Top Historic Sights in Mahón, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Mahón

Talatí de Dalt

Talatí de Dalt is one of the Menorca's most significant prehistoric settlements. It consists of various monuments: an elliptical-shaped conical talaiot, a taula enclosure, an area with dwellings and some caves.The taula enclosure at Talatí de Dalt is one of the largest and most beautiful in Menorca. It has an unusual aspec, as the pillar and its capital are leaning against the side edge of the centre T, probably because ...
Founded: 850 BCE | Location: Mahón, Spain

Trepucó Talayotic Settlement

The settlement of Trepucó is one of the largest on Menorca, covering an area of around 49,240 square metres. Today, only a small part of the site can still be seen, the two oldest buildings, the talaiots (1000-700 BCE). Other remains include parts of the wall, two square towers on the west wall, the taula enclosure and traces of dwellings from the post-Talayotic period (650-123 BCE).The taula enclosure is one of the bigg ...
Founded: 1000 BCE | Location: Mahón, Spain

Lazareto of Mahón

In 1787, in the Count of Floridablanca of Charles III of Spain, the Prime Minister gave the order for the construction of such a quarantine station or Lazareto in the Harbour of Mahón. However, the work did not begin until 1793 when the stone from the ruined fortress was put to good use and ferried across the harbour by boat to be recycled and used for much of the construction of the quarantine station. This work was the ...
Founded: 1793 | Location: Mahón, Spain

Torelló Talayot

The Torelló settlement was one of the largest in the municipal area of Mahón. It is especially well known for the spectacular talaiot (called the Talayot of Torellonet Vell) which is interesting because at the top of the tower you can still see the original doorway and the lintel above it, both of which date from the Talayotic period (1000-700 BCE). Unfortunately, the structure was damaged by the triangulation pillar a ...
Founded: 1000 BCE | Location: Mahón, Spain

Pre-Christian Basilica Fornàs de Torelló

Pre-Christian basilica with a regular layout, the central nave paved with a magnificent mosaic which can still be seen. It dates from the 6th century A.D., when the Byzantine army of Justinian (the Eastern Roman Emperor who aspired to rebuild the Western Roman Empire) had conquered the Balearic Islands. It faces from east to west, and on the northern side retains a small hemispherical baptismal font built in stone and mo ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Mahón, Spain

Cornia Nou Talayots

Cornia Nou is a settlement dating from the Talayotic period (1000-750 B.C.) with two well preserved talayots of different types. The oldest and most spectacular is circular and measures around 26 metres in diameter, an impressive monument. It has a building in the facade with access at ground level; an inside passageway ascends to a set of steps leading up to the upper platform of the talayot.The other talaiot is consider ...
Founded: 1000-750 BCE | Location: Mahón, Spain

Biniparratxet

One of the interesting things about the Biniparratxet monument is that in 1995 it was moved and rebuilt because of runway extension work at Menorca airport. The project was promoted and sponsored by AENA, the Spanish airport authority. The monument originally stood in the Talayotic settlement of Biniparratxet Petit in the south-eastern side of the island, near the town of Sant Lluís. It is currently open to visitors in ...
Founded: 1000 BCE | Location: Mahón, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.