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Cultural tourism in Minorca

Singular Buildings

Ciutadella Cathedral (Ciutadella de Menorca)

The Cathedral is in the Catalan Gothic style of the 14th century, although it still retains the old minaret of the earlier mosque. It has a beautiful and ornamental Chapel de les Ànimes, dating from the 18th century.

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Naveta dels Tudons (Menorca)

This magnificent prehistoric monument, which is dated around 1500 B.C., belongs to the Early Bronze Age and according to all indications, had a secondary funeral use as a chamber for bones. Its excavation and restoration was undertaken in the 1950s. The Naveta des Tudons has horseshoe-shaped layout and the outside resembles an upside-down boat, hence its name (naveta is a diminutive of the Catalan nau, meaning shuttle). It measures 13.6 m long with a maximum width of 6.40 m and height of 4.5 m, structured in two superimposed chambers. It is the only construction of its kind, although parallels with other dwelling-type remains from the same era in Mallorca and Menorca can be found.

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The Fortress of Isabel II at la Mola (Menorca)

The Fortress of Isabel II, built between 1850 and 1875 on one of the most beautiful sites on the island of Menorca, is one of the finest examples of late nineteenth-century military architecture. Its strategic situation at the mouth of the Port of Mahon made it a key point in the island?s defence system. Nowadays, the fortress, which is also known as La Mola, represents an invaluable historical-military legacy set in a natural enclave of the first order.

The fortress was built in response to unrelenting pressure from the British, who threatened to return to the island and use it as a naval base in their skirmishes with the French to gain control of the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean waters were not calm after the Napoleonic Wars concluded in 1815 and the intersection of French and British sea-lanes had caused tensions to mount.

The fortress was outdated even before the construction work was finished. Instead of old-fashioned muzzle-loading guns, powerful breech-loading artillery was being designed with bored barrels to stabilise projectiles and improve accuracy.

This meant that the island?s entire defence system had to be reconceived and so a series of coastal artillery batteries were erected outside the walled fortification which defended the island?s coasts from a distance. With their powerful projectiles, they were capable of warding off any kind of invading vessel.

The periodic complementary activities organised inside the fortress include astronomical observations, photograph contests, exhibitions and antique markets.

Guided tours
Audioguides are available for those who wish to tour the fortress and get to know its salient features on their own.

info@fortalesalamola.com
Tel. +34 971 364 040 +34 686 659 400

http://www.fortalesalamola.com

http://www.cime.es/consorcio/index.html

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Fort Marlborough (Es Castell)

A large part of the fort is built into a wall of rock, imitating the landscape. There are three forts: the Castle of Sant Felip (ancient moats), Fort Marlborough and Stuart Tower (Torre d'en Penjat), the site of executions in olden days. The municipality of Es Castell takes its name from Castle Sant Felip. A very interesting trip to the Menorca of bygone times under British rule.

Tel. 971 360 462
Cala Sant Esteve
Es Castell

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SANTA ÁGUEDA CASTLE (Ferreries)

 

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Ciutadella Town Hall (Ciutadella de Menorca)

 

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Castell de Sant Nicolau, defence tower (Ciutadella de Menorca)

Today there are two defence towers along the Ciutadella coast: Castell de Sant Nicolau in the port protecting the harbour and Castell de Sa Caleta. The former dates from an earlier period than the other eighteenth-century defence towers and was built shortly after the city walls were reinforced. The French disembarkation of 1756, when they crossed the island to lay siege to Fort San Felipe del Morro, explains the importance of the defence towers in the port. During English rule, security measures were reinforced with the construction of Castellar de Sa Caleta, an anchorage close by.

Castell de Sant Nicolau has only one entryway, a rectangular door with Baroque-style decorations and bas-relief figures that represent the Crown of Aragon's coat of arms flanked by other, smaller coats of arms attributed to Menorca's Universidad General and the island's governor at the time. A winding staircase close to the door leads to the upper storey and continues to the top of a small watchtower, which possibly maintained visual communication with the watchtowers of Artruix and Bajolí. An eight-metre wide, two-metre deep moat with a working drawbridge in front of the door surrounds Castell de Sant Nicolau.

Nowadays, Castell de Sant Nicolau is open to the public in the tourist season and group visits can be arranged in winter by contacting the Ciutadella Town Hall in Menorca.

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Can Salort (Ciutadella de Menorca)

 

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Bastió de sa Font (Ciutadella de Menorca)

Pla de Sa Font, s/n

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Torre d'en Quart (Ciutadella de Menorca)

Carretera Cala Morell
The tower can only be visited from the road behind the fence.

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Museums and exhibition halls

Funeral Museum (Maó)

Cementerio de Maó
C/ Cos de Gràcia s/n

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MINORCA MUSEUM (Maó)

Avda. Doctor Guàrdia s/n

Tel. +34 971 350 955

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The Mahon / Minorca Cheese Museum (Ferreries)

One kilometre from Ferreries on the Hort de Sant Patrici farmstead is the Mahon / Minorca Cheese Museum, the only one of its kind in Minorca and the Balearics. This ethnological museum was created by the family in charge of the cheese manufacturing firm Hort de Sant Patrici by reforming an old warehouse that had been used for cattle raising and feeding until 1999 in order to preserve and disseminate the island of Minorca's cultural and culinary traditions.

The museum tour offers a chance to see how cheese was made by hand, thanks to a visual demonstration of the traditional process, including old artefacts and tools such as milk jars, presses, earthen tubs and graphic material on studies conducted by the Mahon-Minorca Cheese D.O.P. and other items. And of course, visitors can sample a wide variety of cheeses accompanied by local wines made on the premises.

