Nowadays everyone loves the Mediterranean. But not so long ago, only fishermen and seafarers lived near the sea. They respected, and often feared, the power of the sea. And for some it was rather a place of departure than a destination. A visit to the Museu de la Mar in Port de Sóller always reminds me of my own childhood. When my father was a captain in the merchant marine and sailed the seven seas.
The sea museum tells stories that have become an integral part of Mallorca’s maritime heritage. Stories about hard work and poor living conditions, about migration and prosperity, sailor’s stories about shipwrecks, pirates and lighthouses, about shipbuilding and other maritime skills. At the same time it is dedicated to current maritime projects and education.
Housed in the medieval Ermita de Santa Catalina the Museu de la Mar is a marvelous place. High above the sea, overlooking the bay of Port de Sóller to one and the Mediterranean Sea to the other side. Sometimes I just come here to sit on the wooden platform and watch the seagulls sailing in the wind.
In fact, Mallorca’s Maritime Museum currently has two sites. Next to the one in Port de Sóller there is a second sea museum in Palma, located in the cultural center of Ses Voltes at Parc de la Mar. Admission is free at both venues.
Diving into the history of the Mediterranean I love to remember the wonderful phrase by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
Museu de la Mar
Santa Catalina d’Alexandria, 54
07108 Port de Sóller
T 971 632 204
Museu Marítim de Mallorca
Passeig d’Alt Murada, 1a
T 871 00 34 34