Excursion to La Trapa (Andratx).
La Trapa is a 75 hectare estate, located at the extreme south east of the Tramuntana mountain range just opposite the island of Dragonera. La Trapa is made up of two valleys which face west and which end with a cliff overlooking the sea. It belongs to the municipality of Andratx, the place with the least rainfall on the island and it has an annual mean temperature of 17ºC. These factors condition the high arid landscape, which in addition to its numerous forest fires which have occurred in La Trapa contrast with the green and fertile “marjadas” which cover the two valleys of the estate. The place where the La Trapa houses can be found was an ancient Trappist Monastery.
From a cultural point of view, the history of La Trapa begins in 1810 when a commune of Trappist monks went to live on the estate. They were running away from the French revolution and Canon Pere Roig placed a property which he owned in the Sant Josep de la Palomera in s’Arracó at their disposal, today known as La Trapa.
The commune was made up of 8 priests and 32 laymen, directed by Abbot Simeó Carracedo. In addition to taking a vow of poverty they also took a vow of silence. They communicated through gestures and hand signals and they did not maintain any kind of relationship with outsiders. They were only allowed to communicate verbally with the Abbot but only in cases of extreme necessity. In La Trapa, only the bread friar who spent his time collecting money maintained a relationship with other people. That is why he lived in a small cabin away from the other monks, a cabin which still stands today.
In addition to their peculiar lives, these monks were strict vegetarians. They slept on hard surfaces and they spent their time working on the land and in prayer. The work of these monks completely changed the aspect of the valley. After them La Trapa has changed hands various times. The monastery has been turned into a grand mansion and has suffered changes and has been adapted to new uses. Nowadays it belongs to the GOB (Balearic ornithological group) and its use is focused on nature conservation, investigation, excursions and environmental education.
The slopes of La Trapa, as were all the Tramuntana mountains, were formed about 16 million years ago, in the Alpine Orogeny era. All the most representative elements of the mountain range are present in La Trapa, from the sea right up to the base of the cliffs, clays from the superior Triassic period abound, on top of these elements and on the two slopes of the valley, rocks which were formed in the lower Jurassic period, etc. appear. This sequence appears again further up, right up to “Els Puntals” in La Trapa which stands at 460 m.
The vegetation is formed mainly of two biological communities: The garrigue vegetation which is the most important in the area being the highest growing vegetation compared with rosemary which makes up the lowest growing shrubs. When it comes to the fauna, 80 species of birds have been spotted in La Trapa of which half have been identified. The most important of which are the Marine eagle, red billed gull, etc. Among other vertebrates, frogs, reptiles like the dragon, the garrigue snake and mammals such as rabbits, hedgehogs, etc. are important.
Among the most important places to visit is the La Trapa House which is in fact a series of buildings that show popular Majorcan architecture and which have a chapel. In the grounds we can enjoy the view of Dragonera island and the view of the “marjades” and the mines. The astounding engineering feat of the building of these “marjades” as well as the water extraction mines which were built without using any kind of cement between the stones must be mentioned.
La Trapa can be accessed along three roads: From Sant Elm, along the Ca’n Tomeuí road (1 hours drive) or rather along the road which goes through Collet de La Trapa and lastly along the Coll de Sa Gramola road at the 106 km point on the Andratx-Estellencs highway, this being the most recommendable, passing by Cap Fabioler and going down towards Sant Elm along the Ca’n Tomeuí road.
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