The origin of the cheese-making tradition in Minorca is not known, but documents that refer to it date back to the fifth century, including an encyclical letter by Bishop Severo from 417, and there was a booming cheese trade with other points in the Mediterranean during the Middle Age.

Further information: Museo del Queso Hort de Sant Patrici

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Sa Farinera de s'Arangí (Es Mercadal)

Sa Farinera de s'Arangí in Es Mercadal is a series of structures that form the infrastructure of an old machine-powered flourmill that still boasts a spectacular brick chimney today.

The mill was converted to electric power with Swiss machinery in the early twentieth century. In the environs are a number of warehouses and the miller's house, which is currently being put to a different use.

These buildings are some of the only examples of industrial archaeology in Minorca .

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Municipal Museum of Ciutadella des Bastió de sa Font (Ciutadella de Menorca)

This bastion was built to protect one of the entrance gates in the Medieval walls which encircled the city and is located on one of the two cliffs which flank the port. The large rooms covered with magnificent vaults of limestone, which were originally used as storage places for the tithes, have been occupied by the Municipal Museum since 1995.

The permanent exhibition offers a tour through Minorca's history, from the Prehistoric Age to the Paleo-Christian and Muslim Period, up to the integration of the island into the Aragon Crown in 1287, to be precise. Everyday objects such as vessels and other kitchen utensils, combs and jewellery are displayed in its show cases.

Remains of Myotragus balearicus
A large part of the archaeological finds come from the excavations carried out in the last few years at different sites within the municipal district. Among the most representative collections are the finds from the Cova des Càrritx and the Cova des Mussol, as well as some interesting palaeontological examples of Myotragus balearicusrecovered from the Cova C-2 at Punta Nati, in the north of the district. This small antelope had a fundamental role in the first settlement phase of the island, but its mass consumption led to its extinction around the year 2000 BC.

Temporary exhibitions about palaeontology, archaeology, history and ethnography are also organised. The exhibition being held at present is entitled 'History of Ciutadella de Menorca through the pottery collection of the Municipal Museum', which is open until 27th September.

The Museu Municipal de Ciutadella des Bastió de sa Font is in the Plaça de sa Font.
Telephone: +(34) 971 380 297. 07760 Ciutadella.
Museu Municipal de Ciutadella
E-mail: museuciutadella@teleline.es

Opening times: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm. Closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.

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Art Galleries (Illes Balears)

Balearic Islands contemporary art on line magazine

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Museo Diocesano de Menorca (Ciutadella de Menorca)

Seminari, 7
Ciutadella
Tel. +34 971 481 297
Tuesday to Saturday 10.30-13.30
Monday, sunday and holidays closed.

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MINORCA MILITARY MUSEM (Es Castell)

Plaça Esplanada, s/n
Tel. +34 971 362 100, +34 971 365 947
Monday, wednesday, thursday and first sunday of every month
11.00-13.00

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ENVIRONMENTAL MUSEM (Ferreries)

It holds temporary exhibitions and organises excursions to discover the natural areas of the Island and the history and culture of the Minorcan people. Visits can be arranged through the GOB (the Balearic Environmental Association).

C/ de Mallorca, 2
Ferreries
Tel. +34 971 374 505
http://www.gobmenorca.com/cnatura

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Colection Hernández Mora-Hernández de Sanz (Maó)

Joan Hernández Mora was a great erudite Menorcan, with degrees in History and Law, who was born in Maó in 1902 and died in 1984. One of his last wishes was to donate his collections to the city council of Maó, which a few years ago created the Hernández Mora Museum.

This legacy brings together interesting examples of books, engravings and paintings of Menorca, a gallery of famous people, and the cartographic work and map collection of his father, Francesc Hernández Sanz, and his brother Francesc. Also on display are all types of materials and objects collected throughout his life.

The museum is organised as if it were a typical home of the Menorcan bourgeoisie. Its rooms recreate the atmosphere and history of the island and private life in the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries.

The funeral of a Russian prince who died in Maó

The museum is set up in the Carme complex, a convent built in the 18th Century which is outstanding for its large dimensions. Among its rooms is one dedicated to the 18th Century, with paintings by three great painters of that century; Giuseppe Chiesa, Pasqual Calbó and Antón Schranz. Through these works we can visualise the city at that time, its buildings, scenes depicting local customs and references to the great military feats which took place in Menorca during the period of domination.

One of the most curious paintings which is on display in this room is a drawing which is attributed to the Italian painter, Chiesa. It depicts in great detail the funeral of Andreas Spiridoff, a Russian prince who died in Maó in 1769.

Another point of interest is the old cloister, built between 1750 and 1808, and restored three years ago. At present it is used as a municipal market, where fresh quality products are sold on a daily basis.

The building also has other important elements, such as its dome and cupola with lantern, the profile of which stands out majestically against the horizon of the city.

The Hernández Mora Museum is in the Plaza Miranda of Maó. Telephone: (+34) 971 350 597. Open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. Entrance is free.

http://www.balearescultural.com/

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Molí de Dalt Ethnological Museum (Sant Lluís)

Molí de Dalt in Sant Lluís is a beautiful reminder of the three windmills that characterised the typical architecture of the village - founded by the French - for almost 200 years. This mill may have been erected at the same time the first settlers began to build their houses in the area. Years later, the largest of the three mills, Molí d?Enmig, began operating on the high street a few metres from the first mill in 1776. Finally, Molí de Baix was constructed on a plot of land on calle Conde de Lannion in the southern part of the village in 1780.

Molí de Dalt had wooden machinery with broad blades to harness wind power and rotate the mill that ground grain into flour. The mill was completely restored in 1987 and the blades and machinery for milling grain replaced.

