Dear nightly walkers,
This year we are closing the circle, since this edition of Contrallum, night of lights and heritage of Sineu, is taking place on November 11th again (11/11), Saint Martin’s Day, as it was in 2016, when the first edition took place.
Like every year, we invite you to take a walk and discover some streets and corners where we haven’t been yet. Once again, we are playing with light and creativity, highlighting some place names, local history, houses and buildings, past times, the current ones, and their dilemmas, which are ours.
We hope that the darkness gives us light and that you have an amazing walk.
Thanks to municipal library, municipal maintenance team, CEIP Rodamilans, CentMat, IES Sineu, CIFP Joan Taix, Dimonis de sa Cova des Fossar, Flowerscence, Frontó de Sineu, Díngola, Joan Vanrell, Massay Fotografia, Muchal Foundation, Pep Lluís Pol, Pep Tronik, Policia Local, Protecció Civil.
Special thanks to the neighbours who have opened their homes to set up and/or give us light, to the artisans who have helped us in the preparation and assembly of the constructions; to the AECC, to Clean&Go Lavanderia and to the bars and restaurants who have collaborated with the collection of materials, to the citizens who have provided them, and to the team of volunteers who have made this event possible.
1. Leonardo’s Cupola
2. Son Sabater’s Storm
3. Painted Tiles
4. The Harmony of The Peace
5. The Cloisters’ Satellite
6. Street Roses
7. The Old School
8. Closed Access
9. Son Costa’s Ladders
10. Northern Sheep
11. The Shadows of Frontó
450 years after Leonardo’s death, Rinus Roelofs –the Dutch sculptor and mathematician— managed to interpret and decipher the geometric drawings that the Florentine genius had left on some pages of the Codex Atlanticus without any further explanation. They were in fact blueprints of modular cupolas; simple structures built from identical pieces. They were named by the architects as reciprocal frames.
The characteristics of these assemblies are that all pieces look exactly the same and the importance of teamwork: the moment one fails, everything crumbles. In fact, it is a question of starting the house from the roof, of raising the project towards the sky without ceasing to touch the ground, making the sides grow. The result is a light and transparent structure that, here, for the first time, cupola over cupola, layer over layer, shines and sheds the interior light that we all have.
This construction has been loaned by CentMat and the accompanying music is “Spiegel im Spiegel” by Arvo Prät. The land where it is placed is known as s’Alou, whose name’s origins are linked to the fact that the owner loaned small pieces of land for long time periods in exchange for an annual fee: an “alou”. In 1934 the land was parcelled up into sites and the immediate consequence was the closure of “Camp de s’Alou”, located on the lower, flat part of the estate, where “Futbol Club Sineu” used to play.
A considerable number of streets in Sineu have a family name –considered from high social class—where their residence used to be located. A clear example of this would be the street we are crossing now, “Carrer de Son Sabater”. Here was the country house of the Sabater family. Over the entrance doorway, there is a window with a parapet whose lintel has a frame with a small relief around the shoe representing the family ‘s coat of arms.
Sister Elisabet Sabater i Noceras (Sineu, 1724 – 1769), an enclosed nun of the Monestir Concepcionista, was born in this house. Due to having lived according to Christian values and having resisted the devil’s temptations, she became venerated by the villagers of Sineu after her passing until the closure of the monastery in 2016. Today, it is owned by the Gacias family.
Storms are natural meteorological phenomena which can turn into catastrophes due to different causes, such as human actions, among others. Unfortunately, in the last few years, due to climate change, which is accelerated by humans, storms causing collateral damage have become more and more present in our surroundings. Thus, taking care of the planet is everyone’s job. And if you don’t want to soak your feet with this construction, put your rain boots on!
This street takes the name of the Salvà family, who lived in several houses located on this street (1607). Shortly after the foundation of the nunnery of Jesús-Maria in 1677, the house they had established became insufficient and they started purchasing adjacent houses to enlarge the nunnery. Between 1667 and 1668, they bought the Salva’s houses among others, and over them, the current building was constructed. Nowadays, it is the town hall.
