Southern Menorca

Interesting article about the Menorca south region of the island.

Regions of Menorca - The South

Menorca - The South - Of all the Balearic Islands, Menorca is by far the richest in sites of prehistoric settlements, mostly dating from the Talaiotic Period, which was the period of civilisation between 2000 and 1000 BC. Taken from the Arabic atalaya (“watch tower”), the talayots which gave the period its name are prevalent on the island. These ancient settlements comprise three main types of structure, taulas (“tables”), made of huge slabs of rock forming a “T” shape, talayots, square or circular buildings made of many large stones, and navetas, built from many stones in the shape of an upturned boat. The uses of each of these structures can only be guessed at, and theories include altars, dwelling places, burial chambers, defensive watch towers and storehouses.

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One of the finest prehistoric sites is located between the town of Alaior and the coastal resort of Cala n Porter, known as Torralba d’en Salort, it boasts one of the best examples of Taula on the island, the huge “T” shaped structure is et in a horseshoe shaped sanctuary and has been carbon-dated at around 900 BC. This site has undergone some restoration including the re-erection of a number of the smaller standing stones.

Nearby off the Alaior to Son Bou road, another interesting site, Torre d’en Gaumés, is perhaps the biggest and most jumbled of the settlements and dates from 1300 to 123 BC, it was here that a bronze statue of the Egyptian god Imhotep was found, visitors can see the hypostyle court with central supports and huge roof, still intact. Another superb taula site, near to Cala n Porter, Torre Llisa Vell, can be entered by way of the original doorway.

For the best example of a naveta on the island, head for the former capital, Ciutadella, to the east of the town you can visit Naveta d’es Tudons, dating from around 1300 BC it is thought to be the oldest roofed building in Europe. In the shape of an upturned boat, this stunning structure is entered by way of a small, low entrance, but once inside there is plenty of room to stand, the entire structure measures 46 feet in length, 21 feet in width and 13 feet at its highest point. When excavated in the 1950’s, remains of around 50 bodies were found, suggesting that it was used as a burial chamber.

Possibly the oldest settlement in Menorca is located to the south of Ferreries, in the form of the prehistoric village of Son Mercer de Baix, remains found here show evidence of iron smelting, together with walls and structures dating from 2000 BC.

Heading for the coast you will find some of the more popular resorts on Menorca (Minorca), among these are Cala Galdana, Son Bou, Cala n Porter and Binibeca Vell, some are built for tourism resorts, some were originally small fishing villages. One which provides a good example of anew resort is Binibeca Vell, built as a resort development in 1972, with the intention that it should resemble a traditional Menorcan fishing village. Known as Poblat de Pescadors (“Fishermens Village”), its white-walled houses line a maze of narrow streets and alleys, Moorish arches and a typical church steeple add to the atmosphere of this place which is not altogether accepted by the local residents but is extremely popular with tourists. Further up the coast you can visit the Cales Coves, an area of prehistoric caves, dating from the Neolithic period and used as burial chambers by the Talaiots, on the bay below lie the remains of a Roman harbour. For the best beach head for the resort of Son Bou, its 3 km beach is the longest and finest on the island of Menorca.

Visiting just some of these ancient sights will give you something to do when the weather is not ideal for sunbathing, and perhaps give you a nice break from the beach and bars.

More Menorca Places: Addaya - Arenal D'En Castell - Cala n Blanes - Cala n Bosch - Cala n Forcat - Es Castell - Los Delfines - Mahon - Punta Prima - S'Algar - Sant Lluis

Menorca Hotels: Gavilanes Cala Galdana - Valentin Star Cala n Bosch

Other Links: Weather in Menorca

Related: Balearic Islands - Mallorca - Ibiza - Minorca - Formentera - Builders