of Saint John the Baptist. Highlights include the magnificent Bull run in which top bullfighting figures participate. During this festival, the bullring becomes awash with colour as crowds pack into the theatre. The event is further enlivened by a band which plays varied repertoire of pasodobles.
Although not as lively perhaps as the San Joan baptista, another festival, referred to locally as the Revelta de Sant Antoni is home to one of Mallorca’s more unusual celebrations. This takes place in the nearby village of Sa Pobla for two days every January. It would appear that on this occasion, pets are the centre of celebrations as they are led through the town to be blessed outside the church. Dancers drive out devils for the forthcoming year, and in recognition of the Parc natural de’s’Albufera’s diverse habitats, everyone eats pastries filled with spicy spinach and marsh Eels!
The weekly markets are held every Sunday in the town of Muro where visitors can buy local produce. For those who are out of town on this day, additional markets are held in nearby Playa de Muro, every Saturday, at the beach.
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