The Sierra de Tramuntana houses villages which, like Valldemossa, do not exist to be defined, but to be experienced. Exploring its steep streets, marvelling at the views and the aroma this valley offers as you try a ‘coca de patata’, visiting the house of Santa Catalina Thomás or the Carthusian Monastery, the cells of which were home to the love of Chopin and George Sand for one winter… No wonder Valldemossa was the place of inspiration of artists such as Jovellanos, Rubén Darío or Santiago Russiñol, along with many more.
The origins of Valldemossa village go back to the period when Muslims installed the first alquerías (rural villas). The name Valldemossa was adopted in remembrance of a wealthy Moor named Muza, who was lord and master of the fertile valley where his villa would later be sited. Over the centuries this name evolved into ValldeMuza, and hence its current name.
From the 13th to 18th centuries, rural Valldemossa developed, closely tied to the land that sustained it, and the church, which expanded the village. Land and church would define its destiny over time. In 1245, construction began on the parish church of Santa Maria de Valldemossa, the present church of Sant Bartomeu, which was confirmed by Pope Innocent IV in 1248. The original building was a small chapel. It was the village’s place of worship, the community centre and a final resting place for the deceased. Through the centuries it underwent numerous expansions and renovations. Around that small church the initial dwellings and streets were built, creating the village’s first population centre. While locals finished the church, built their houses and mapped out the first streets, Ramon Llull, in 1276, obtained from King Jaume II the ancient alquería Alcorayola, in exchange for the alquería Na Matona, where he founded the Miramar monastery, including a school of Eastern languages.
Facing the parish church, towards the north-east, on Pujol hill – possibly where the moor Muza, lord of the valley, had his residence – Jaume II erected a castle as a hunting residence in 1309. Two years later, his son, crown prince Sancho, extended the palace and provided running water. The building and extension works were commissioned to Guillem Cerdà, master mason and village mayor. The monarchs, delighted with their new residence, awarded master Cerdà and his descendents land that was free of taxes or tithes.
Kings Sancho and Jaume III passed several seasons in Pujol castle, especially to ease Sancho’s asthmatic illnesses and satisfy the enthusiasm both kings shared for hunting. This fact meant transferring the royal court to the village and was possibly the reason for establishing a second population hub close to the palace. In 1399, king Martí of Aragon gave the old palace to the Carthusian order of monks to establish a monastery in Majorca. After freedom from mortmain, this gave rise to definitive settlement of the second population centre, that closest to the old palace.