Thursday, January 24, 2013

Minorca verses Mallorca

At one point on our special 2012 DSWAC walling tour we travelled from Mallorca to Minorca. As we toured Minorca it became apparent that the complex network of dry stone work criss-crossing the island was very different from the walls we had been investigating in Mallorca.   Minorca is nearly all free standing walls. Mallorca is mostly retaining walls.

Frédérique explained to me when we got there that Minorca has a very different walling culture than Mallorca

Minorca is the northern islands of the Balearics, in the Mediterranean Sea between Spain and Italy,

Ibiza and Mallorca are known worldwide but not Minorca where the landscape has nothing in common with Mallorcan high mountains. There everything is flat and full of standing walls to keep the cows controlled rather than terraced the way Mallorca is to facilitate the growing of olive trees. 

Every farmer on the island is able to wall properly. There are a lot of very good wallers among them, as can be seen when visiting the big "barraques" . While the tradition is still alive, there is no school or anything organized the way it has been established in England and France and there are certain problem now arising because of this.  The economic and unemployment crisis affecting all of Europe — and felt very acutely throughout Spain — coupled with many of the old wallers retiring or dying will likely result in the tradition being forgotten if nothing is done very soon. Even on Minorca (as well as the walling community worldwide) people need to be more conscious of that issue.

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