ESRA Mallorca

English-Speaking Residents′ Association - Mallorca

Sep 22, 2017

2015 - South-West District Treasure Hunt 'round Palma


Our island capital, Palma, has a wealth of heritage and culture that largely goes un-remarked by those who insist on going everywhere by motor car. To really appreciate what the ancient city has to offer, you need to view it on foot.  But, with a structured walk rather than an aimless ramble. Hence the idea of a “Treasure Hunt” was born and has become an annual item in our varied events list, finding a welcome place among the coach outings, boat trips, talks and Quiz mornings.

The latest one, blessed with fine weather and fortified by their morning coffees, saw 53 treasure-seekers, divided into teams of two or three, set off around the streets of what was once Palma’s major Jewish Quarter.

 
Picking up the Questions and Maps   Francinaina, one of the Town Hall Giants
 
“What is that object up there”   “Are you sure that’s the right answer?”

The discoveries they were required to make included,

  • - the Giants in the Town Hall Foyer;
  • - the method of transport displayed in the courtyard of Can Vivot;
  • - a mediaeval pawn shop; 
  • - the square named for the Saint whose name was used as a battle-cry in the Spanish-American War;
  • - the statue of a famous Jewish Map-Maker
  • - the building and church which was the original headquarters of the Templar Knights;
  • - a house wall with a cross carved by a Jew convert to show he wasn’t back-sliding.

Below are some of the answers the “hunters” were seeking.

 

Plaza Santa Geronimo.

During the Spanish-American War, Spanish troops used “Geronimo” as a battle-cry, from where it eventually became the cry used by American paratroops as they jumped from their aircraft

 

El Temple

Originally part of the City fortifications, it was used as a treasure storehouse by James 1  after the conquest, and became headquarters for the Templars, whose church is still contained within the building

 

Note the cross carved on the wall at left. Many of Mallorca's Jews faced with the choice of death or conversion to Christianity, chose the latter but needed to convince the Inquisition that they hadn’t reverted to Judaism. Hence the cross.

 

In the 14th century,  Abraham and Jafuda Cresque were considered Europe’s greatest map-makers.  The maps created by the father and son were as nuch works of art as of cartography, and they are preserved in the Biblioteque de Paris. The statue is of the son. Jafuda.  

 

The real purpose of the “hunt” however, was to provide members with an insight into the history and culture of Palma in a pleasant and fun way. In all, tthe hunters had 26 clues to follow which might seem like no easy task. Still, the winning pair managed 22½ points and four others scored 22. It had been arranged to be a two-hour walk, while exercising the faculty of observation, and that seems to have been just what was needed to whet the appetites of our clue solvers. After, there was a sit-down lunch at Celler Sa Premsa and no one left the table still hungry.

Given the requests for a repeat, – it seems to have been  a successful and pleasant outing for all.

Jim wallace



Back to list of articles