Mallorca is Spain’s largest island, and a part of the Balearic Islands archipelago, which is located in the Mediterranean Sea and are part of Spain. Like the other Balearic Islands Ibiza, Formentera, and Minorca, the island is a popular tourist destination.
Since the 1960s, however, it has become a synonym for mass tourism. The name derives from Latin insula maior, “larger island”; later Maiorica. The capital of the island is Palma, which is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. The Cabrera archipelago is administratively grouped with Mallorca (in the municipality of Palma). The national anthem of Mallorca is La Balanguera.
Drach (Dragon) Caves
Also known as the Hams Caves (which is in fact the real name of these caves), the Mallorca Drach caves were discovered by the local Pedro Caldentey more than a hundred years ago, on March the 2nd 1905. The Drach Caves are located 1 kilometer and a half south from Porto Cristo, near to Cala Millor and Manacor. That is about 1 hour driving from the capital, Palma de Mallorca. The name is derived from the local literature and legends, as Mallorcans have given the dragon a different number of attributes: one hand, the dragon is a representation of the evil; on the other, it is also of strength. However, on this case, is a mix of the first and also the representation of the guardian of a treasure. The guardian (the dragon) is supposed to be keeping people away from the gold.
Open all year round, a visit to the drach caves takes about an hour and consists of 700 meters of walking. At the end of the walk, you are treated to an unusual experience. You sit in a large auditorium in front of an underground lake and listen to classical music as candle lit boats float by. I imagine that the ambience is akin to when the boat man of Hades comes to take you across the River Styx!
The musicians play a selection of classical music (mostly Chopin) at this underground lake (Lake Martel). The Lake Martel takes its name from its discover, Edouard Alfred Martel, who was invited by the Archiduke Luis Salvador in 1896. He decided to explore the caves further than what was already discovered, and discovered the now famous Lake Martel and the area adjoining it now known as the “Cueva de los Franceses”.
The Drach Caves are divided into a few sections, known by the following names: Cueva Negra (Black Cave), Cueva Blanca (White Cave) and Cueva Luis Salvador, and the end of this one comes La Ventana which is the preamble to the Lake Martel and the Cueva de los Franceses. I was told that the Caves have had their own electricity for years so you can see all of the stalactites and stalagmites. The Drach (Dragon) Caves in Porto Cristo (Mallorca) are a must visit if you are around.
As you drive across the countryside, be sure to take note of the many colorful windmills. There are all shapes and sizes and colors. I was told by the guide that these windmills either mill grain or provide alternative power for the farms.
Well known by Gaudi’s refurbishing in 1904, the Palma Cathedral is over 800 years old and has a long history. Begun in the XII century, it was built on a pre-existing Arab mosque but the definitive project was not settled until 200 years later. When Jaime I was on his way to recapture Mallorca, his boats encountered a terrible storm. He vowed to the Virgin Mary that, if he survived the storm, he would build and dedicate a Cathedral to her. Now the Cathedral is home for Jaume I and Jaume III tombs.
Manacor is located in the heartland of the island and is the capital city for man-made pearls – yes, MAN MADE pearls! I never thought such thing existed until I saw how they made pearls essentially from glass. They obviously looked fantastic but it made me wonder how many tourists around the world are getting ripped off buying man-made (aka fake) pearls!
Traditional Spanish House
On the way to the Drach Caves, you may be treated to a traditional Spanish estate. As you can see they had A LOT to drink…