ALCUDIA TODAY, DIFFERENT ZONES AND SURROUNDINGS
Alcúdia is today one of the most celebrated towns of Mallorca. It enjoys a privileged geographic location: it lies in the North-east of Mallorca, 54 km away from Palma, in a peninsula that separates the bays of Alcúdia and Pollença. In its more than 30 km of coastline are pretty beaches with fine sand, steep cliffs and secluded coves of great beauty. This heavenly place did not go unnoticed to the cultures that inhabited the east corner and whose legacy can be seen even today. The Alcúdia of today is a calm place, equipped with the most modern infrastructures, inhabited by very diverse people and altogether build up a calm surrounding, ideal for resting.
As Alexandre Cuellar puts it in his book Cafè de Plaça: “(…) We could say many more things of this extraordinary town; we could still dedicate plenty of praises because it really deserves them. Every year we find new excellences, every year it gets a bit deeper in our hearts, every year we love it more”
ALCUDIA, THE HISTORICAL CENTRE AND SURROUNDINGS
The historical city of Alcúdia is the core of the borough of Alcúdia. Inside the mediaeval city people have been living for centuries and still today it is one of the most important towns. It is certain that the walled Alcúdia has remained too small to welcome the demographic increase and the successive migrations that have followed with the development of tourism since the 70’s.
Because of that Alcúdia has been expanding its borders. Gradually the farming land outside the walls has become building plots able to welcome the increase of population. The areas that have already been developed , Ca S’Anglès, S’Hort of ses Barreres, Ca Na Saloma, Ca Na Ferrera and Sa Pilota have made the walls of Alcúdia go forward in a figurative way. In 2005 it is reckoned to be living outside the walls over 6000 inhabitants.
PORT THE ALCUDIA, FROM THE BEACH TO ALCANADA
The other traditional inhabited area of Alcúdia is the one called Port d’Alcúdia, that includes the area that goes from the Alcudiamar Marina to Alcanada. Its heart is located in the small harbour where fishermen have lived for centuries . Its present appearance has been changing lately, it has been modernized but without forgetting its humble origins.
In the 50’s the traditional life of this place was altered with the construction of the thermal power station GESA (still its two towers can be seen) and of the adjacent village of GESA. All this promoted a strong demographic and labour increase that was followed by the extension of the comercial harbour.
Following the coastline towards the North we find Alcanada, a calm and exclusive residential zone of houses, that recently has often hit the headlines with the construction during the year 2004 of a 18-hole golf course.
The 2005 census records that in all this area live some 4,500 inhabitants, a figure that increases year after year.
Platja d’Alcúdia, the coastline ending to the Beach of Muro
Platja d’Alcúdia is the zone that most quickly has developed and the one that reckons to follow on the same pattern. Hardly four decades ago this area was nearly a waste land, consisting of a long beach, a zone of dunes and some farming land. With the tourist and real estate development has been built up a strong hotel industry that today has a capacity of nearly 30,000 beds.
This district stretches from the beginning of Platja d’Alcúdia until Platja de Muro. Besides the coastline, it includes the zones of Maristany, Lago Menor and Lago Esperanza. It is indeed in these two last zones where the tourist boom began and also where the first houses of the district were constructed. An upswing that is still on and affects hotels, off-site services and houses. 5000 people are reckoned to have a permanent residence in this area according to the 2005 census.
The residential zones that face North
This is the area that takes up most land on the map but that also is the least populated. The North district is made up by the zones of Son Fe, La marina, Manresa, Mal Pas and Bonaire, where 1,100 people live according to recent data, 2005.
The morphology is varied. For example Son Fe is located on the road from Palma to Alcúdia. It was traditionally a small village of farmers that now has been transformed into a valley with nice houses.
Manresa however is located near Alcúdia town, washed by the waters of Badia de Pollença. This population centre rose up with the 70’s economic boom. People of neighbouring boroughs like Sa Pobla or Inca found in Manresa the place to build their second homes.
Not very far away we find Mal Pas, also on the North coast of Alcúdia. Its origin is recent and it goes back to the last decades. It’s a place where rich people of Palma built their second homes. At the moment the inhabitants of this calm and beautiful zone are more mixed, due to the increase of foreign tourists (mainly English and German) that have chosen this place as their summer residence. The marina of Bonaire or e the Crocodile has given this area a greater category.
Natural Park of s’Albufera de Mallorca
S’Albufera de Mallorca is a wetland area, of approximately 2,580 ha with a perimeter of 32 kilometres, embracing part of the municipality of Alcúdia, Muro and sa Pobla, and has had extraordinary economic and ecological importance in this zone of the island. It is important not to confuse this lagoon, known as the big one, with the small lagoon at Pollença.
A large part of s’Albufera (1,700 hectares) conserves its natural characteristics intact, which make it a privileged place to be with an important environmental worth because it has remained relatively undisturbed for a long time period.
It is necessary to point out, however, that on the 3rd of November 2000 a fire destroyed a total of 450 ha of the area, 440 ha of which belonged to the Natural Park. Luckily, it wasn’t the nesting season and the ecological consequences haven’t been too devastating. In the spring of 2001 it will be possible to enjoy a total recovery of the affected area.
Here, the main vegetation is the canyet and the cesquera plants, which were formerly used on the island for, amongst other things, feeding livestock. During the months of summer, the sea water floods into s’Albufera, which during the rest of the year is nourished by fresh water running from the high ground. This causes salted earth. In these lands saltworts and rushes grow, but also it should be noted that so do elm trees, tamarisks and albàs.
The fauna that inhabits s’Albufera is as diverse as abundant. Counting only birds, there are about 230 species that live, nest or spend some time in this protected natural space. Of the ones that nest, it is important to highlight the coot, the cap-blau, the suís, the avisador and sedge-warble. However, there are also many migratory species which stop only to rest, such as flamingos or the limícoles, and also those who spend the whole winter such as ducks, herons… In the wetland areas, fish such as eels, sea-pechs, silverfish, amphibians and reptiles are also abundant.
With the arrival of mass tourism in the sixties, the landscape in the region of s’Albufera was dramatically altered along the coastal area, when large spaces were built on and lakes and canals were constructed around the hotels and apartment blocks.
To put a halt to this process and preserve the richness of the biggest wetland area of Majorca, the Balearic Government approved, in 1988, the creation of the first Natural Park of the Balearic Islands, with a total of 1,700 ha protected. Also, the area was declared ZEPA (Bird Special Protection Zone), and a Biosphere Reserve. Also, s’Albufera is included in the Ramsar treaty for the protection of wetlands.