The Santuari de Santa Maria de Lluc is a place of pilgrimage in the Tramuntana mountains dating back to the 13th century. It is a huge site, lying isolated in an altitude of 525 meter, encircled by 1000 meter high mountains. Being a sanctuary and not a cloister inhabited by monks, it is seen as the spiritual center of the island and secular national symbol. The Majorcan patron saint ‘Mare de Déu de Lluc’ (Mother of God of Lluc) is worshiped at the Santuari de Lluc and you can find her in the form of a black statue of the virgin Mary.
Almost one million visitors pilger to the sanctuary every year, either for religious reasons or to visit this grandiose place with its impressive buildings including among others a museum, a church and a botanical garden. Reaching the sanctuary, you will first enter the Pilgrims’ Square, with the sanctuary building straight ahead, the Town Hall to your left and a rustic porch to your right. The porches are declared as a historical-artistic monument and were originally used to house the pilgrims and are now turned into souvenir shop. Sitting under the shade of porch roof, you will see the drinking fountain featuring busts of three famous Majorcan men of letters: M Costa i Llobera, Ll Riber and Antoni Maria Alcover.
Construction for the pilgrimage church began in 1622, but it was not until 1961 that the renaissance building was finished. Since 1962 it carries the courtesy title ‘Minor Basilica of Lluc’ declared by Pope John XXIII. The ground plot is laid out as a Latin cross, in the center of this cross you should look up to the richly decorated cupola featuring the 12 apostles. Inside a small side chapel at the back, you will find the black statue ‘Mare de Déu de Lluc’, well protected in a golden adorned alcove. The ‘Moreneta’ is made up of painted sandstone and dates back to the 13th-14th century.
An interesting museum is located in the main building of the sanctuary. Besides an archaeological collection, it also shows the gifts offered to the Virgin over the centuries. After its opening in 1952, the collection got expanded in 1971 with a donation by Antoni Mulet i Gomila. New exhibits include local costumes, pottery, traditional furniture, jewellery, paintings and religious objects. In 1984 a modern art and sculpture collection was added. Furthermore, you will find rooms dedicated to Spanish painter Josep Coll Badolet and the collection Bujosa Rosselló displaying the family firm’s typical Majorcan textiles.
The pilgrimage site ‘Hill of the Rosaries’ can be found walking up a stone path behind the Restaurant for about 30 minutes. According to the legends, this is the spot where the Holy Figure of the Virgin of Lluc was discovered. On your way up – which is a beautiful walk overlooking the green countryside – you will come across five stone monuments with bronze relieves featuring ‘Joy’, ‘Pain’ and ‘Glory’. You will also find different sun dials along the path. At the summit you will have a splendid view over the red roofs of the sanctuary, the green and rough Tramuntana mountains and the Lluc valley.
The botanical garden features mainly endemic plants and aromatic and medicinal plants. The site also has a restaurant and sleeping facilities. The Sanctuary is also famous for its boy’s choir – which since some years also includes girls – ‘Els Blauets’ (the blue ones) which is assembled by the boarding school students of the College of Lluc. You can hear them sing every morning at 11 o’clock if they are not on holidays.
From Inca drive the road MA-2130. This road will take you to the intersection with the MA-10 where you follow the signs to Lluc.