The original settlement that later led to the development of Santa Maria is thought to have been built in Coanegra gorge, due to its fertile soil, available water and good communication links. The waters of Coanegra or Es Freu torrent come from the mountains that surround Orient valley. To harvest these waters, an indispensable network of water supply channels, aqueducts, ponds and flour or cloth mills was built on Son Pou estate. These water supplies filled the cisterns and water tanks of Santa Maria’s homes.
Coanegra and Son Torrella were lands settled on back in far distant times, as demonstrated by finds from the Roman, Paleochristian and Islamic periods, and they were known as a farmstead called Abdach.
Arcs de la síquia de Coanegra (Vicenç Sastre)
Coanegra can be reached from Santa Maria along the road of the same name and also from Alaró and from other routes outside the capital (Fora Vila). Close to the torrent is Son Torrella estate house (1), overlooking kitchen gardens and orchards at the foot of the mountain. Passing in front of the house is the old Alaró road or Camí Vell d’Alaró, part of which features a cobbled stretch of paving, together with Coanegra irrigation channel, which carried water from the spring of the same name to Santa Maria.
Camí de Coanegra is a track that leads down into a depression and on to Orient valley, noted for its ancient estates like Son Berenguer, Son Agulla and Son Oliver, where one of the water supply channel’s two aqueducts (2) can be found. The water supply channel starts at Coanegra spring, just after Son Pou estate house (3).
Coanegra valley features several items of ethnological interest, including stone huts, limestone kilns, the remains of charcoal furnaces and hillside terraces.
Tafona de Son Torrella (M. A. Escanelles)
Son Torrella estate house stands out for its big façade and large courtyard. Its big four-beamed oil press has recently been restored.
Bearing in mind how important water supplies were, Coanegra spring was documented as existing back in the 13th century, together with nine water mills. In the following century, the surrounding area was known as the Valley of the Mills or Vall de la Molinada. Over the centuries, it has produced forestry and livestock supplies, fruit and vegetables, olives, flour and cloth. There also used to be a little old church at the entrance to the valley. The old road from the capital to Alaró passes in front of Son Torrella and it still features a cobbled section thought to be of Roman origin.
Son Torrella (Vicenç Sastre)