Mallorcas climate is very good for most plants except the purely tropical or arctic species. The dry period Mallorca has in summer has to be compensated with the right irrigation. This is illustrated by the fact that Mallorca’s most important industri, after tourism, is agriculture, with significant export. On the island there are many botanical gardens with different approaches, from those with scientific aspirations focusing on a particular theme (eg cactus plants or all Mallorcas wild plants or agriculture in ancient times) to parks with a certain botanical angle or pure nature reserves. For visitors with an interest in botany there are therefore many places to visit, often very beautifully planned and pleasant for a walk. I plan to write blog posts about some of them. In this post:
Marivent is a large villa with stunning location on a peninsula in the bay of Palma, surrounded by a very large park partly in French and partly in English style, all surrounded by a high wall. It was built by Juan de Saridakis (1877-1963), an engineer of Greek and Egyptian descent. He created a great fortune in Chilean copper mines. When he moved to Palma in 1923 he was therefore very rich. This was not what he wanted to be known for, rather as an artist and art collector. In 1925 he opened his magnificent villa, where he lived with his family and where he also had his art collection with over 100 paintings and over 1000 pieces of antique furniture. After the death of Juan de Saridakis in 1963, his widow donated the property to Palma City, with the provision that it would be opened to the public as a museum with the husband’s art collection. This is also the way it was initially, but after the death of General Franco, the authorities decided to close it to the public and assign it to the king as a residence when he is staying on the island (several weeks each summer, for example, in connection with the great regatta Copa del Rey). Because it is the king who will live there, the villa has been renamed palace.
Now it has been decided to open the French part of the park to the public during the time the king is not there. The open part of park is planned as a conventional French park. The statues in the park are by Joan Miró and it is one of the park’s attractions. They have been taken from the private collections of members of the Saridakis family. A plan over the park is placed near the entrance indicating the location and name of each statue.
The trees and bushes are those as used in most Mediterranean parks. The park is a quiet and pleasant haven in an area of modern urbanization, and the wall shields off the park from the surrounding buildings and from the city’s noise.
One reason I want to classify it as a botanical garden is that at the park’s entrance there is a large plan over the park where all trees and shrubs are shown each marked with a number. Thus, one cannot find a sign at each plant with its name, as in most botanical gardens, but those who are interested can look on this plan for the scientific name of each plant and also the name in Catalan, Spanish and English.
The entrance to the villa and to the park is on Avenida Joan Miró in Cala Major. Parking spaces may be sparse, I recommend the use of a bus to get there. Lines 3, 20 and 46 have stops (No. 67) outside. On the way home, bus 3 and 20 have a stop (92) a short walk towards the town on Carrer Joan Miró, bus 46 stops at Carrer Saridakis (stop 908). Opening hours can be found online: Marivent has no own internet site but the opening schedule is available on the internet sites of the local newspapers.
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