With its mountainous terrain, this municipality is perhaps the best example of how to make optimum use of the natural landscape by building hillside terraces and how to take advantage of woodland areas and available water supplies. Ancient techniques for harvesting resources were known to man back in Roman times. Olive growing was the most important crop-growing activity in order to make oil, combined with fruit and vegetable-growing techniques introduced in Islamic times, breathing life into the countryside. In Fornalutx, there were close to eighty springs and several water mills. Making and selling ice for medicinal and culinary purposes, using snow stored in ice stores (artificial pits) in the mountains, was a good business from the 16th to the 19th centuries, when it was replaced by industrially frozen ice.
Molino de agua de Binibassí (Vicenç Sastre)
Fornalutx’s roads and paths
The village of Fornalutx has conserved its traditional architectural makeup, with cobbled and stepped streets, painted roof tiles, niches, big houses and watchtowers. In conjunction, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in Spain.
Starting out in the square where the Church of the Nativity of Mary (1) stands, you can walk along Carrer de Sant Sebastià, a street featuring a former inn known as Posada de Bàlitx (2). Continue along Carrer de Sant Joan, which features another big house called Can Bisbal. A little further on, you reach the cemetery, enriched with examples of Modernist art. A track linking up with a cobbled path leads to the hamlet of Binibassí (3), originally an Islamic farmstead. The waters of a nearby spring were channelled into an open irrigation gutter, used to power a water mill. The spring still supplies water to a public washing place and it is used to irrigate the surrounding kitchen gardens and orchards. The big houses all feature a defensive tower, olive press and chapel. The path links up with the GR 221 Dry Stone Route from Sóller, which curves round toward Biniaraix.
Barranco de Biniaraix (Marcos Molina)
Built on a hill and declared a historical ensemble of cultural interest, the hamlet of Biniaraix is reached along a stepped path. Standing in its little square is the 16th century Church of the Immaculate Conception (4). Close to the hamlet’s public washing place is a house called Cas Don, featuring the coat of arms of the Pinopar family. This is the starting point of the old road to Lluc (the GR 221), which leads into Biniaraix ravine, declared an item of cultural interest due to its rich variety of features, including hillside terraces, stone shelters and the path itself, the best constructed in the whole of the Tramuntana mountains. If you climb up Camí de Monnàber, the path leads to an area known as Ses Planes, which overlooks the village of Fornalutx. The village can be reached along Camí des Creuer, while Camí des Mas leads to a spring called Font de s’Alqueria (5), close to the torrent. In Carrer de sa Font (6), you can see the painted tiles of two houses, Es Poador and Can Xoroi, the last of which still has an olive press. You can also see the tower of Ca n’Arbona, now the town hall. In Carrer de Cas Metge Mayol, the tower of another house, Casa d’Amunt (7), can be seen. This was formerly an inn known as Posada de Montcaire.
Torre de Ca n’Arbona (Vicenç Sastre)