La Raixa – historic cardinal’s residence near Bunyola
The huge country estate of La Raixa, located on the Carretera de Sóller – at the Hospital Joan March exit, already existed in Moorish times. After the conquest of Mallorca by Jaume I in 1229, the estate passed into the possession of the princes of Ampuria, then in the 17th century to the Despuig family. In particular, Cardinal Antoni Despuig (1745 – 183) and his brother Joan Despuig (1735 – 1813) developed La Raixa into a magnificent manor house of 520,000 sqm with many Italian influences. Today’s conservationists are working to restore the romantic gardens with fountains of fresh spring water and buildings to the style they had in the Despuig family’s time. There are many interesting structures in the garden, such as an 83-metre-long water basin that irrigates the garden, pavilions, a chapel, a neo-Arab viewpoint, a doll’s house and an old oil mill. The oil mill is the starting point for the present custodians’ multi-part concept of presenting La Raixa as an agricultural estate as well. Another focus is the presentation of Cardinal Despuig’s work as an ecclesiastical dignitary, politician and patron of the arts. And finally, there is a visitor centre where information is provided about the Tramuntana mountains and its municipalities and villages.
The museum, which is housed in the magnificent mansion and has three main themes, is clearly still in the process of conceptualisation and expansion after La Raixa was taken over by the island government only a few years ago. Since the last owner family removed all the historical furniture from the mansion before selling it and sold it separately, there is little that is authentic here, and the island government is endeavouring to gradually purchase contemporary furniture and refurbish La Raixa as it looked during Cardinal Despuig’s ownership. However, the wonderful garden alone is worth a visit.
La Raixa | Carretera Palma-Sóller, km 12 | 07110 Bunyola | Tel. +34 971 23 76 36.