Sóller is located in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana, known as the “Valley of the orange trees” due to the large number of orange trees found there. But Sóller is not only famous for its orange trees, it also has a rich history dating back to Roman times. Would you like to know more about it? So stay until the end of this interesting article…
History of Sóller
The town of Sóller lies in a valley surrounded by mountains, and for centuries, the only way to reach it was via a narrow road that connected it to the rest of the island. However, at the end of the 19th century, a train was built connecting the town with Palma de Mallorca, which allowed Sóller to develop and prosper economically.
For many years, Sóller was an important center of citrus fruit production, especially oranges. Orange trees have been grown in the region for more than 700 years, and today, the Sóller Valley is still the largest producer of oranges in Mallorca. Sóller oranges are known for their sweet taste and their thick, easy-to-peel skin.
Es Firó: the traditional festival of Sóller
But the history of Sóller is not limited to the production of oranges. During the Middle Ages, the town was an important trading center and a strategically important port. The town was also invaded by pirates several times, which led to the construction of the Torre Picada, a defensive tower that still stands on the hill above the town and from where, as early as May, the flags of Es Firó fight, one of the most important and popular festivities in Mallorca, are flying in the town in honor of the town’s patron saint, the Virgin of Victory. This festivity has a long history dating back to the 16th century.
Legend has it that in 1561, Ottoman pirates attempted to invade the town of Sóller and steal the image of the Virgin of Victory, which the local inhabitants had hidden to protect it. However, the pirates discovered the location of the image and began to carry it through the streets of the town towards the port. At this point, the inhabitants of Sóller armed themselves with everything they had at hand, including knives, sticks and work tools, and took to the streets to confront the pirates. After a hard-fought battle, the inhabitants of Sóller managed to recover the image of the Virgin of Victory and expel the pirates.
Since then, every year on the second Monday in May, Es Firó is celebrated to commemorate the victory of the inhabitants of Sóller over the Ottoman pirates. During the festivity, the battle is recreated with a theatrical performance in which the actors wear period costumes and fight in the streets of the town with wooden knives and swords. In addition, the image of the Virgen de la Victoria is carried in procession through the streets of Sóller and various cultural and religious activities take place.
Es Firó is a much-loved festivity by the inhabitants of Sóller and a tourist attraction for visitors who want to get to know the rich history and culture of the island of Mallorca. It is a unique celebration that has maintained its tradition and authenticity over the centuries, representing the courage and determination of the inhabitants to defend their town and its cultural heritage under the cry of “A la lluita, sollerics”.
Today, Sóller is a popular tourist destination due to its impressive modernist architecture, beautiful harbour and breathtaking scenery. Visitors can enjoy a ride on the historic train through the hilly landscapes, visit the church of San Bartolomé or simply stroll through the town’s cobbled streets and enjoy the views of the orange groves.
In conclusion, Sóller is a town rich in history and tradition, known for its orange groves and stunning scenery. If you are visiting Mallorca, you can’t miss the opportunity to explore this hidden gem in the orange grove valley either on foot or along the coast.