Fornalutx is a much-visited colourful village located in the Valley of Sóller, in the centre of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Its origins go back to the Middle Ages and it grew up around the site of a primitive Moorish farmstead, as is indicated by the old streets in the highest part of the village, which are narrow, winding and steep. Nearly all these stone streets are stepped and are reserved exclusively for pedestrians. The entire village is of great architectural and aesthetic interest, with buildings kept in fine condition. The stone entrances, the austerity and simplicity of constructions, together with their ornamentation, mean that the houses of Fornalutx are fine examples of traditional Mallorcan mountain architecture, reflecting life in times gone by. The village is linked to agriculture, with vegetable, orange and olive cultivation being the driving force behind the economy until the 1960s, just as in the rest of the Valley of Sóller.
Before the arrival of mass tourism on Mallorca, there were artists and foreigners here, who were drawn to the area by the beauty of the landscape and the simple lifestyle of the locals. Some of these visitors live permanently here. Tourism here is heavily based on second homes and holiday apartments, as well as some hotels which are old houses which have been converted, both within the village and in the surrounding area.
As you enter Fornalutx you will come across the Casa de la Vila (Town Hall), which includes a defence tower which dates from the 17th century. The Parish Church is another of the village´s outstanding buildings; this was originally a 13th century Gothic construction, but it has undergone many renovations and its current style is more Baroque, with a single nave covered by a half-barrel-vault ceiling and lateral chapels.
The traditional art of painted tiles is very noticeable on the houses of Fornalutx, as in other Mallorcan villages, such as Sóller. This form of art comprises drawings from between the 14th and 19th centuries, normally in red, on the white background of the roof tiles from the projecting roofs which extend out over the façades of houses. The drawings are of geometrical and plant motifs, elements from everyday life, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, religious scenes, inscriptions and sayings. A technique with no perspective is used, with drawings limited to outlines with a few interior details. Apart from their decorative function, they also have symbolic meaning, as their purpose was to defend the house and its residents from misfortune.
The Correbous of Fornalutx
The most notable festival of Fornalutx celebrates the Nativity of the Mother of God, on 8 September. Within the festivities, one of the most popular and controversial events is the Correbous (Running of the Ox), which only happens at Fornalutx on Mallorca. The festival starts in the early hours of the morning, with traditional music from flutes, flageolets and tambourines, which announces the arrival of the ox to be paraded through the streets of Fornalutx, led on a rope round its horns by young villagers. Once the festival is over, the ox is taken to the slaughterhouse in Sóller, where it is killed. It is known that this festival was celebrated as far back as the middle of the 19th century.