The Serra de Tramuntana, the mountain range in Mallorca included on the Unesco World Heritage List, emerges majestically over the Mediterranean, sheltering the island from the north wind known as Tramuntana. The beautiful towns, the magical forests of oak and pine trees, the curved olive trees and the rugged mountains towering over the horizon of the blue sea have captivated many. Two of the most celebrated admirers were Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria and the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.
· Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria came under its spell in 1869, at the age of 20, and asked the Emperor of Austria for permission to establish permanently in Mallorca. He bought the Miramar estate and several properties between Valldemossa and Deiá. He fell in love with the island and learned the local language. He researched the flora and fauna, history and culture of the Balearic Islands and produced a nine-volume work titled Die Balearen in Wort und Bild (The Balearic Islands in Word and Image). He lived in the Serra de Tramuntana until falling ill, dying one year later in Bohemia. Isabella of Bavaria, the Empress Sissi, followed his lead and was likewise fascinated by the Serra de Tramuntana.
The mirador of Miramar, which once belonged to the archduke, is an ideal place to see one of the most wonderful sunsets on the island.
· Frédéric Chopin arrived on the island in 1838 for health reasons, travelling alongside the French female writer George Sand, and they ended up settling in the Charterhouse of Valldemossa.
In a letter to a friend he described Mallorca as follows: “The sky is turquoise, the sea is blue, the mountains are emerald green. The air… the air is blue, just like the sky. The sky shines all day long … In summary, life is delicious here!”
His health did not improve and neither he nor his lover managed to relate with the village folk, so they left the island in 1839.
At the Charterhouse you can see the rooms where Chopin stayed, as well as the piano he used to compose the greater part of the 24 Preludes, Op. 28.
Words will never suffice to describe what makes the Serra de Tramuntana so special and what it was that conquered Archduke Ludwig Salvator and Chopin. The only way to grasp its true charm is to see it for yourself and let it seduce you.
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