Within the town of Escorca, in the heart of the Tramuntana mountains, lies the most worshipped Marian sanctuary. The site has been declared a historical-artistic monument. It is a spiritual centre for many and a symbol of Majorcan identity for others.
The oldest and most worshipped Marian sanctuary in the Balearic Islands is located in the town of Escorca. It is held by the diocese of Majorca and is run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (1891).
It was founded in the 13th century when, according to legend, an image of the Virgin was found by pure chance among the rocks. This image was later named Virgen de Lluc or Mare de Déu de Lluc.
The sanctuary can be accessed on foot or by public or private transport, by reaching the Plaza dels Pelegrins (pilgrims). From this point there is a view of the Escorca Council (to the left), the ‘porxets’ (to the right, a space originally used to take in the many pilgrims on horseback, but currently family cells) and the façade of the sanctuary (in the background).
The ensemble includes several structures. The most important one is the church, from the 17th century but refurbished in the 20th century under the guidance of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It includes, among other works of art, a ‘camerín’ with the Mare de Déu de Lluc, the ‘Moreneta’, patron saint of Majorca, the guest quarters (with 81 cells or rooms and 39 apartments with kitchen), ‘els porxets’, a museum (with a wide range of works), the historical archive (one of the largest sources of documents in Majorca, including books of the Priory and musical scores from different ages, among others), the British garden (where many plants from the island are collected, some of them endemic and some medicinal), a small cemetery and the mysteries of the Rosary (five stone monuments by architects Joan Rubió and Guillem Reynés and by sculptor Josep Llimona, who were assisted by Antoni Gaudí).
There is also a recreational area among the houses of Ca s’Amitger and Font Coberta, including fireplaces and firewood, tables, water, handicapped access, etc, two children’s playgrounds and two camping areas. It includes the so-called ‘Acolliment’ (1984), a large enclosure for religious, cultural or festive gatherings. There is a reception office that provides information about the visit, and several restaurants in the surrounding area where it is possible to enjoy local cuisine. Lastly there is a prestigious choir, the ‘Escolanía des Blauets’, the oldest choir in the Balearic Islands and one of the oldest in Europe. On Christmas Eve it performs the Song of the Sybil, included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Lluc is the starting and arrival point of many difficult and easy excursions, both for walking and cycling (for more information on camping areas, recreational areas and excursions, visit the ca s’Amitger estate). This is the most important centre in the Tramuntana mountains thanks to its natural setting. Even its access is spectacular because of the surrounding cultural landscape, with holm oaks and dry-mounted stone terraces.
This spiritual centre has historically been the goal of many pilgrimage routes from all over the island. There were three main paths (Sóller, Pollença and Caimari).