Alcúdia is a town with strong ties with the Mediterranean Sea. It has been a means of communication and a key factor in its historical journey. The first inhabitants to settle here reached the island by sea. Following them came a succession of peoples and cultures who were attracted to this land for its mild weather, its great natural wealth and its strategic importance.
The town of Alcúdia has received recognition of its Historical and Cultural Heritage for its rich past and the legacy that these different peoples and cultures have left behind.
The first evidence of the presence of man in Alcúdia dates back to prehistory, more specifically to the periods known as pre-Talayotic and Talayotic. These were the first waves of human settlement that took place, firstly in caves and subsequently in talaiots, typical Majorcan and Minorcan constructions with a circular or square shape resembling towers, hence their name that comes from the Hispano-Arabic “talaya” or “atalaya” meaning “watchtower”.
Since then, Romans, Muslims and Christian conquerors have left their mark on Alcúdia over several centuries, right up to the present day.
The Roman City of Pollentia is worthy of special mention for being a strategic site in the process of the Romanisation that took place on the Balearic Islands. The remains of this city reveal to us an important nerve centre: a residential area with structures of houses, two main roadways, the Cardo and the Decumano, the public square or Forum, remains of several temples, the Roman Theatre, ruins of the city wall and various burial places. The arrival of the Vandals in the 5th century CE exacerbated the decline and downfall of Pollentia, which led to the subsequent disappearance of this major population centre.
Little information exists on the period when the Arabs dominated the city. It is known that it belonged to the district or juz of Bullansa, possibly an Arabised distortion of the term Pollentia that comprised the present-day municipalities of Pollença, Alcúdia, part of Escorca, Campanet and Sa Pobla (Huialfàs). The place name “Alcúdia” is of Arab origin (al-qudia) and means “the hill".
The Island of Majorca was incorporated into the Catalonian-Aragonese Crown after the conquest by King James I in 1229. After the conquest, Alcúdia was founded in 1298, when King James II decided that the Muslim farmstead of Alcúdia should be constituted as the “Vila d’Alcúdia”, an important population centre, and form the head of a parish. This foundation was principally in response to defensive and strategic requirements. As of this moment, construction work began on the medieval walls that would surround the city: over the next three centuries and several reigns, in modern, more contemporary times, the town walls were extended and underwent various modifications until they finally lost their defensive purpose and gradually deteriorated.
The layout of the town has been determined by the wall construction. In the historical centre there are also many Gothic and Renaissance houses that have undergone meticulous restoration processes, revealing distinctive elements such as doorways with rounded arches, decorated windows, stone façades and typical mares (sandstone blocks).The majority of the Gothic houses are simple and blend in with the Renaissance houses that were built from the 16th century onwards, when Alcúdia received a series of royal privileges after the “Guerra de las Germanías” (Revolt of the Brotherhoods) and the arrival in Majorca of the Emperor Charles V.
In the 21st century, Alcúdia is a now town that looks towards the future with optimism. It is a competitive destination that plays a major role in the north zone of Majorca, not only for its sun and beaches, but also for its broad range of additional attractions and amenities that it offers and the diversity of its tourist sector, with nautical tourism, bicycle touring, ornithology tourism, cultural tourism, etc.). The cultural management, the sporting provision and leisure activities it presents make this municipality an unmissable destination for all lovers of nature, recreation and culture.