Thursday, January 15, 2009


Our part of Ciutadella. The best part.

17 Jan 2009 (annual) 17 January - Menorcan National Day
A National holiday and also known as Sant Antoni day, the patron Saint of the island.

In the deep midwinter on the island of Menorca, when the tourists are long gone, a colourful celebration of the island's liberation from Muslim rule takes place in the old capital, Ciutadella, coinciding with St Anthony's day.

The statue of San Antonio, which normally resides in the cathedral, is given an outing by the locals on St Anthony's Day. The statue is paraded through Ciutadella's centre, followed by the mayor, other dignitaries and the townspeople. In addition to the parade, there is a market where the fruits brought to Europe by the Ummayad Muslims from Damascus in the 9th century are sold. The Muslims may have been ousted by the Christian Aragonese king, Alphonso III, in 1287, but their gifts of dates, oranges and chestnuts are cultivated still. Sample them for yourselves in Ciutadella's Plaça San Antonio after the St Anthony's Day procession.
Related Information
Ciutadella Council Website
Visitor Information
Tourist Offices

The status of capital has changed hands several times between these two towns but since the first British occupation began in 1722 it has been Mahon, or Maó in Catalan, that takes the title. This probably had much to do with the fact it has one of the worlds deepest natural harbours which has been a prize sort after by many an invading force, including the British, over the centuries.
The old town of Mahon is picturesque, well preserved and easy to get around on foot if a little steep in some places. It has four pretty small squares, Plaça Espanya, from which you can see right across the bay to the fantastic fish market, Plaça Carme, with shops and food stalls, Plaça Conquesta and Plaça Constitucio which is home to the towns main church Santa María and the attractive Ajuntament (Town Hall). The main square is Plaça S'Esplanada though it doesn't have the charm of the smaller ones.
At the opposite end of the island, Ciutadella is also perched on top of a hill looking down at its harbour and suffered from quite a few invasions itself but was always second prize to Mahon in terms of strategic importance. The British left the great and good of Menorca to pretty much do their own thing in Ciutadella and because this it doesn't have the Colonial air that yo may feel in Mahon. It's a very attractive, compact town and though small manages to squeeze in its own Cathedral.

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