BINISSALEM AND ITS LEGENDS-SA POTA DES REI-A MAJORCAN WINE AREA
Its position parallel to the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains, combined with a slight elevation, allowed the consolidation of large historical pathways, as the axis Palma-Pollentia during Roman times, the Raiguer´s path in the Islamic era, the Palma-Alcudia road in 19th century, and the Palma-Inca Railway in 1875.
In Binissalem area are located activities as Stone quarries and lignite mines, so important noble families, thanks to the vineyards and olive groves, made money and built in Binissalem, between the eighteenth and nineteenth century, huge stone houses inspired by Italian style, which enriched the town´s architecture.
Binissalem, is located almost in the center of Mallorca, 160 meters (525 feets) over the sea level and is located 22 kms (13,67 miles) far away from Palma and approximately 7km (4,35 miles) far away from Inca.
The importance of Binissalem into majorcan historical dynamics comes from its agricultural activities with a hight returns and its key position within the communications system on the island.
In contrast to horticulture activity during the Islamic period, from the Aragon conquest, in Binissalem, will be consolidated the olive groves and vineyards, destinated mainly to be exported.
The name Binissalem comes from the Arabic Banu Salam which means «sons of peace or blessing» or Banu Salim «sons of Salim or sons of the captive.»
It is a name coming from the arabic root «salam», save or lead to salvation, which has been used by many Muslim writers during spanish Muslim domination.
Binissalem was proclaimed by King James II in 1300 as a village , and the King indicated for each home a land measure (called carton), charging 18 dineros (currency at this times) for the census, with the obligation to give part of the land for the construction of the town streets. They could not sell their homes or move out of them before having spent six years on the village.
In 1339 are documented in Binissalem large areas of vineyards, crop that progressed in extent and quality, and quickly Binissalem became the most renowned town on the island because its wine production. Later came a schnapps (aguardiente) production designed mainly for exportation.
The phylloxera crisis in the nineteenth century meant the economic collapse for Binissalem,and many noble families went bankrupt and had to sell houses and land.
Therefore, the people planted almond groves, were introduced shoe factories in Binissalem, stone quarries and lignite mines among other activities that managed to stop the impact, but it never returned to get the former splendor.
In 1842, Lloseta was included in Binissalem,later on Lloseta was separated from Binissalem and it was established as an independent municipality. In 1816 the llosetenses requested King Ferdinand VII its independence, but did not get it until the middle of the century.
Carpenters footprint is related to wine production, transportation and huge building construction, and connected to the construction activity, in Binissalem will emerge trades as blacksmithsor bricklayers.
It seems that the exploitation of the stone quarries, with hight quality stones and different colorations is dating from the Roman era. Supplying material to build churches, convents, palaces, mansions and sculptural and ornamental details, generating in Binissalem real dynasties of stone craftsmen with great fame all around Mallorca, for example, the Palace March in Palma was carved by a stone master from Binissalem, Llorenç Torrens called «PITI», or another example, the construction Formentor´s lighthouse is also the work of a native of this town,Binissalem.
In 1834, while were extracting clay in Binissalem , a coal field was discovered.
In this way lignite mining exploitation was born in Binissalem.
The lignite taken from Binissalem mines was heading to Palma and Barcelona. Since 1983,part of old town Binissalem is protected as a historic-artistic spot in Mallorca.
Binissalem was so important in those times that its parish grew so much that it had between 15 and 25 priests.
Binissalem was one of the first places in Mallorca with street lighting, first having oil (1864) and with electrical supply (1905), Binissalem was also the first town of Mallorca with football court (soccer) (1914).
According to Cardinal DESPUIG, wellknown in Binissalem by the name “Rubines” (hence the name of its main square and parish church), and among other curiosities, a sister of unique saint born in Mallorca, Santa Catalina Thomas, was married to a man from Binissalem and she lived and died in Binissalem.
Binissalem,should be the only town of any importance in Mallorca, in which for centuries did not sign up in its civil Registry any Jewish name, and not in very remote times, refused to sign up a Jewish newborn in Binissalem, because the people on the town, as they said,refused to foul the civil registry book with a Jewish name.»
The quintessential local holiday on the village is related, how could it not be otherwise, with wine: Festa des Vermar (harvest festival), which began to be celebrated for the first time in 1964 in Binissalem.
Held on the last Sunday in September, and its origin, the blessing of the grape must.
During this festival, the citizens of Binissalem prepare the famous and exquisite “ «Fideus des Vermar ” an ancient recipe, prepared with a half kg meat for each 100 gr. noodle per person. It is a typical dish of this celebration, famous for being spicy, and served with some of the excellent wines produced in Binissalem, as the famous «Franja Roja» By Jose Luis Ferrer winery.
The “Franja Rotja”wine made by Jose luis Ferrer cellars is dated in Binissalem from 1978, this wine, undoubtedly remain as one of the most famous wines made in Binisalem, with national and international name.
And another of the peculiarities of this Vermar festival held in Binissalem is the battle of the wine grapes, which annually has more and followers among the people of Mallorca. A funny event, a great wine grape battle…
A place to be discover near to Binissalem is “SA POTA DEL REI”
SA POTA DEL REI (King´s horse paw)
In the corner between the Bellveure path and the Reguer path,there is a large stone with a hole (possibly stone comes from an oil mill in which was set the axis around the beam of the oil mill was moved).
This stone and his hole is the origin of an ancient legend still existing in Mallorca. It was known as «the king´s horse paw».
According to the tradition, when someone complained of fatigue, they were told to place the foot inside this hole, and locals were affirming that after doing this, the tiredness disappear.
When children ask their parents who made this hole in the stone, the parents answered: «The horse of King James the Conqueror», adding that when King James the first was crossing this area, during the conquest of Mallorca, the monarch’s horse hit a kick which caused this hole on the stone. Also popular belief,says thay put his hand into this hole will cure or prevent warts on their hands.
Let us guide you through Binissalem and discover with Mallorca Private Tour Guides guides these curiosities and many more.
Our guides will take you through the streets of Binissalem discovering the architecture of this great majorcan village and its traditions.
A visit to one of the wineries in Binissalem including a wine tasting guided by one of our specialized guides, is a great experience for the palate.
Discover the wine history in Mallorca, its origins, the native varieties of wine grapes, and you will understand why Binissalem has become the most popular wine region of the island,” Raiguer “(a name whose meaning is born of the mountain), it stands majestically in the background, the Sierra de Tramuntana, giving this area a special climate, ideal for growing vineyards.
The wines produced in Binisalem are renowned worldwide, and wine is part of Binisalem´s culture and from Mallorca Private Tour guides we would like to invite you all to discover the birthplace of Mallorcan wines, Binissalem.
And of course, discover one of the legends that Binissalem houses, “ sa pota del rei” King horse´s paw, for sure many of you do not know about this place, let us be your guide and you will discover this place around Binissalem , and one of the thousands of legends that our island hides.