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The central location of Petra is arguably one of the most convenient on the island, and is extremely well served by the islands major
Shortly after leaving the airport, the fast Ma-15 road takes the visitor east towards the town of Manacor, however before entering this large town, a quick left turn onto the Ma-3320 takes one into the immediate vicinity of Petra.
As with the other destinations on this site, a detailed version of this route, complete with links to maps where appropriate, is available from the Route Map link on the left hand frame of this page.
The journey is indeed one of the more simple ones and the driver, regardless of experience should have little difficulty completing this in around 30 to 40 minutes.
However, should the thought of driving whilst on holiday hold little appear to you, then there are also numerous taxis located outside the airport arrivals which will enable you to complete the final step of your journey.
The municipality itself is of a moderate size at 70.13 km2 and is bordered by the towns of Manacor, Sineu, Ariany and Vilafranca de Bonay, whilst the northern extension of the area reaches out to Santa Margalida. Unlike several other villages reviewed, Petra is home to a sizeable population, which in 2007 was recorded at 2,787 residents. In addition, the town appears to hold an attraction to various foreign communities. A census count of 289 foreign residents, accounting for approximately 10% of the town’s population would support this claim.
As is mainly typical of rural towns in the islands interior, Petra holds its origins in the agricultural productivity of the surrounding land. It is interesting to note that up until the 17th Century, the area was a major crop yielding region of Mallorca, particularly with regards to cereal production.
The relative prosperity enjoyed during this period resulted in Petra being considered one of the most important towns on the island, which was reflected in part by a large population, certainly in comparison to today’s figures. However, the onset of drought and various epidemics significantly affected the agricultural productivity of the area thus leading to a substantial decrease in population. It was during this time that two of the town’s most important buildings were erected, those being the parish church and convent of Sant Bernardí.
It is true to say that a notable degree of rural Mallorcan culture tends to focus upon the religious aspects of community life, both past and present. However, it is commonly the case that the majority of religious institutions tend only to have a localised affiliation, those being within the town itself.
This certainly can not be said of Petra, whose historical ties are felt well beyond Mallorcan shores. As the birthplace of Father Juniper Serra, the Franciscan friar whom founded the Christian missionaries in Mexico and California it is hardly surprising that many of the attractions the town has to offer are orientated along this theme.
In keeping with authentic Mallorcan traditions, Petra is also the home to a good number of vineyards that produce high quality wines. These wines are well known throughout Mallorca and are a product of the favourable agricultural conditions, in addition to the warm summer climate the island enjoys. These wines can be sampled all over Mallorca, but perhaps the best place for their enjoyment is in the relaxed, quiet atmosphere of Petra itself.
It may appear as rather obvious to suggest that a holiday here is undertaken very much according to ones tastes. The quiet town of Petra offers very little to those that wish to experience the highly charged environments one frequently associates with many parts of Mallorca.
However, the cultural and historical importance of this small town is of great significance, particularly as far as the global influence of Christianity is concerned. For those whom are sensitive to the cultural uniqueness of remote a Mallorcan town in a relaxed and quiet setting, then Petra might be a destination well worth a visit.
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