Santueri Castle sits on top of a rocky outcrop some 475 metres above sea level. It is a stunning, well preserved castle with remarkable views of the south east of Mallorca and the Cabrera Islands on a clear day. The present walls date from the 14th century but a fortification has existed here since Roman times.
The castle's surrounding area has many caves, with archaeological remains much older, that highlight a continuous use of this space since prehistoric times, documented from Bronze Age period (about 2,200 BC), which could be defined as a sacred place of worship. Some archaeological samplings in the interior of the castle have revealed remains of Roman and Byzantine occupations.
It is believed that the enclosure already was used as a refuge, by the existing population in the surroundings, during the Islamic invasion of Mallorca (by the year 903 AD), and later returned to be used during the Christian reconquest by King Jaume I, in 1229.
It is from this time, the beginning of the 13th century, when we have more information about the Santueri Castle, which came into the hands of count Nunyo Sans until his death in year 1241, when it was inherited by his nephew the King Jaume I of Mallorca.
But, in 1248, during the conquest of Mallorca by King Alfonso III of Aragon, the castle's resistance was low, and surrendered after a few days of siege. From this date until mid-fourteenth century the castle was in operation at the continuing clashes over the ownership of the Kingdom of Mallorca.
Then the castle worked as a surveillance against possible attacks from the sea. At the end of the fifteenth century it is practically obsolete, though it was a point of resistance during the majorcan movement called “the Germanies', facing sieges between years 1522 and 1524, being the only one of the three majorcan rocky castles that remained loyal to the Crown, in all times.
After this stage, during 17th and 18th centuries, the castle remained more or less active against possible threats coming from the sea, but its degradation and loss of importance were increasing. In year 1,811 it was sold by the Spanish State to a private owner, and totally abandoned its role of a fortress.
You can now enter its interior where you will find a splendid central tower, ruins of ancient defensive structures, the old keeper's room, a cistern and many other constructions that tell the story of the life inside the castle. Additionally, you can enjoy the walls and towers and of course the views. There are plenty of hiking and cycling trails in the area, or you can drive right up to the castle by taking the road from Felanitx to Santanyi.
The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.