The ground floor houses an ethnology museum that has an interesting collection of farming implements, tools and utensils from traditional rural life and trades now extinct on display.

C/ de Sant Lluís, 4
07710 Sant Lluís
Monday to Friday 10.00-14.00 / 18.00-20.00
Saturday and Sunday 10.00-13.00
Tel. +34 971 151 084

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Ateneo de Maó (Maó)

C/ Sa Rovellada de Dalt, 25
Tel. +34 971 360 553
Monday to Friday 10.00-14.00 Saturday 10.00-14.00
http://www.ateneumao.org

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Ecomuseum del Cabo de Cavalleria (Es Mercadal)

The Ecomuseo de Cap de Cavalleria is located in the area around Fornells and is a place of outstanding beauty between hills and still waters. It is run by the association Gestión del Patrimonio Mediterráneo (Administration of Mediterranean Heritage), formed almost completely by archaeologists and geologists.

The museum has two areas, one set up in the Lloc de Santa Teresa, a traditional Minorcan rural house, painted white and with a façade which has three arches. There is a didactic display here with full information about the nature of the area as well as the most important sites discovered up to now.

The rest is an open-air museum, a spectacular combination of unique countryside, traditions and traces of other civilisations. Converging here in these 19 hectares are an interest for botany, fauna, seafaring customs, agricultural and livestock farming, and the exploitation of the rock substrata... all added to the archaeological activity.

Sanitja, a 1st Century BC Roman site
A walk around this place provides the opportunity, among other things, to see the Roman site of Sanitja, which the experts date from the 1st Century BC and is the only one remaining from that period; a Roman town; the 18th Century Muslim mosque; an English tower dating from 1800; a 19th Century limestone kiln; or several calcareous rock quarries.

The main path is a narrow stretch of land with some tiny and charming jetties where small boats bob up and down in the calm waters. Here the fishermen continue to keep their old customs when working, which constitute an important ethnological element for the island.

At the end is the lighthouse, a magnificent building built in 1857 and which is privileged to be the oldest one remaining on Minorca. The place is fantastic and seems to form part of another world.

Ecomuseo de Cap de Cavalleria.
Predi de Santa Teresa. Cap de Cavalleria. Fornells.
Telephone and fax: +(34) 971 359 999.
E-mail: samisera@arrakis.es
Opening times: from 10 am to 8.30 pm july, agost, setember. 10 am to 19 pm april, mai, june, october

Ecomuseu Cap de Cavalleria

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MENORCA'S ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTRE. ART AND TRADITION (Es Mercadal)

This centre was created to be a reference point in Menorcan arts and crafts and defend and promote them. It is a showcase for a wide array of ancient trades that are still being practised today, such as tapestry repairers, silversmiths and beekeepers, etc.. All of their products can be purchased at the shop on the premises.
The Popular Crafts Show, a permanent exhibition, features the following elements:

- Dry Stone Wall:
Master Artisan Isaías Pons Florit.
This technique is used to built walls exclusively with stones, without any type of mortar or cement.
It has three main goals:
. To protect vegetation and crops from the island's prevailing winds.
. To remove stones from the land and roads to make tilling the soil easier.
. To allow livestock to graze in rotation, since it divides up the countryside.
This ancestral method is still in use today and it is estimated that 70,000 kilometres of dry stone wall can be found in the Menorcan countryside.

- Stone Cattle Shelters:
Master Artisan Isaías Pons Florit.
Menorca's farmers built these rural structures with dry stone techniques to shelter pasturing livestock from inclement weather.

- Wild Olive Tree Barriers:
Master Artisan Miquel Gomila Salom.
The Menorcan countryside abounds with wild olive trees and its hard wood was used by the island's farmers to build barriers to close off dry stone walls. Their main function is to keep cattle from wandering off.

- Ceramics:
Master Artisan Arturo Gener Fuster.
One of the most common items in daily use in Menorcan life is fired clay. Items such as laundry tubs and water, milk or oil jugs are examples of the wide variety of popular clay pieces in use.

Recinto Ferial de Es Mercadal
C/ Metge Camps s/n
+34 971 154 436
November - April 9-14 h. Saturday 10-13.30h
May - October 10-14 h. 17-20 h. Saturday 10-13.30

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Cabrera's museum: Es Celler (Illes Balears)

The refurbished building has exhibits on the park's history, ethnography and nature. A small botanical garden in the vicinity features many samples of Cabrera's plants, which account for 21% of all endemic flora in the Balearic archipelago.

Cabrera Island
Phone: +34 630 982 363

Oficinas del Parque Nacional en Palma
Gremi Corredors 10, 1º
PALMA 07009
Centralita +34 971 176 613
Solicitud amarres +34 971 177 641
Fax +34 971 176 617
e-mail: cabrera@mma.es

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History and Archaeology

The prehistoric settlement of Torre LLafuda (Menorca)

Protected by a dense oak forest between the old Maó road and the main road lies the prehistoric settlement of Torre Llafuda, which includes the remains of round dwellings, caves, a wall, a talayot and an enormous taula more than three metres high.

Upon reaching this settlement, which dates from the third Talayotic period (800-450 BC), visitors are greeted by a series of huge boulders standing vertically in an arch that make up an enclosure in the entrance. Directly opposite is the talayot, which must have been hollow, since the upper part is partially collapsed.
Entering the oak forest with the talayot to the right leads visitors to the rear of a sanctuary that includes an enormous three-and-a-half-metre-high taula (the island?s second widest after Trepucó). In fact, it is actually a perfect taula-shaped pilaster, as are most Minorcan taules, embedded in the sanctuary wall slightly behind the central monument.

