Els Calderers, a living time capsule
Imagine a Mallorca without beach life. Not a single hotel for miles. No cars or taxis to take you on your way. Difficult isn’t it? But life was like that right here and not that many years ago. In fact, why not see for yourselves?
Near to the villages of San Joan and Vilafranca lies the estate known as “Els Calderers”. With a history dating back to 1285, it is one of the most imposing properties of the Mallorcan Plain, an area of flatland as precious and lucrative to Mallorca at the turn of the 20th Century, as it’s coastal resorts are today.
In the early 1900’s, soil was indeed more valuable than sand and Els Calderers was an important working farm, employing more than 40 staff to work some 400 hectares of the richest fertile land on the island. Since then, the agricultural economy has suffered dramatically and the costs of maintaining such an estate are high, so the present owners decided to open its manor house doors to the public, enabling them to still manage 70 hectares of cereal crop, 15 hectares of almond trees plus a vineyard.
“But a stuffy museum was not what we wanted to create”, says Javier, a family member of the present owners. “We wanted to recreate a living working environment, reenacting life as it was in about 1910”. And that is what they have done. Right down to the farmyard animals. Each room in the beautiful 3 storey house has been carefully assembled as though still occupied by family and staff of this era. A workers shirt lies by the side of his bed as if he has just arrived from the fields, the dining table is laid awaiting a hungry family and seasonal flower arrangements decorate the entrance hall. “And we light the fireplaces in the winter months as well, to recreate the same atmosphere” says Javier.
Els Calderers produce their own jams and sobrasadas, which visitors can taste whilst wandering through this blast from the past, through the family areas to the staff quarters and into the cellar stocked with ancient bottles of wine produced from their original vineyard before it was destroyed by the vine pest Phylloxera in 1902.
The lush, cool interior patio and the shady terraces that surround the property would have provided much needed reprieve from the heat of the summer many years ago. Visitors can now relax there, enjoy a “Pan amb oli” from the small bar and reflect on a different kind of Mallorcan life, now gone forever.
Els Calderers is open all year to the public from 10am – 5pm. For more information, see their website www.elscalderers.com