The Cartesian Monastery with the royal palace in the town of Valldemossa in Mallorca
Hello friends! You already know that in Mallorca in Valldemossa there is a museum dedicated to two talents – the famous pianist Chopin and the writer George Sand. Since the museum is only part of the attractions of Valldemossa, let’s look at the main object of the town.
The main object, thanks to which Valldemossa was formed, is considered to be the Cartesian Monastery. The monastery stands on an elevated position in relation to the residential areas and is represented by a complex of buildings around an inner square.
The complex includes the old royal palace, the church, the apothecary created by the monks and the buildings that housed the cells. For those readers who missed the previous article, I will inform you that the Chopin and Georges Sand Museum has been opened in Cell No. 4 – you can see the museum’s exhibits now.
This article is essentially a sequel. You can learn more about the entire monastery complex:
- How the monastery in Valldemossa was formed and what it is known for
- King Sancho’s Palace
- Other components of the monastery
- How to get to Valldemossa and visit the monastery’s museums
From the history of the Cartesian Monastery in Valldemossa
The monks of the Carthusian order settled in Mallorca with the generosity of the King of Aragon. What did this generosity consist in? In providing the foundation of the monastery of the royal palace, which had long existed on Mount Es Pujol in the western part of Majorca. For almost a century the palace in a picturesque setting remained the property of the royal dynasty. In 1399, it was transformed into a monastery for the Carthusian monks.
For quite a long time the monks made do with the buildings that formed the palace complex. And only at the beginning of the XVIII century there was a major reconstruction, which greatly enriched the monastery. It has been preserved like that till nowadays.
It’s known that in 1835, the monastery finished its activities, although there were attempts to sell its territory since 1821. But there was no one willing to buy the monastery’s property. Or not enough money was found – this version is also true. Either way, but the monastic cells began to rent to people who came to the island to rest and recuperate.
Frederic Chopin and George Sand had the same aim when they went to Mallorca in the late autumn of 1838. It is unlikely that they intended to settle on the territory of the monastery. Most likely, the couple had no idea that the Spanish island was governed by different mores than in French society. The locals simply did not want to accept a man and a woman who were not married in a private apartment. So Chopin and George Sand had to rent a cell in the monastery, which later became a museum.
King Sancho’s Palace
King Sancho I, nicknamed the Quiet One, left a memory in Valldemossa of his reign. Thanks to Sancho, there was a palace that was used by the rulers as a summer residence for several decades.
King Sancho spent his summer seasons in the palace from 1311-24. – the entire period of his reign. The local climate relieved his asthma attacks.
Although the Cartesian monks continued to build up the complex, they kept the main part of the palace as it was given to them at the end of the fourteenth century. The palace is now a museum. In front of the entrance to the palace a small garden with fountains was laid out.
The original sculpture in the back of the garden belongs to the ancient heritage of the complex. Unfortunately, no information about this statue is mentioned anywhere:
However, it is known that the sculptural patrimony, created for the Cartesian Monastery in the mid-18th century, was moved to the Cathedral, which is located in Palma de Mallorca. The Valldemossa museum complex has copies installed.
On entering the royal palace, visitors find themselves in a spacious gallery, where not only paintings are on display, but also some household items that have been preserved since ancient times.
The palace is represented by galleries, halls and salons. The royal apartments were also actively used during the hunting seasons. Therefore, the walls are decorated with the appropriate attributes.
The classical dining room with a fireplace has been recreated as well. It was probably much warmer in this room than in Chopin’s or George Sand’s cell, where they escaped the cold with a medieval heater (I drew attention to this device when I told about the Chopin Museum).
Perhaps the most luxurious thing in the palace is the salon, with exquisite furniture, mirrors in elegant frames, and decorative floors and ceilings.
Questions remain as to who lived in the royal apartments when they were the property of the monastery. The assumption that the apartments were reserved for the abbot has no basis in fact, since the monastery complex includes the abbot’s cell, the abbot’s quarters.
Other museums of the monastery complex
The abbot’s cell is another museum in the Carthusian monastery. The cell includes several rooms: a private chapel with memorabilia of the Valdemos patroness Catalina Thomas, a library, an audience room, and a bedroom. Incidentally, the second photograph in this post shows the abbot’s bedroom.
The library contains a collection of books and manuscripts created by Cartesian monks. The library was also the site of the monks’ meetings, which were held once a week. This was the only time the monks could discuss and communicate.
In 1801 the Minister of Justice was exiled to the island by King Carlos IV in order to be imprisoned in a tower in Valldemossa. But the Cartesian monks gave such attention to the prisoner that it turned out not to be a captivity, but a rest. Learning the situation, the king transferred the former minister to a castle with harsher conditions.