Further information: Arqueobalear

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The settlement of Talatí de Dalt (Menorca)

The settlement of Talatí de Dalt (Menorca)

Only four kilometres from Maó on the Ciutadella-Maó road stands Talatí de Dalt, a prehistoric talayotic settlement that preserves a number of important monuments, including the central talayot, a sanctuary with a taula, several chambers with stone-clad columns and natural caves.

The settlement is ringed by a dry stone wall and its highest point, the talayot in the centre, was used as a watchtower to control the territory as well as the sanctuary with its spectacular taula supported by the enclosure's pilaster, which was erected between the sixth and fourth centuries BC and used as the venue for rituals and offerings for fertile lands and livestock.

The many excavations carried out by the Amics del Museu Association in Menorca and Arqueomenorca have led to findings that indicate the settlement housed around one hundred of people at its most populated point in time, around the third century BC.


Further information: (Menorca)

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Ses pedreres de s'Hostal (Menorca)

Ses Pedreres de S'Hostal are impressive quarries where sandstone was extracted in ancient times and where cultural representations, sculpture workshops, Tai-chi courses are now held thanks to the Lithic Cultural Association. One of the most popular events is the Full Moon Fiesta in August.

The two sandstone quarry techniques opened two different types of space in s'Hostal. On the one hand, ancient manual work shaped an area where the sloping walls form a vegetation-covered stone labyrinth and house the Laberint dels Vergers, a botanical circuit of local plants and a medieval garden. The other space was created by modern mechanical quarry techniques and its vertiginously vertical carved walls and open cubic spaces are used as a theatre for concerts in summer.

The quarry shut down operations in November 1994. A little later, the Lithic Association was created and leased the quarry to prevent it from being buried under rubbish and preserve its important ethnologic heritage.

To get there: The quarries are located three kilometres from Ciutadella on the road known as Camí Vell. They can be visited any time of the day, but visiting it at dusk is recommended for the play of lights and shadows on the rock.

Further information: http://www.lithica.es

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David Glasgow Farragut (Menorca)

Many people may be surprised at the role played in American history by Jordi Ferragut Mesquida (1755-1817), just one of the many emigrants to leave behind their native Minorca, then a British colony, and seek their fortune in America and who later took part in the American Revolution.

His son's role was just as important as his own. David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870), known to history with that changed vowel in the original last name, was one of the heroes of the American Civil War and the country's first admiral. He had the chance to visit the land of his forebears in 1867 and was named an honorary son of Ciutadella. Minorca's naval tradition and the Ferragut's memory are enshrined in the National Admiral Ferragut Snipe Trophy as well as in the statues which adorn the squares that bear the Admiral's name in Ciutadella, Washington D.C. and in Madison Square in New York.

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Santa Àgueda Castle (Ferreries)

Ferreries lies in the most fertile area of the island of Menorca. A lot further up at 264 metres lie the ruins of a castle that survived different civilisations although there are now only traces of them left.

Its origin is unknown but a part of a bronze bull found there has led to the belief that Talayotic constructions served as the foundation to its walls. Roman ceramics and coins have also been found there in what was apparently a Roman camp set up in the spot.

Most of the ruins that have been preserved correspond to ancient Moorish layouts, the era of the fortress' greatest splendour. The oldest remains are the two towers on the circular level of the Castellet, from the 10th and the 11th Centuries. This building along with the so-called casa d'Armes (House of Arms) and a central area on the summit constitute the three main areas of the fortress.

A simple chapel in honour of the saint

During the Moorish presence in the island there was a stable population in the place, but with the Catalan conquest, the castle fell into decline and its defensive functions were replaced with its use as an observation point from which to view the coast. Curiously, it was the last stronghold to surrender to the Christian troops on January the 21st 1287.

Later a small, architecturally simple and austere temple was constructed which they called the Santa Àgueda chapel on the orders of Leonora of Portugal, wife of Pere IV. Popular worship was extensive and there are ancient documents that speak of pilgrimages to the hermitage on the saint's feast day.

A stony path in good condition leads to the highest point of the castle where a good part of the sumptuous north coast of Menorca can be viewed.

Beneath this lies Ferreries, where farmers tout their produce on Saturdays in a multi-coloured market. Fruit and vegetables, cheese, honey, dried fruit and other such tasty delights are on display for the visitor.

To get to the Santa Àgueda Castle by the road that goes to Ciutadella, you have to go towards Els Alocs.

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Illa del Rei (Maó)

This island near the port was the site of the town?s first hospital, built by the English in the nineteenth century. The remains of a sixth-century Paleochristian basilica discovered there prove the island was inhabited in ancient times.

A beautiful mosaic measuring approximately 32 square metres was discovered while the land was being furrowed for sowing in January 1988. It was first thought to be from a Roman villa or Jewish synagogue, but several studies reached the conclusion it was a Paleochristian basilica. The only remains from the building are these white, pink and blue mosaics, which are currently housed at the Museo de Menorca.

Illa del Rei is also home to a unique species of lizard, the only one of its kind in the world: the Podarcis lifordi balearia.
Further information: www.islahospitalmenorca.org

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Piano and cello concerts in Illa del Rei (Maó)

This island near the port was the site of the town?s first hospital, built by the English in the nineteenth century. The remains of a sixth-century Paleochristian basilica discovered there prove the island was inhabited in ancient times.

A beautiful mosaic measuring approximately 32 square metres was discovered while the land was being furrowed for sowing in January 1988. It was first thought to be from a Roman villa or Jewish synagogue, but several studies reached the conclusion it was a Paleochristian basilica. The only remains from the building are these white, pink and blue mosaics, which are currently housed at the Museo de Menorca.

