A port from a bygone age

Sailors engrossed in their everyday chores, a cigarette dangling from their lips, parents strolling along the seashore with their children as evening draws in, courting couples walking along beside the boats before they go out to fish. In the mid-1950s Melchor Guardia used his camera to capture absolutely beautiful images of bygone era that we can now only imagine through photographs.

Palma is a clear example of how old towns started to grow up around their ports. The capital of Mallorca, located strategically in the centre of the Western Mediterranean, was always a privileged enclave for commercial transactions between Europe, Africa and Asia. As recently as a century ago, the neighbourhoods of La Lonja, Santa Creu and Es Puig de Sant Pere formed an authentic port town in themselves, one where shipowners and corsairs lived alongside fishermen and sailors. They were years when the sea and the port imbued the city with life, and world-famous writers and artists like Gertrude Stein or Rubén Darío settled down to live very close to the port of Palma. The city gradually expanded, to the extent that, in the 1960s and ‘70s, the motorway that still connects the airport to Calvià was constructed. What on the one hand represented a step forward in terms of communications, on the other hand came down like a scalpel, severing the close relationship these neighbourhoods had with a sea that had hitherto practically lapped up against doors of their homes. The plan for the city’s new Paseo Marítimo, which is already [...]


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