Mallorca cannot be understood without its agricultural origins.The background of its traditional agriculture and, in particular, the olive groves of the Tramuntana Mountain Range, are a part of its natural cultural heritage. The cultivation of olives and the production of oil are the backbone of the island´s history and became the foundation of its gastronomic wealth. For centuries olive oil has been the motor of the island´s economy and life. The infinite olive terraces in the Tramuntana Mountain Range reflect the extraordinary importance of these groves for Mallorca.
Olive cultivation was introduced to Mallorca by the Phoenicians and the Greeks and later developed and refined by the Romans. The difficult mountainous terrain forced the ancient Mallorcan farmers to develop their technical ingenuity. Generation after generation moulded the landscape into a gigantic collective work of stonewalls, the so-called “marges”. With this technique, they managed to overcome the steep slopes and to avoid the erosion of the terrain up until today. Furthermore, by creating these plots of land, they were able to take advantage of the sun and avoid the cold winds.
This difficult to manage mountain terrain, together with the resistance of the olive tree and its great adaptability to the climate, played a considerable role in what is today the Tramuntana Mountains and really turned them into an institution as the true olive grove of Majorca.
Our olive grove is the fruit of the ingenious work of country people and without a doubt one of the most emblematic images of our landscape. But this natural beauty of Mallorca is closely related to traditional cultivation and farming on the island and without which it could not continue to exist, because a field is not a garden. Over thousands of years people have tended these fields to meet their basic needs - hard labour which today is little appreciated. In this sense, the farmers are the real “guardians of the countryside” and the true creators of the majestic beauty of the Tramuntana Mountain olive groves.
Image: "Camouflage" by Mati Klawein