Illa del Rei is also home to a unique species of lizard, the only one of its kind in the world: the Podarcis lifordi balearia.
Further information: www.islahospitalmenorca.org

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

The Trepucó settlement (Maó)

The talayotic settlement in Trepucó, which was excavated by English archaeologist Margaret Murray in 1931 and declared a Historical-Artistic Monument that same year, is located approximately two kilometres from Mahon on the road to Sant Lluís.

This approximately 5000-square-metre talayotic was originally surrounded by a wall, of which only several sections and two square defence towers in the western wall have survived.

Archaeological findings have revealed that there were at least seven talayots originally, of which two have survived. The central talayot, a solid structure with a small window in the upper section, is one of Minorca?s largest. The star-shaped building near the talayot was erected in the eighteenth century by the French army during their attempts to wrest Mahon from the English.

Attached to the wall is a second, smaller talayot in a well-preserved condition.

To the left of the settlement is a magnificent taula, a prehistoric monument for worship, which was reconstructed in the early 1970s. The section in the rear was reinforced to prevent it from collapsing.

Visits to the Trepucó settlement are free of charge.

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The navetas at Rafal Rubí (Maó)

The navetas at Rafal Rubí are monumental structures that served as mass pantheons which can only be found in Menorca. They are constructed with the cyclopean technique, which used great stone slabs on the bottom that form a slightly convex wall and an apse in the upper part. The threshold and dintel are made up of large boulders that represent the passage from the world of the living to the dead.

The first naveta to the right on the site is the northern one. The upper part has fallen down, but the well-carved perforated slab entrance that still stands is striking.

The second, or southern, naveta, is a well-constructed apse with a monolithic threshold and dintel. In contains two storeys inside where the tombs were located.

Both navetas were built in the second half of the second millennium BC during the transition from the pre-Talayotic to the Talayotic era and were in use all during the latter period.

How to get there: shortly before km 7 on the Mahon-Ciutadella road there is a signpost on the right indicating the navetas at Rafal Rubí. Turn right - the two navetas are located a few metres down the road on the left.

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Illa del Rei (Maó)

This island near the port was the site of the town?s first hospital, built by the English in the nineteenth century. The remains of a sixth-century Paleochristian basilica discovered there prove the island was inhabited in ancient times.

A beautiful mosaic measuring approximately 32 square metres was discovered while the land was being furrowed for sowing in January 1988. It was first thought to be from a Roman villa or Jewish synagogue, but several studies reached the conclusion it was a Paleochristian basilica. The only remains from the building are these white, pink and blue mosaics, which are currently housed at the Museo de Menorca.

Illa del Rei is also home to a unique species of lizard, the only one of its kind in the world: the Podarcis lifordi balearia.
Further information: www.islahospitalmenorca.org

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Archduke Louis Salvador (Illes Balears)

Archduke Louis Salvador of Austria (1847-1915) came to Mallorca for the first time in 1867, travelling incognito as Count Neudorf. The island's natural beauty, immense sea and Tramontana mountain range all enthralled him, so he purchased a number of Mallorcan estates in the last third of the nineteenth century, some of which have been declared Assets of Cultural Interest.

His first purchase was the estate known as Miramar in Valldemossa in 1872. At that time, the property's boundaries extended to the summit of Mt. Teix, followed east along the coast to Son Marroig in Deià and included the Miramar Monastery, founded on 1276 by James II upon Ramon Llull's instigation as a school for missionaries dedicated to teaching Arabic and other Eastern languages.

Miramar became the jewel in the crown of the Archduke's estates and was where he received the visitors attracted by the beautiful landscape who can be considered Mallorca's first tourists: French painter and writer Gastón Vuillier; prehistorians Bartoli and Cartailhac; Spanish naturalist Odón de Buen; botanist and director of the University of Geneva Robert H. Chorat; writer D?Este Daisy; poets Rubén Darío and Jacinto Verdaguer... and his close friend ''Sissi'', Empress of Austria, who shared a love of nature and the island with her cousin the Archduke and visited often.

Nowadays, Miramar houses a museum that displays a number of items, documents and works of art related to the worlds inhabited by Llull and the Archduke. The farmstead's ancient tafoná or oil press can be visited, as can the garden and cloister the Archduke had restored from thirteenth-century Gothic arches, the library, assembly hall, chapel and the Moor's Tower, a lookout point with splendid panoramic views of the sea.

Son Marroig in the municipality of Deià is another farmstead the Archduke purchased and he restored the old house, conserved the fortified sixteenth-century tower and added Italian-style extensions. He also built a small marble neoclassic temple out of Carrara marble at one end of the garden, which offers panoramic views of Sa Foradada point and even Sa Dragonera Island on clear days.

Son Marroig is now home to the Archduke Louis Salvador Museum, which exhibits the Archduke's items, souvenirs and collections of ceramics and nineteenth-century Majorcan paintings. It has also been the venue for the International Chamber Music Festival of Deià since 1978. The farmstead is open to visits Mondays to Saturdays and permission can be obtained to walk along the approximately 3.5-km-long path that leads to Sa Foradada.

The country home known as S'Estaca in the environs of Valldemossa was an occasional residence the Archduke shared with Catalina Homar, the official administrator of his estates. The current owners of this property with its Moorish-style architecture are actor Michael Douglas and his ex-wife Diandra.

