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History and culture of Deia

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History and culture of Deia

Not only modern-day tourists and artists from all over the world are drawn to Deia and the surrounding mountains. Throughout the centuries, this specific area of Mallorca has been attracting attention, and Deia is therefore rich on both history and culture.

The name of Deià (or Deya) comes from the time of the Moorish conquest of Mallorca, back in the 10th-13th centuries. The Muslims called the area ‘Ad-Daya’ which means ‘village’ and created the terraced irrigation systems that allowed the steep hillsides to be cultivated. Olive trees flourished up to an altitude of 600 metres, and today cover much of the hillsides above and around the town.

The idyllic landscape covered in orange and olive groves on steep cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean has served as a draw for German, English, and American expatriates since the First World War.

A village of artists

The English poet, novelist and scholar, Robert Graves, was one of the first foreigners to settle in the village where he collaborated with Laura Riding in setting up the Seizin Press. Graves returned after the war and remained in Deià until his death. He used the town as the setting for many of his stories, including the historical novel ‘Hercules the Shipmate’. His house Ca N’Alluny is now a museum that you may visit.

The Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria (1847-1915) was so captivated by the area that he purchased a number of estates in Mallorca including Son Marroig and the Miramar Monastery – located between Valldemossa and Deià. Both are open to the public and host events and concerts.

Deià has famously attracted artists, musicians and those in search of a bohemian lifestyle since the 19th century and is today still very much an artists’ town.

Many people also come to try growing as artists, taking courses, doing workshops, letting both the landscape and village life influence their art. Some of them fall so much in love with Deia, that they look for their own Deia dream home.


Explore more when you’re here

We have collected the most important information on the places to visit to learn more about the history and culture of Deià:

Cultural and historical sights and museums in Deia


If you want to know more about Deià and other villages in the Tramuntana Mountains, we recommend our Deià Guidebook.

To read about Deia’s different areas, click here.

Browse through our portfolio of Deia properties.

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