The urban nomenclator of 1864 –officially in Spanish— fixed its name as “Calle Salvá”. However, popularly and until recent years, it was known as “carrer de ses òlibes” (owl street) since specimens of this night bird built their nests inside the conventual church porch.
Following the tradition of Majorcan house building, the cornice tiles were painted to protect the house. Some of them are still preserved in the current building, the town hall. For this reason, the pupils of elementary school CEIP Rodamilans painted these tiles using the same technique as the original ones in the building.
4 – The Harmony of The Peace
The construction of the current conventual church started in 1793 and it was extended until 1818, following the instructions by Friar Josep Seguí (Palma, † 1820). The temple was blessed in 1812 and, while in use, during 1814 the choir and the entrance at the foot of the church were still in construction. This was executed by the master builder Josep Tugores i Fontcuberta (Sineu, 1765 – 1838), who belonged to a family of habitual builder masters in the new church’s construction.
Currently, religius acts are not held in the conventual church; the space is open to the public on Good Friday, where the brotherhood’s penance processions which participate in the Holly Week can be seen.
Churches are spiritual symbols; for this reason, here we wanted to represent, in a simple way, the warmth of the candles and the music accompanying us today, in order to articulate our own communitarian narrative towards the transcendence of a world needy of respect and PEACE.
The cloisters of the conventual church of Jesús-Maria –of the Order of Minims friars— have a cistern and a well, which predate the establishment of the monastery, and which are currently covered. The cistern water is the freshest in the whole village, thanks to an underground cavity where the air stream circulates, which connects the rainwater tank with the well and preserves it at the same temperature throughout the year.
After its secularization (1835), the building became municipal property and many villagers used to go to collect water from the cistern for their own use. During the drought of 1896, an edict had to be made “so no one would take more than a pitcher of those which pass through the hole, from the door which closes it, every time they go to the cistern.”
Here you have a fragment of the poem “Moon and Cloisters” by David Jou, physic and poet:
When everyone has left and the cloisters are empty,
Like a well of peace,
Like a cistern of calm and quietness,
Like a secret oasis of silence and solitude,
How big does the moon that pierces it look!
The previously known as “Carrer de les Roses” was fixed in the urban nomenclator of 1864 –officially in Spanish— as “Calle de la Rosa”. In 1953 the city council agreed to name it after Mn Rafel Ignasi Rubí i Pocoví, author of the enlargement of the parish church: “Calle Ecónomo Rubí”. In 1987, along with the normalisation of street names in Catalan, the Informative Commission of Culture decided to recover “Carrer de les Roses” as its official name. Sadly, when the tiles with the street names in Catalan were placed, the final name was “Carrer de la Rosa” – “rose”, in singular— as it was translated from its Spanish version, which was singular, instead of recovering its original name, which was plural.
The rose is the sovereign flower in any garden for its beauty and elegance, for its scent, which is quite delicate depending on the variety. It is also a symbol of love and passion, and the reason why we gift them on Saint George’s Day.
The roses which form this construction were made in cooperation with the vocational training students on Electronics and Electricity and the Arts department in IES Sineu, along with the volunteer team of Contrallum.
Rafel Sitjar i Servera (Porreres, 1835 – Sineu, 192), founder of the congregation “Germans de la Caritat Terciaris de Sant Francesc” which was dedicated to the education of poor children and the attention of the ill, founded a house in Sineu in 1886. The house –an old inn in Son Serra de Marina—was bought and its name became “Cals Hermanos”.
Once the founder had died without descendants, in 1923 the union with “the brothers of Christian Schools of La Salle” was approved, who stayed in Sineu until 1933, when they left the house. The building –which was owned by private citizens at the time— became “Colegio San Marcos”, commonly known as “es Col·legi”, until the 1970s.
Here is where the grandfathers and great-grandfathers of Sineu learnt to write, and when they barely knew how to spell their names had to leave school to work from dawn to dusk. However, girls and young women in Sineu didn’t attend school in “es Col·legi” but they learnt to sew with the nuns in “ca ses Monges”. Women’s education was not recognised as a right in Spain until 1970.