S' Arxiduc, as he is known locally, attempted to integrate into Majorcan society and even learned Catalan. In gratitude for his work publicising Mallorca's charms, he was named an honorary citizen of the city of Palma in 1877, which was later extended to include the entire island in 1910.

http://www.ludwig-salvator.com

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Ramon Llull (Illes Balears)

Ramon Llull (1232 - 1316) was a thirteenth-century philosopher, poet, mystic, theologian and lay missionary from Mallorca with close ties to the Franciscans. In addition to being the first author to use a neo-Latin language to express philosophical knowledge, scientific and technical thought, he was the creator of literary Catalan. Llull used Catalan in literary prose as a normal instrument of communication and useful tool in cultural expression.
Some of his most famous books include Blanquerna, an idealistic novel in which the protagonist, who leads her life through her religious vocation, tries to reach spiritual perfection; Libro del ascenso y descenso del entendimiento, that develops the famous scale method of Llullian thought - the mystical scales of knowledge through which Llull's most important work can examined as if the tree of science were steps - and El árbol de la ciencia, perhaps his most important work, in which Llull resorts to an analogy he was fond of: organic comparison, in which each science is represented as a tree with roots, trunk, branches, leaves and fruits.

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Ramon Llull (Illes Balears)

Ramon Llull (1232 - 1316) was a thirteenth-century philosopher, poet, mystic, theologian and lay missionary from Mallorca with close ties to the Franciscans. In addition to being the first author to use a neo-Latin language to express philosophical knowledge, scientific and technical thought, he was the creator of literary Catalan. Llull used Catalan in literary prose as a normal instrument of communication and useful tool in cultural expression.
Some of his most famous books include Blanquerna, an idealistic novel in which the protagonist, who leads her life through her religious vocation, tries to reach spiritual perfection; Libro del ascenso y descenso del entendimiento, that develops the famous scale method of Llullian thought - the mystical scales of knowledge through which Llull's most important work can examined as if the tree of science were steps - and El árbol de la ciencia, perhaps his most important work, in which Llull resorts to an analogy he was fond of: organic comparison, in which each science is represented as a tree with roots, trunk, branches, leaves and fruits.

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Typical instruments in Pitiusan folklore (Illes Balears)

The origins of Ibiza and Formentera's folklore are lost in the mists of time. Some of its most striking features are the symbology in the dances and singularity of its musical instruments, made entirely by hand exclusively from local raw materials.

These instruments include singular, enormous juniper wood castanets, sabine pine drums, rosebay branch flutes, the espasí, a hiltless sword blade that is struck with a dagger, and the most popular instrument of all, the xeremia.

Xeremias are musical instruments in the bagpipe family with deep roots in Balearic culture. Their distinctive, penetrating sound has accompanied popular fiestas from ancient times onwards and no celebration would be complete without them. The xeremia-player is called a xeremier and is always paired with a musician who plays a small flute known as a flabiol with the left hand, while his right beats the drum (held by a belt between the forefingers and thumb of the left hand). The two musicians together form a colla (pair) of xeremiers.

As a whole, these musical instruments are crucial in the island's typical folksongs and dances, where percussion takes precedent over a melody which is sung and sometimes uses a curious syllabic stuttering to prolong the verses on occasion.

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Emil G. Racovitza, founder of biospeleology (Illes Balears)

Emil G. Racovitza came to Mallorca for three days in July 1904 during the course of a French oceanographic expedition. He visited the Drach caves and took samples of the organisms he found there. He presented the description of a new species he called Typhlocirolana Moraguesi in reference to the naturalist and owner of the caves, Fernando Moragues, the following year. The discovery of this small crustacean turned his attention to the study of cave animal life and the publication of his work Essai sûr les problèmes bioespéleologiques (1907) laid the foundations for biospeleology. Emil G. Racovitza conducted a number of expeditions during his lifetime and held several posts in a number of European scientific institutions, garnering well-deserved fame as a scientist. The Fundación Europea Dragan has erected a sculpture on Palma?s Paseo Marítimo in his memory.

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James I, capital figure in the history of the Balearic Islands (Illes Balears)

King James I was born in Montpellier in 1208 and died in Valencia in 1276. He extended his domains towards the south by exploiting the decline of Almohad power on the Iberian mainland and laid the foundations for future expansion in the Mediterranean of the Kingdom of Aragón, whose Court and Chancellery resided in Barcelona. At his death, the lands of Mallorca (1229) and Valencia (1245) were divided up in the shape of new kingdoms among his children. Thus, in 1276, James II ruled over the independent kingdom of Mallorca, which comprised all the Balearic Islands and the counties of Roussillon and Cerdanyna, and enjoyed other territorial rights as well (Collioure, Montpellier, Omeladès, Carladès, etc). On the other hand, his brother Peter II governed the kingdoms of Aragón and Valencia, in addition to the county of Barcelona, which encompassed Catalonia.

James himself would dictate the great chronicle, El Llibre dels Feits (The Book of Events), an autobiographical work that was a novelty for the times and an excellent introduction to this historical figure and his feats, in addition to being an outstanding work in Catalan culture, having been transcribed in that language. El Llibre del Consolat de Mar (The Book of the Consulate of the Sea), the world?s first compilation of maritime common law, was written during his reign. He was also the protector of Mallorcan monk Ramon Llull, an important missionary, philosopher and poet.

James I is an indisputable historical referent for the Balearic Islands, since he led the islands? definitive incorporation into the family of medieval Christian kingdoms. El Rei en Jaume or El Conqueridor, as was nicknamed, continues to hold a special place in the islanders? collective imagination, despite the course of time. The repopulation of the king?s new lands mainly with his Catalan subjects contributed to the expansion of the Catalan language and culture, which evolved in these places with its own peculiarities that would shape the personality of these peoples, whose singularities have survived down the years; perhaps that is why they recognise the origin of their idiosyncrasy in the events surrounding this king.

