The Lluc sanctuary has been a pilgrimage site since time immemorial. Its very name (lucus means holy forest) is proof of this. Near the sanctuary there are funerary caves dating from the Talayotic period. According to legend, the image of the Virgin of Lluc, which is small and dark, was found among the rocks by a shepherd and a monk. It was moved to the former parish of Sant Pere, but it returned to the place it had been found all by itself. This miracle was repeated several times until a chapel was built on the site where it had been found .
The Lluc Monastery is the spiritual centre of Mallorca. It is also a pilgrimage place for walkers, attracted by the beautiful mountainous scenery with rocky areas and holm oak woods.
The monastery lies in Escorca, the municipality which concentrates the highest peaks of the Sierra de Tramuntana. Its construction began in the 17th Century on the site of a prehistoric settlement which, given its etymology, may have regarded the oak woods surrounding it as a sacred place. Lluc comes from ‘lucus’, meaning wood in Latin.
The church houses the statue of the Mare de Déu de Lluc, a black Virgin which was already mentioned in an inventory dating from 1420 and which, according to legend, was found in the middle of the wood by a shepherd. The monastery is the headquarters of the ‘Blauets’ escolonía (children’s choir), the oldest on the island. It also houses a museum, with sections featuring coin collecting, religious images, pottery, interesting prehistoric items and an ethnological collection brought together by the artist Coll Bardolet.
The entrance is through the Plaça dels Peregrins, with beautiful gardens and magnificent porches built at the end of the 16th Century as accommodation and stables. Of special interest is the Ca s’Amitger cross, which dates from 1400 and is the only example remaining of the seven original ones which marked the old path to Lluc. From here, the Modernist style façade, as well as the interior decoration, is an impressive sight because of its size. A street market selling crafts and local products with a guarantee of origin is usually held in this square during the summer months.
Within the grounds is a recreational area surrounded by a holm oak wood which is easy to get to. Set up in an old 16th Century country house here is the Centro de Estudios y de Interpretación del Medio Natural de Ca s’Amitger (Ca s’Amitger Centre for Studying and Interpreting the Environment) which organises courses about nature. There is a permanent exhibition, with explanatory leaflets about the centre and the area.
One of the most amazing excursions which can be imagined leaves from this monastery and makes its way along the mouth of the Torrente de Pareis, an impressive gorge which leads to Sa Calobra, an incomparably beautiful place.
The Monasterio de Lluc is in the municipality of Escorca. It has guest rooms, and reservations should be made well in advance due to the great demand.