With the arrival of democracy, teachers became academically trained and, among other things, students were no longer educated by being slapped around. Today, boys and girls have the same opportunities. Education, teaching, and culture are the core of schools. We defend and value public, critical and quality education in Catalan!
“Carrer de la Raconada” (Corner Street) –fixed in the nomenclator of 1864 as “Calle Rincón” in Spanish— was an urban road, partly not passable because it was a rocky area, made up of two sections forming a small nook. This is the first street resulting from a planned action; in 1869 it was the subject of an aligners project by Gaspar Mas i Miralles, “Comelles” (Montuïri, 1817 – 1884). This entailed the expropriation of land and the levelling of the same to facilitate traffic, leaving some of the accesses impracticable. This is the case of the gate we see at the construction.
As well as the elevated door, which is impossible to access, our homes seem to end up being inaccessible for the inhabitants of Majorca. Urbanistic speculation and touristic exploitation have already arrived in our village, with rising housing and land prices, underestimating the agricultural usage of the land and filling the countryside with either luxury houses or illegal shacks.
As you can hear, with the song “Veniu a es Pla”, Ánimos Parrec captures this new reality in a very carefree way, but also with accurate and up-to-date criticism.
Since the 15th Century, Pere Costa is documented as the owner of the property Serritxola, which included Son Oliver. Thus, a large genealogy of property owners started in Sineu: Costa de Serritxola. A century later we have constancy of them owning an inn –with several houses and a winery— in the village: Son Costa.
The inn gave its name to the street which, from “Carrer dels Bous” leads to said houses. More recently, in 1927, the then-owner of Son Costa, Josep Ramis i Costa (Llubí, 1857-Sineu, 1941) ceded part of the house’s front yard to create a new street which would connect Son Sabater and Son Costa’s. As a sign of gratitude, the council gave this street the name of “Calle de Ramis”, which was maintained until 1987, when it was united with “Carrer de l’Aljub”.
As well as the name of this street, we can see that life in the countryside has changed its uses. These fig-picking ladders are an example of this, an ethnological element of our history whose use has been modified today to become protagonists of this construction.
The urban section of the road to Costitx was named “Calle Norte” with the official marking system of 1864. This street was lengthened when the carabineer Pere Jaume i Esteva (Sineu, 1853-1917) promoted the urbanisation of lands near the urban area known as “Lo Figueraletó” or “Les pedreres del Cós”.
In 1895, the province architect Joan Guasp i Vicens redacted the line-up project of these lands and two new streets were created, “of six metres latitude”: one linking the streets “Son Costa” and “de Nord” –current “Carrer de l’Aljub”— and the other linking the lengthening of “Carrer del Nord” with “Carrer de Son Costa”– a section of the current “Carrer del Frontó”.
For some hours, thus, with this construction, we have recovered the old function of this section because, before these lands were urbanised, there might have been many sheep grazing around.
Thanks to the people from Sineu we have been able to use and reuse polluting waste, giving it a second life. Reusing is part of a circular economy; the future will be circular, or it won’t be.
In 1945, a group of pelota enthusiasts acquired a plot of land from Rodamilans. They commissioned a local architect, Carles Garau i Tornabells, to design the project «Frontón, with its corresponding open-air changing rooms, toilets, lockers, etc.»; the works were carried out by the master builder and co-owner Miquel Campins i Bauzá, “Ros” (Sineu, 1889 – 1955).
In 1946 the «Sociedad Deportiva Club Frontón Sineu» was constituted with the aim of «promoting and exalting the sport of Pelota». “Frontó”, therefore, became a centre of attraction for several generations of people in Sineu due to the multiple activities that took place there, apart from the strictly sporting ones.
In 1976, Antoni Mestre i Frau Castanyer (Sineu, 1932-2020) bought the “Frontó” and ran it for a few years, but in the early twenties, the game of pelota lost popularity and the space fell into disuse. In 2022, Juan Fernández Mena has given a new life to the space, where numerous leisure and cultural activities are held, just like tonight’s.