Alcúdia, just in land from the north coast of Mallorca, is a history lover’s dream. The atmospheric, winding streets of the old town are a great place to lose yourself, camera in hand, amidst the higgledy-piggledy, colourful architecture; every crossroads opening up to reveal a new and enticing path to explore.
Alcúdia is encircled by a fourteenth century late Medieval wall, built to protect the town from pirate raids. It is possible to walk along sections of the wall and out on to the tops of some of the towers that stud it. Here you get a bird’s eye view of the maze of streets and jumble of roofs below, catching glimpses of everyday life, washing on a line, a TV set framed by half closed shutters, children’s toys discarded.
Like many Mallorcan towns, Alcúdia is host to a market which takes place twice a week on Tuesday and Sunday mornings and is a mix of fresh produce and stalls selling crafts, souvenirs, clothing and other goods.
Whilst most visitors to Alcúdia will walk the walls and perhaps poke a head inside the stocky and squat seventeenth century church of St Jaume, not everyone will know that metres away, on the opposite side of the road from the church lie an impressive collection of Roman ruins.
Scattered amongst peaceful fields of flowers are the remains of Pollentia, founded shortly after the arrival of the Romans on the island in 123 BC. Chosen for its views over the surrounding countryside, and down to the sea beyond, the site today can be categorised in to three, the walls and columns of the residential area, known as La Portella, which lies nearest to the entrance to the site and consists of the skeletal outlines of a number of private houses and the roads linking them, the Forum where commercial, administrative and religious activity would have taken place and, furthest away, a theatre.
The theatre is remarkably preserved, with tiers of seating still present if eroded by time, and it is possible to walk amongst the stones and sit, as so many so long ago once did, and imagine the performances that would have taken place. It is hard not to imagine the ghost of voices in your ears so direct is the connection to the past here. It is an experience well worth the entrance fee.
For the previous post from my Mallorcan trip, click here. Next up a visit to Arta and the 3,000 year old settlement on its doorstep.