For anyone who is not well-acquainted with the island, at first glance Minorca may seem nothing but a tiny flat island way out in the Mediterranean Sea, but for Minorcans it’s much more than that! It’s a proper little world.Our own world.
We have to admit it is small, but its being flat is another story. The southern side may look like a plain, but it is crossed by many little ravines that turn into bigger ones and end in little sandy coves with clear blue waters. The island’s northern half on the other hand is a network of low rolling hills and green valleys. So you see we have a miniature version of practically everything. We are very proud of our “El Toro” mountain which stands proudly at 357m and offers a wonderful view of the whole island. Wait and see!
Part of our coastline is rough and rocky terrain, like Punta Nati; in other parts we have little rocky islands – which could very well be treasure islands. We even have a piece of lunar landscape in Favàritx with the desolate blackness of its slate, the most exciting place to be when the Northern and Easterly winds are howling and the waves are crashing against the black rocks.
In our miniature world you can also find the northern swampy areas that appear because of the impermeability of the soil there. Centuries ago most of the valleys there flooded as soon as the autumn rains arrived. However, from the 17th century it has been drained little by little and rainwater has been channelled in order to create new agricultural areas. Today there are still a few miniature lakes left like the one in Binidonairet or Albufera des Grau.
So you see Menorca really has a lot to offer. But maybe we should stop and let you discover it for yourselves. Just remember that even our beaches are miniature ones, some have white or red, coarse or fine sand; others are rocky or with stones; but each and every one of them with crystal clear blue waters.
But… what about Archaeology? If there is something we have in abundance in Minorca it is archaeological sites. Taules, talaiots and navetes are part of our world, they are characteristic traits of our landscape, and they have always intrigued us. What could those great monuments have been for? Who built them? And why? These are questions that Minorcans have asked themselves generation after generation. Popular tradition has always tried to satisfy our curiosity with legends about giants and love stories that have been passed down through the centuries.
There are areas of the island with more than five sites per square km. Minorca is actually the place with the highest density of archaeological remains in all of the Mediterranean. That is because its history has bestowed a rich historical heritage on the island which we are constantly adding to with new discoveries. Ever since it was first inhabited around 4,000 years ago, Minorca has been home to many different cultures that have left archaeological evidence of their presence here in our homeland. The study of this evidence today enables us to know more about the history of these people. An important part of it has undoubtedly disappeared, however many other traces left by them are still standing intact today while others have been modified by their subsequentuse through the years.
It is impossible to take in this broad historical heritage in just a few days, even though our island is quite small. That is why we have prepared a little sample of what there is to see and we invite you to come back again. Menorca and its archaeology must be appreciated slowly and leisurely.
That is all, we hope you enjoy exploring our island with us and that as you come to understand it you will love it as we Minorcans do. But be careful! Minorca is small but it is extremely captivating, many who come for a visit end up staying!
Sabina Llambias Pell & Elena Sintes Olives