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Balearic stone-slingers (Illes Balears)

Sling contests still take place nowadays, thus reminiscing over the famous stone-slingers that repelled the invaders coming in from the coast by launching stones with a sling, to the point that they even broke through the hull of the enemies' ships. Balearic stone-slingers were famous throughout the entire ancient Mediterranean, being highly valued as mercenaries, given that they were either contracted, kidnapped and/or enslaved to fight with the ships of other Mediterranean peoples, thus insuring extraordinary victories with their skills.

Stone-slingers (foners) from the Balearic Islands have been known since the year 700 BC when they were forced to confront the attack of Greek and Phoenician pirates by launching stones with their slings, winning all the important Punic Battles against the Romans. The Balearic slingers were of particular relevance during the war against Agatocles and in the Battle of Himera (350 AD), safeguarding the Carthaginian Army with their valour and bravery.

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The prehistoric settlement of Son Mercer de Baix (Ferreries)

The prehistoric settlement Son Mercer de Baix is located in western Minorca and can be reached by taking the first turnoff to the right on the Ferreries-Migjorn Gran road and following a 25-minute unpaved stretch to a small esplanade overlooking a ravine called Son Fideu.

This settlement, which was inhabited during the pre-Talayotic (2500-1800 BC) and the Talayotic (1600-123 BC) periods, is made up of two main horseshoe-shaped navetas or megalithic tombs, and other complementary rectangular structures, one of which was a small smithy for smelting copper, which makes one think there were two units in the village that occupied approximately thirty square metres each. It was even enclosed by with a defensive wall.

Furthermore, one of the monuments it is famous for its singularity: Cova des Moor, a room-shaped naveta with three stone columns supporting the roof, which endows the construction with a certain majesty. This naveta, one of the most classic of its kind in Minorcan archaeology, was declared an artistic-historical monument in 1931.

Excavations in the settlement have uncovered bronze ingots and a furnace for forging metal and indicate that the inhabitants devoted themselves to livestock raising and harvesting.

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Torralba d'en Salord (Alaior)

The scholars Peter Hochsieder and Doris Knösel have described Talayotic monuments as "masterpieces of power in equilibrium; they are architecture and sculpture at the same time, they are thoughts converted into stone". A visit to the Talayotic settlement of Torralba is a true example of this.

The site is located halfway between Maó and Alaior. It was inhabited from the Prehistoric Period up to the Middle Ages, and conserves a spectacular hypostile chamber, fragments of walls, caves, a Talayotic dwelling, a large talayot (prehistoric tower), and remains of another smaller one.

But the most spectacular feature is its taula precinct, 4.30 metres high and surrounded by lateral pilasters, a common feature in this type of monument. The taula consists of a large horizontal stone supported on top of a vertical one. It has the shape of a table, hence its name ("taula" means "table" in Catalan). However, it also looks like an enormous T, which has become a symbol impossible to decipher.

Monument exclusive to Menorca

The taula is a construction which is exclusive to Menorca, more elegant and developed that the other prehistoric monuments discovered. It continues to be a mystery as to why there are no examples on Mallorca, in spite of it belonging to the same Talayotic culture.

These were apparently used as sanctuaries which, at that time, were built in enclaves where a divinity revealed its presence. They were places used for worship, where sacrifices and offerings were offered to the image of the god, and where fires burnt permanently.

The place was full of food, statuettes of divinities or votive offerings. The bronze figure of a bull, which has been dated from the 3rd Century BC, appeared in the surroundings of the taula de Torralba and apparently was placed on top of a pedestal base as an object of worship. Another find was a clay perfume burner made in the shape of a goddess" head.

Nobody knows what these taulas signify, but all coincide in the powerful impact they achieve through simplicity.

You can get to the Talayotic settlement of Torralba from Maó, turning off the main road after seven kilometres; and from Alaior, along a road which leaves the centre of the locality.

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Son Fornés archaeological site (Illes Balears)

The first excavation was undertaken in 1975. Since that year, and until 2011, a further fourteen archaeological campaigns have documented three periods: Talayotic, Postalayotic and Roman periods.

All detailed information regarding the archaeological site can be found at Son Fornés Arqueològic Museum, a monographic museum located in a mill called 'd?en Fraret', in the village of Montuïri located in Ma-3220 road connecting the town with Sant Joan.

Museu Arqueològic de Son Fornés
Molí d?es Fraret
C/Emili Pou s/n
07230 Montuïri (Mallorca) Illes Balears

Tel/Fax: +34 971 64 41 69

www.sonfornes.mallorca.museum

info@sonfornes.mallorca.museum

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Any de sa Desgràcia - The year of Misfortune (Ciutadella de Menorca)

The main commemoration events of the attack suffered by Ciutadella at the hands of the Turks in the month of July of the year 1558 will be taking place on the 9th of July, at the so-called Festa Patriòtica (Patriotic Festival), with these events also being known as the Any de sa Desgràcia (The Year of Misfortune). A convulsive time during which the Ottoman power dominated the Mediterranean.
First a solemn municipality session is held to then continue with the reading of the Constantinople Act, a notary act written in the Ottoman city by the great men who were captive and heroes of the valiant and fearless defence of the city. After the siege Ciutadella was finally looted, plundered and burnt down and all the survivors of the city and surrounding area (approximately 3452 persons) were made prisoners and taken to Ottoman territory. Thus the ceremony will be completed with an exequial mass and an offering in commemoration of the events before the obelisk that rises in front of the Council House.

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The prehistoric tomb at Son Olivaret (Ciutadella de Menorca)

The prehistoric burial ground at Son Olivaret, an unknown and intact site discovered by the Museu de Menorca's team of archaeologists in 2004, is situated at a point with wonderful panoramic views in the vicinity of the military battery at Son Olivaret in Ciutadella .

