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With a resident population of just 1866 persons, the town is indeed one of the smaller urban pockets on the island. Although many of its counterparts of similar size fail to offer the tourist much in the way of local attractions, you might be pleasantly surprised at just what can be found here.
Ideally suited for those that seek the perfect base to explore the island, Sant Joan boasts a central location with good access to the major towns and
tourist attractions of Mallorca.
The neighbouring towns of Sineu, Montuiri and Vilafranca de Bonany are all located within a short distance of under 10km, whilst the city of Manacor lies at approximately a 25 km distance.
As far as travelling to and from the capital city of Palma is concerned, the distance itself is not overly excessive.
At only 40 km, the journey can be completed in good time by all drivers including first timers to the island.
This is due in part to the excellent transport links that connect the two.
The highways in Mallorca do have junction numbers which makes navigation easier, and you will need to look out for Junction 32 on the MA-15, where the locally named Camino de Horta road will take you directly into Sant Joan. Whilst the journey itself is relatively simple, memorising road names is another matter, so we would recommend you plan your route before travelling.
The small town of Sant Joan has an intriguing history dating back as far as prehistoric times. Remains and artefacts have been found from the Islamic period on the island, and several homesteads still retain Arabic names today. After the area was conquered by King Juame the first in 1230, records suggest the towns founder to be Arias Yanes.
The town was awarded royal status in 1300 although this was revoked for a short time only to be later reinstated. During the 14th Century, the town supported the war efforts against Sardinia and Genoa and the additional wars against Castille from 1356-1369. This resulted in inhabitants being subjected to severe levels of taxation so as to provide suitable funds to the military.
It certainly appears that Sant Joan has had a history of ups and downs, and this is well reflected in periods of boom and bust on the island. From the peasant rebellions of 1521 to the famines of the 17th Century, Sant Joan has certainly had its fair share of hardship. During the later period, many residents resorted to stealing for a living which thus resulted in towns mayor ordering inhabitants living in the countryside to gather all their belongings and to move within the built up area of the town.
Later on, guards were posted both in the town and on the roads to prevent thefts. The towns fortunes today couldn’t be more contrasting. Set amidst rich agricultural lands, the town has a number of architectural sights of interest that stand as a testimony to times gone by.
Many of the towns attractions are placed within a religious context, perhaps to signify the importance religion has held, and continues to hold in peoples lives here. Interesting examples of local places of interest include the parish church of Sant Joan Baptiste and the Sanctuary of the mother of God. As with most rural villages and towns on Mallorca, local customs are still central to community life here and a range of fiestas occur throughout the year.
These take places amongst the quite and relaxed pace of life that is common within the islands interior. This can be experienced at all levels throughout the community, from the tapas bars, to the rural churches and the quaint village squares. The atmosphere here is unique and is one many tourists overlook in favour of the highly charged, fast paced resorts of the south.
If complete relaxation is what you desire, then a short stay in Sant Joan is sure to put you in touch with Mallorca’s more holistic side; an experience that is sure to be both fascinating and rewarding.
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