ARTA CAVES-WHEN THE NATURE SCULPTS-WRITERS AND LEGENDS IN A NATURAL PARADISE
Mallorca is an island that never ceases to surprise visitors, every place in this island becomes an experience that marks you forever and that leaves a lasting memory.
There is so much to see and so many places to discover and for sure will leave you speechless, and one of those places are the caves of Arta, located on the seacoast of Capdepera, in the wonderful setting of Cap Vermell, on a cliff about 45 mtrs (148 feets ) above the sea.
Upon arrival, the beauty of the place, and its majestic entrance in the form of a large arch, the cliffs and the Mediterranean sea as background, will leave you perplexed.
But if the beauty of the landscape is impressive, what is hidden in the bowels of the earth, has not description, stunning caves, which are the masterpiece of nature, over the years, water filtration through the rocks, and the formation of stalactites and stalagmites taking different shapes.
Some people after visiting this wonderful work of nature, have described as the “nona” wonder of the world.
These caves impressed one of the first tourists that this island has hosted, the Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvator, so impressed he was that he dedicated to this caves a chapter in his book «Die Balearen in Wort und Bild»-The Balearic islands.
Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Mallorca 1860, announced that she would visit the Arta caves, and as it was well known, Elizabeth II was very small and plump, and because of the possibility that she can come to visit these caves, they built the new staircase that replaced the old ramp to facilitate the exit of the Queen.
But if there is a legend that comes alive in these caves, is the love story of talayotic sibil.la , created by the majorcan writer Miguel Costa y Llobera in his poem (1900) «La deixa del geni grec»-the legacy of the greek genius and with this poem, he won 1902 a poetry contest” jocs florals” in Barcelona.
For the centenary of the birth of the famous poet, the Arta caves made him a well deserved tribute and in the awesome Hall of Flags, where nature shows its greatness, is sculpted part of this beautiful poem:
“Por un latido del ansia con que tu corazón expira daríamos las centurias de calma que tenemos.”
«For a craving beat with which your heart expires, we would give the centuries of calm that we have.»
According to the legend, Nureddunna is a talaiotic sibil.la living in the talaiotic town of Ses Paises (Arta) falls in love with a young Greek, called Melesigeni. Both speak different languages but they understand each other with the music that the young Greek plays with his lyre and makes Nureddunna to fall madly in love with him.
But the fate of the young Greek, is to be sacrificed for the citizens of Ses Paises in honor of the gods and Nureddunna hides him inside the caves of Arta and helps him to run away.
As punishment the people of Ses Paises,stoned her, and she was badly injured and almost dying, she took refuge in the caves of Arta where he died holding her beloved lyre.
Who has not imagined after visiting these caves, the young Nureddunna holding the lyre, watching from the top of the stairs, outside of the caves of Arta, the immensity of the Mediterranean Sea, with its intense blue color, waiting for the sea to bring her back ,the love that one day she saw how was leaving her, a love for what she gave her life, and a love that will become a legend.
Nureddunna evokes the Sacred Fire, the fire that maybe we can compare with the incredible pointy formations that these caves are hosting, well known as the flames of hell, in another of the lounges inside Arta caves, Hell´s lounge.
But if there is a majestic living in these caves, This is clearly, the room of the Queen of the columns, where the visitor will find a column of 22 meters (72 feets) high, unique in the world for its slenderness and grandeur, and in 1841 a British company offered 25000 pounds to buy it and take the queen of the columns to England, fortunately for all of us it was not sold and we can enjoy it now into the amazing Arta caves.
In the hands of the owners of Arta Caves, the Zaforteza family, are preserved numerous books of all visitors, which have being marveled at the beauty of these caves and their surroundings.
Dated September 17th, 1877 five firms are collected in one of this visitors books: Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas , Paul Koch and Sarah Bernhart.
And here come thousands of speculations, some people erroneously even stated that Jules Verne has been inspired to write his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth in these caves, something completely wrong because this novel was published on November 25, 1864.
What is certain is that Jules Verne maintains afriendship with the Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria and that has always touted in his writings the beauty that this island offers.
And it is true too, that Jules Verne serialized in the magazine of the Enlightenment and recreation in 1896, the trips of Clovis Dardentor and in one of this stories we find the trip of Clovis Dardentor to Mallorca, and my question is … How could Jules Verne describe so well and with such details the island if he was not here?
We are not going to get into the controversy of whether or not was Jules Verne in Mallorca, what of course we will tell all of you that if Jules Verner sailed on the Mediterranean on board his ship St. Michel (and had 3 under the same name).
If he never in one of his travels made a stopover on Mallorca, we can affirm that he missed to visit the most wonderful island in the Mediterranean and why he recognized the beauty of this paradise in the trip of Clovis Dardentor to Majorca, if he was not in Mallorca? This question can be only answered by Jules Verne , and we ,from here neither deny nor affirm it ….
Let us guide you through these wonderful caves of Arta, in a unique setting such as the Cap Vermell and with spectacular views, can not be missing a visit to this wonder of nature.
When Nature sculpts , make it carefully and creates indescribable wonders such as the caves of Arta.
Also if you prefer we can take you to these caves by sea,an opportunity that other caves do not offer, embarking from Cala Ratjada and admiring the beauty of the Mallorcan coastline and its towering cliffs, arrive at the pier of the king and finally, a path will take us to visit the caves of Arta.
With the guides of Mallorca private Tour Guides discover Arta caves and be amazed by the majesty of its rooms, its incredible formations of stalactites and stalagmites, the spectacular Queen of the columns and at the exit, let yourself to be delight by the wonderful scenery offered with the Mediterranean Sea as background, feel yourself Nureddunna for a day …
Ladies and gentleman, the paradise is not only one of the rooms that are inside the caves of Arta, Paradise is the island of Mallorca itself and we consider ourselves fortunate to guide you through the amazing places that, this island offers, including this natural monument, Arta caves.
Do not miss it and don´t do the mistake that Jules Verne could make ,if is true that he has not seen this caves ….. surely be regretting it forever.
Mallorca Private Tour guides Team