The Ultra Trail of the Serra de Tramuntana follows a route called GR-221, the route of the dry stonewalls.
The dry stonewalls are constructed exclusively or almost exclusively with stone, without the use of cement, mud, or grout. This kind of construction isn’t just found in Mallorca. There are other places in the Mediterranean Sea, like Valencia, Corsica, parts of Italy, south-east of France and other parts beyond this area, which work with this kind of construction. In Mallorca the routes are highly developed and famous examples are the Banyalbufar area or the Biniaraix ravine.
The Baranc de Biniaraix route turns to dry stone
The Consell de Mallorca decided some years ago that this architecture should be documented, protected and restored. This decision was intensified by the “marger” office, which has professional craftsmen, who know how to build such a construction and so, they started many restructuring programs.
An important part of this project was the implementation of dry stonewalls into this route. One road, which goes from south-west to north-east of the Serra de Tramuntana, links old streets which are made of dry stonewalls. Trails are marked, purged and in some parts restored. This road is called GR-221. The signage is adjusted to the natural environment. It is not easy politically to pursue this in all the mountains.
The origin of these roads is diverse. Some of them were between cities or between cities and lodge’s or between possessions and fields. Some roads have a certain purpose:
- Snow roads, which link the snow immersion with the main road
- Roads of the coal industry, which are numerous in the Serra de Tramuntana. They link the coal and lime pit. The industry develops here.
- „Recreational“-road, which was built by the archduke Luis Salvador to watch the landscape and the sunsets over the sea.
- Pilgrimage roads, such as the pilgrimage of Lluc. In the 15th century the bishop of Mallorca presented indulgences (40 days of forgiveness) if people repaired the roads of the pilgrimage.
An important example of dry stonewalls is the Biniaraix ravine. The origin of this path is still highly discussed, but it is likely that it formed the connection between colonies and the Cuber Almallutx ravine and Sóller.
Patches („Marges“) and olive trees in the background; in the foreground a bole bridge and cobblestone in order to cross the torrent of the Biniaraix ravine.
The Ultra-Trail of the Serra de Tramuntana passes the road of the Biniaraix ravine, plus the snow roads in Coll de Massanell and the Voltes del Galileu, an important part of the Archiduc de Valldemossa al Teix road and other antique dry stonewalls.
The architecture of the dry stonewalls isn’t just used to build roads. There are numerous amounts of rural constructions, which use this technique, too:
- Separating wall. To define possessions or cattles.
- Patches („Marges“). Dry stonewalls, which serve to obtain or retain horizontal surfaces, which are used to add buildings, are called „marjada“.
- Hydraulic systems such as water fountain, water wheel, spring, …
- Snow industry such as snow fountain, roads and cottages.
- Coal industry to burn wood and coal.
Bancales de Banyalbufar. Carbonera. Al fondo resto de cabaña.
Més informació sobre la la pedra en sec i el GR-221:
- Pedra en sec i senderisme a Mallorca. Consell de Mallorca
- Projecte REPS (Réseau Européen de la Pierre Sèche o Xarxa Europea de la Pedra en Sec),
- Camins de Mallorca. Web interessant amb l’estat dels camins de Mallorca.