The Historic Attractions of Ciutadella
Situated off the east coast of Spain, Menorca forms part of the Mediterranean Balearic Islands. It is positioned to the north east of Majorca (its’ larger neighbouring island), and it is generally regarded as one of the more gentile and quieter Spanish Islands – compared to somewhere like Ibiza. However, just because Menorca is smaller than many of the nearby islands, does not mean that a holiday there will be any less interesting or fun.
Indeed, in Menorca, there are more beaches than there are in Ibiza and Majorca combined, and the island has an intriguing past which is evident in its’ two major cities: Ciutadella and Mahon. If you stay on the west side of Menorca, then make sure you take a day or two to visit Ciutadella, so that you can absorb the culture and history of what was formerly the island’s capital city.
Originally, the Carthaginians founded Ciutadella. However, in 123 AD, following a Roman takeover of the island, Jammona Village (as Ciutadella was called then) served as a vital tactical defensive point for the west of Menorca. Ciutadella was the island’s capital city up until 1708. After this, the capital was moved to the city of Mahon in the east – in spite of the bishop refusing to move his palace, and protests by the inhabitants of Ciutadella.
Ciutadella has many art galleries, cafés and museums which are popular with tourists, however one city attraction that should not be missed is Ciutadella Cathedral. This splendid thirteenth century place-of-worship is situated at Placa de la Catedral, on an ancient mosque site. Construction of the cathedral started during 1300 and, throughout the centuries, it has been desecrated by Turkish invaders and then rebuilt and developed. Subsequent renovation work was carried out from 1939 to 1941 (by Bishop Don Bartolome Pascual), and in 1987 as part of a renovation project which marked the seventh centenary of the Spanish conquest of Menorca. This video shows some of the inside of the cathedral:
The Diocese Museum, or Museu Diocesa, is situated near to the Cathedral in the centre of Ciutadella. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, and tourists are always captivated by its’ location – in what used to be a seventeenth century Augustine convent. The museum displays exhibits from ancient colonisations and Talayotic culture. Also, it displays religious artefacts, seventeenth and eighteenth century artwork by Pierre Daura, and pieces of silver and gold dating from the seventeenth century, right through to the twentieth century. A visit to this museum is both enjoyable and educational, so it is a recommended stop-off point for all tourists of this historic city.
Holidays to Menorca are popular with people looking for some understated charm and a laid back atmosphere. The island appeals to the more discerning holidaymaker, and it has avoided turning into a concrete metropolis. Menorca is both enchanting and exotic, with towns filled with Spanish vibrancy and calm shores looking out onto endless blue Mediterranean waters. Undoubtedly, the historic attractions on offer, like those described above, are the perfect accompaniment to the island’s amazing sandy beaches and exceptional natural beauty.
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