While the cells of the Carthusian monastery have their own miniature courtyard, the Abbess’ cell has a rather spacious interior recreation area:
Another interesting museum on the monastery grounds is the pharmacy. This pharmacy was formed at the beginning of the XVIII century and is now considered the third oldest pharmacy in Spain. The pharmacy has preserved special utensils of the period – original jars, mortars, special glass bottles with narrow necks for mixtures and oils.
The collection includes 135 pieces of Catalan ceramics painted with motifs from the world of flora and fauna. In the beginning, the pharmacy served only monks, but since 1896 the medicinal services were extended to the inhabitants of the town.
Among the main objects of the monastery complex certainly belongs the church, built in 1751-1812. The church was painted by Manuel Bayeu, a relative of Francisco Goya.
So, let’s summarize why travelers go on a tour of the Cartesian Monastery. The interest begins with the Chopin and Georges Sand Museum, but it is followed by a fascinating sequel. The museums of the monastery complex preserve the heritage created by the Cartesians over four centuries and attract a tour of the royal palace. And visiting the town of Valldemossa and wandering through its picturesque narrow streets is no less fascinating.
How to reach Valldemossa from Palma de Mallorca
Agree, friends, one would like to spend a day in such a distinctive place. So if Mallorca is part of your plans, here is how to get to Valldemossa from Palma.
Buses leave from the bus station, which is located on the Plaza de España, and go several times a day at intervals of half an hour to hour and a half. But, if on a weekday trips last from 9.30 to 16.45, on Sunday there are only morning trips. Tickets are purchased at the ticket office of the underground transport station. The distance between the cities is not great, you can get there in 30 minutes. See the sights of Valdemossa, and then tell us about your trip in the comments to this article))) We’ll be waiting for you!
Valldemossa Monastery in Mallorca, Spain
Valldemossa monastery of the Carthusian order and, since some time, the museum was founded in the town of Valldemossa in the mountains. It became popular thanks to F. Chopin and J. Sand, who lived for some time in its walls. Here Sand wrote her work “Winter on Majorca”, in which she described her life on the island and her impressions.
Valldemossa is a small town of no more than 2,000 inhabitants. Throughout history, it has always attracted artists and musicians with its special atmosphere. The history of the city began with the erection of a monastery.
The Carthusian monastery was founded in the 14th century by the King of Aragon. The foundations were the ruins of a Moorish palace.
The appearance that the monastery has today, it received mainly in the 18th century. Guests were not welcome here, so the main gate of the temple was walled up. The monks had to observe silence, fasting, seclusion and spend all their time in prayer and work.
In the 19th century, the Spanish government decided to close all the monasteries and sell them. The inhabitants of Valldemossa bought the monastery and it became the property of the city, 9 cells were sold to private ownership. The monks left the monastery. And the cells were equipped with rooms for recreation.
Frederic Chopin and his beloved French writer George Sand came to the island because of the mild climate. They hoped that Chopin’s tuberculosis would recede. But the monastery walls were not conducive to recovery, the disease worsened, and they lived on the island for a short time, about 2 months. The locals had a negative attitude towards the couple in love, which was very depressing for George Sand.
The monastery in the present tense.
The Convent of Valldemossa is not a single building, but rather a complex. It includes King Sancho’s palace; an 18th-century church with towers and a Baroque altar of St. Bartholomew; an apothecary with medical utensils from the 12th and 13th centuries; and an audience hall with a throne;
A monastery in the present tense.
the library, which contains manuscripts belonging to the Carthusians, books from different centuries and an ivory triptych from the 15th century; the monastic cells, No2 and No4, which were rented by the Polish composer, which later became the Chopin Museum; the Ludwig Salvator Museum; the modern art museum, in which you can see works by Spanish artists, including P. Picasso and Miro.
The monastery is in the present tense.
Every summer there are classical music concerts dedicated to the works of the famous Polish composer. The museum of the famous couple was created in part thanks to the granddaughter of the French writer.
In the cells and halls, a special place is occupied by interesting exhibits: the belongings of the couple in love; a piano, on which the Polish composer composed his works, especially the famous Prelude No. 15; the Russian version of the manuscript of “Winters on Majorca” and also three first original editions; several letters of Friderik; the composer’s death mask and a lock of hair.
A monastery in the present tense.
There is another museum in Valldemossa Monastery, which was created in honor of Ludwig Salvator. The aristocrat devoted himself to travel and exploration. He lived on the island for about 30 years and prepared 7 volumes of an illustrated description of Majorca, which won a gold medal at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878.
The Archduke’s residence is next to the monastery but unfortunately it is closed to the public. The area around it was turned into a nature reserve.
How to see this attraction.
How to see this attraction.
The town is small and can be explored on foot, it is impossible to get lost. You can get here from Palma de Mallorca by car or by the city bus no. 210. Valldemossa is in the mountains and there are serpentine roads.