THE central ministry of the environment will spend nearly 10 million euros on refurbishing the main building of the Raixa estate in Bunyola, under plans revealed yesterday by minister Jaume Matas. He was speaking at a press conference at the historic building, accompanied by Maria Antonia Munar, president of the Council of Majorca, who had earlier chaired a committee meeting on the estate, purchased by the ministry and the Council in January last year for 8.41 million euros. The estate will be the headquarters of the National Parks Foundation, and tenders are being sought for drawing up detailed plans of the main building and how it is to be refurbished. Details of the contract will be published in the Official European Communities Gazette in two months time and the winner will be announced six months later. Work must be completed within two years after that. In addition to the Foundation, Raixa will also be used by the Council of Majorca although plans to build a residence for visiting authorities on the estate have been ruled out. A total of 1.75 million euros has already been spent on restoring part of the gardens, repairing channels and pools and fencing the estate. Munar said “restoring this palace to its former splendour is very important to make Majorcans proud of what we were two centuries ago.” She was referring to the “golden age” of Raixa, when it was converted into an artistic centre by Cardinal Antoni Despuig (1745-1813).Matas and Munar later unveiled a bust of Despuig, who reformed Raixa, of Islamic origin, following classical Italian lines. Its gardens were once one of the island's biggest tourist attractions. Raixa has been featured in several films, including the Spanish film Bearn, the Agatha Christie thriller Evil Under the Sun, starring Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, and more recently for a remake of The Turn of the Screw starring Lauren Bacall.