This collective ossuary was in use between 2,300 and 900 B.C. and the enclosure was covered by stone slabs. It consists of an oval-shaped double wall with an entrance facing the southwest, a corridor and an inner chamber where most of the human and ceramic remains can be found.

Approximately six hundred ceramic shards and bone fragments were recovered during last year's excavations, which may correspond to more than 50 children and adults. Among the most striking findings are a dozen ceramic glasses, several triangular-shaped bones, beads, a pendant, a bronze needle and even a slingshot stone.

The remains are being studied in the Museu de Menorca and will shortly be on display at Ciutadella's Municipal Museu.

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Prehistoric caves of Minorca (Ciutadella de Menorca)

Minorca boasts a treasure trove of archaeological heritage that includes different types of megalithic monuments that are open to visitors, such as the Naveta des Tudons in Ciutadella, the Trepucó Settlement in Mahon and the Paleo-Christian Basilica of Son Bou, among others.

Other sites, such as La Cova des Carritx, Es Mussol and Cova del Pas, are not currently accessible but their findings are on display in the island's museums and reveal unique prehistoric data.

The prehistoric burial cave of Es Pas, which contains an enormous collection of intermingled, half-buried bones, was discovered intact by a team of speleologists in a remote precipice in the heart of Minorca at an approximated height of six storeys.

The cave's small enclosure (around 4 metres in diameter plus a small passageway from the mouth) contains successive burials; there are around fifty corpses, most in the foetal position, wrapped in cowhide shrouds tied up with cords that form a burial "package".

The mummies are almost intact and remains of naturally mummified hair and tissues such as muscle mass, brain mass, parts of the lungs and faecal remains have been found. Other organic elements were discovered as well: woods, cords, animal skins, plant tissues and weaves and objects from trousseaus, such as a kind of glass-shaped leather cylinder with a top and animal skin rugs.

Scientists have already identified 22 individuals, 14 adults (all men), 4 young people and 4 children (including a newborn baby, also wrapped up).

These burials are estimated to have taken place over a span of 50 to 200 years during the pre-Talayotic culture when people lived in settlements, farmed the land, raised livestock, harvested crops and were very skilled at woodwork and metallurgy.

Museu de Ciutadella

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Sa Cova des Coloms (Es Migjorn Gran)

This cathedral-like cave is named after wood pigeons, since Menorcans have been using it to hunt these unusual birds from time immemorial. Large populations of bats, along with the mosses and lichens that blanket the walls, give the grotto its mysterious appearance.

A votive object from prehistoric times was discovered on the spot, as was a bull?s horn, a totemic symbol that recalls the role cows played in the cult of fertility in antiquity.

It is no surprise that Menorca?s first settlers chose this natural cavity in prehistoric times as a place to worship tectonic energies, the Earth?s underground forces, the maximum exponent of which were caves. The cavern was doubly symbolic, a metaphor for the fecundity of the maternal uterus and the journey to the beyond.

Legend has it that one?s fate is mysteriously triggered when one enters Sa Cova d'es Coloms. If two people enter at the same time, they will soon be separated from each other, yet, on the contrary, if fortune reunites two people who have never met inside, they will never be separated. Almost anything can be believed about Sa Cova d'es Coloms, e.g., that the sun?s rays penetrate straight to the grotto?s depths during the spring solstice, that it was Calypso the nymph?s mythical cave, where Ulysses yearned for his distant Ithaca, that it was the dwelling of giants... this place?s imagination and characteristics admit each and every hypothesis.


How to get there:

Take the road from Es Migjorn Gran to San Adeodato Beach. At the end of the road stands Es Pou d?es Captiu. Take the path around it to the right ? when facing the sea ? to reach the mouth of D?es Barranc de Binigaus Vell. Enter the ravine and after passing by a well, the valley gradually opens up before our eyes. Keeping to the left, the path ascends to the white silhouette of the dwelling at Binigaus. Just a few more steps lead us to the cave.

We recommend consulting a Tourist Information Office about availability.

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Concert

The Menorca International Jazz Festival (Menorca)

Menorca's musical offer has been expanded to include jazz, a style of music with a growing number of fans year after year. Jazz Obert collaborates with other associations to attract major national and international figures and promote jazz.

http://www.jazzobert.com

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Festival de Música d'Estiu (Ciutadella de Menorca)

With the support of other institutions and associations, Joventuts Musicals de Ciutadella sponsors this magnificent event, which combines world-class figures and up and coming young musicians. The concerts are held in the cloister of the Seminario, although events are occasionally held at other venues.

http://www.jjmmciutadella.com

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The Maó International Music Festival (Maó)

The Joventuts Musicals de Maó, founded in 1959, organises this major music festival and has sponsored over one thousand concerts to date in collaboration with various institutions and associations. It is also responsible for creating the professional Illa de Menorca Chamber Orchestra and the amateur Sant Antoni Choir.

http://www.menorcaweb.net/jmdemao

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Serenates d'Estiu International Classical Music Festival (Illes Balears)

This longstanding festival first saw light in the Gothic cloister of the Sant Francesc church in 1971 and was transferred to Bellver Castle on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary. Every August from thereon in, the castle parade ground is turned into an outdoor stage that features prestigious musical groups that perform to the delight of residents and visitors alike.

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Bellver Castle Music Festival (Illes Balears)

The festival is a series of classical music concerts performed by the Ciutat de Palma Symphony Orchestra of the Balearic Islands. The orchestra has been offering its music under the starry Mallorcan sky on pleasant July nights since 1996.

http://www.simfonica-de-balears.com

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