On The Road in The Gardens of Alfábia
The island of Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, has always been a nexus of various cultures native to the Mediterranean. Nowhere is this more clear than in the Gardens of Alfábia, a stately property which dates back to the country’s Moorish period in the 7th or 8th century BCE. The earliest version of the estate’s main building was Arabic; over the years, however, subsequent owners have added their own touches to both home and garden, incorporating Gothic, romantic, Rococco and even English elements into the property’s design.
Alfábia was originally designed to accommodate daily life with many servants. The quadrangle has scores of sleeping rooms for the staff, chambers, lounges for the aristocratic, a library, several stables, farmers rooms, and a chapel. No matter where you stand, beautiful views of the gardens and courtyard surround and enthrall. The planting combined here are magnificent– a showcase of human creativity and botanic simplicity– and every garden path brings sweet surprises. Thanks to the accommodating mountain climate of Mallorca, the garden is playground of species diversity; the mountains protect the property from cold wind and increase the likelihood of rain, which over centuries has driven the growth cycles of everything from lush palm trees to creeping vines. Alfábia’s central fountain, operable since 1245, originates in these mountains, within the nearby crags of Sierra de Alfábia.
Today, the property is privately-owned and many parts remain closed to the public, including large tracts of farming–but Alfabia’s history remains. The property is inextricably linked to the conquest of Mallorca by Christian forces under the leadership of Jaume I of Aragon–a reference that dates back to 1229, and includes cobbled pathways and lush swaths of garden on what was once a mountainous, uninhabitable outpost. Alfábia’s main building, rooms in the side buildings, and a large chunk of the outdoor garden are all open for visitors. Mystery awaits.