Top historic sites in Menorca

Ciutadella de Menorca Cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of Ciutadella de Menorca was constructed on the orders of King Alfonso III of Aragon, the conqueror of the island, in 1287 on the site of an old mosque. Construction started in 1300 and was finished in 1362, creating a building of the Catalan Gothic style, and is notable for the width of the nave, flanked by six chapels to each side. The five-sided apse is oriented to the east. After the d ...
Founded: 1300-1362 | Location: Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

Cap d’Artrutx Lighthouse

The Cap d’Artrutx Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse located on the low-lying headland on Menorca. It was completed in 1859 but the tower was significantly increased in 1969. Automated in 1980, the keeper’s accommodation is now used as a restaurant. It was designed by the architect Emili Pou who planned a number of lights in the Balearic Islands. The original tower was much shorter than that seen to ...
Founded: 1859 | Location: Cap d'Artrutx, Spain

Municipal Museum of Ciutadella

The Municipal Museum of Ciutadella is a general history and archaeological museum with a permanent exhibition on the history of Ciutadella and of the island itself from prehistoric times through to the Muslim era and the arrival of king Alfonso III in 1287. Visitors can take a tour through the island"s various historical periods, represented by the archaeological remains and artefacts on display. The Historic and Art ...
Founded: 1935 | Location: Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

Cales Coves Necropolis

Cales Coves is an emblematic and spectacular prehistoric necropolis, both for its setting and for the large number of tombs in it. They take the form of a set of cavities excavated from the rock walls of the ravines and coastal cliff faces (about 90 altogether), used by local communities to bury their dead. Several types of cave have been documented. The necropolis was used for about 1000 years, from the 11th century BCE ...
Founded: 11th century BCE | Location: Illes Balears, Spain

Sant Antoni Castle

The Sant Antoni Castle is located in the Spanish village of Fornells, in the municipality of Es Mercadal. It was built in the 17th century in the local harbour and due to this building, the town was born. Only some ruins are left from the structure, as it was dismantled by the Spanish after the British domination, just like St. Philip"s Castle. Not far from there, there is the Fornells Tower, a defensive tower ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Es Mercadal, Spain

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

Naveta d'Es Tudons

The Naveta d"Es Tudons is the most remarkable megalithic chamber tomb in the Balearic island of Menorca.  In Menorca and Majorca there are several dozen habitational and funerary naveta complexes, some of which similarly comprise two storeys. Navetas are chronologically pre-Talaiotic constructions. The Naveta d"Es Tudons served as collective ossuary between 1200 and 750 BC. The lower chamber was f ...
Founded: 1200 - 750 BCE | Location: Islas Baleares, 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

Torralba d'en Salort Talayotic Settlement

A prehistoric settlement dating from the Naviforme period (1700-1400 B.C.), in which the foundations of a circular cabin can still be seen. The main features are two talaiots, the taula enclosure, a hypostyle room, some caves dug out of the ground and the remains of other buildings used as dwellings. The taula and its enclosure are among the largest and most beautiful on the island. The building dates from the 4th-3rd ce ...
Founded: 1700-1400 BCE | Location: Alaior, Spain

Torre d'en Galmés Talayotic Settlement

Torre d’en Galmés is the largest settlement in Menorca. Its hilltop location made it the ideal spot for keeping watch over the land on most of the island"s south coast. In chronological terms, it was occupied from the Naviforme period (1700-1400 BCE), and you can still see an underground chamber from this period near the area where water was collected, right through until the late Roman era, although some remains ...
Founded: 1700 BCE | Location: Alaior, Spain

Torretrencada Talayotic Settlement

Torretrencada is a Talayotic settlement (1000-700 BCE) that was occupied until the Roman conquest in 123 BCE. Several of its monuments can still be seen. They include the talayot a seriest of artificial burial caves dug out of the rocky ground and burial chambers carved in the rock, probably dating from the high medieval period. The taula is one of the most beautiful on the island, with a reinforcement pillar at the back, ...
Founded: 1000 BCE | Location: Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

Cala Morell Settlement

The settlement of Cala Morell is a Menorcan pretalayotic archaeological site situated on a 35-meter-high coastal headland which closes the northeast side of Cala Morell"s bay. This promontory is protected by a dry-stone wall, which is found in the area where the promontory connects to solid ground. Radiocarbon dating of the site offers an approximate chronology of its occupation between 1600 and 1200 BC. Arou ...
Founded: 1600-1200 BCE | Location: Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

Trebalúger Talayot

A Talayotic period settlement (1000-700 B.C.) in Trebalúger was a spectacularly large talaiyot; it is 28 metres in diameter at its widest point. It has an elliptical layout and was built on a high rocky outcrop on the site of an earlier structure from the Naviforme period dating from 1350 B.C., with the bases of the pillars still preserved inside. At the front of the monument, near the entrance, you can see the remains ...
Founded: 1000 BCE | Location: Es Castell, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.