• English
  • Deutsch
  • Español

Preserving Mallorca's architectural heritage

Defence tower repairs and renovations

torre de cala pi

Mallorca's rugged coastline is dotted with almost 50 stone built old defence towers which were built as a response to attacks and raids by Barbary pirates and Ottoman Turks over 500 years ago. The mostly cylindrical structures were used as look out posts to spot the attackers, communication centres where fires could be lit to raise the alarm, and artillery points as canons could be fired from the flat roofs.

They are an essential part of Mallorca's history and unfortunately some of them have fallen into disrepair or are in danger of this through neglect. Now the Consell of Mallorca has approved a €500,000 plan to restore and renovate the towers to their former glory and prevent them falling prey to the elements.

Work has already started on the first one, the Tower of Cala Pi in Lluchmayor which was built by 1663 in response to Turkish raids. In the next few months its structure, cylindrical in its upper half and trunk-conical in the lower half, will be consolidated and reconditioned. Its roof and interior will be thoroughly cleaned and any holes will be plugged by the same stone as used hundreds of years ago.

The job is being carried out by a multidisciplinary team from the Consell's heritage department, composed of an art historian, an archaeologist, a restorer and three architects, one of them a technician who will bear the cost of the project apart from the materials which will be borne by the owners of the tower.

Once completed the team will move onto the next three jobs; the Torre Major d'Alcúdia; the Torre d'es Verger - Talaia de ses Ànimes, in Banyalbufar; and the tower of Sa Mola de Andratx. When finished the towers will be sufficiently preserved to prevent further damage from water penetrating through the roof and walls.

It's a great project to preserve the rich heritage of the island and makes an interesting visit for any history, architecture or warfare buffs amongst us. If you're none of these, then just go to look at the views – they're fantastic!

Photo courtesy Chixoy and Wikimedia