The presence of permanent human civilisation in Menorca can be dated back between 2500 B.C. and 2100 B.C and the first domestic megalithic structures built was the Naviform in 1750 B.C. There are 25 prehistoric sites in Menorca that were built during the Talayotic period that been identified as being of significant importance to the archaeological heritage of Menorca.
In 123 B.C. the Romans conquered Menorca which brought an end to the Talyotic period. The Romans built three cities Mahon, Ciutadella and Sanisera, located on the northern coast around the natural port of Sanitja. You can visit the remains of a Roman built Christian Basilicas at Son Bou and Fornás de Torelló which has a stunning mosaic floor pattern.
Over the next few centuries Menorca was invaded by numerous cultures such as The Vandals an East Germanic Tribe, the Muslims who inhabited most of Spain and Turkish pirates led by Hayreddin Barbarossa. During the period of Islamic rule the Arabs built Castle of Santa Agueda and the ruins can still be seen before being destroyed by Peter UV of Aragon around 1343.
The islands important strategic position in the Mediterranean, has led to a very rich and colourful history and the island has suffered numerous invasions which have all impacted and helped develop a Menorcan culture that is rich in heritage. From the beginning of the 18th century through to and 19th the island went through numerous invasions and rule including the English, French and Spanish. The British rule, made a significant influence in its cultural and have definitely left a lasting impression, in its language, architecture, cuisine and children’s games.
Attractions well worth a visit include the British built Fort Marlborough in 1726, Sant Felipe castle built by the Spanish and rebuilt by the British in the 1760’s and Fortress of Isabel II on La Mola started by the British but never completed. Also worth a visit are numerous Coastal defence towers built during the 18th century to help defend the island.
The religion in Menorca is predominantly Christianity and the remains of the first few church’s Roman basilicas can still be seen in Son Bou and Fornás de Torelló. The stunning Cathedral of Menorca situated in the old town of Ciutadella dates back to 1287, built by orders of King Alfonso III and is a wonderful example of Catalan gothic architecture.
The museums in Menorca will help you discover more information about the history of the island and its cultural influences. The Military Museum in Es Castell has numerous exhibitions detailing Menorca’s history from prehistoric times right through until the 20th century and the Museum of Menorca located in a 15th monastery in Mahon is also well worth a visit for its rare prehistoric and ancient roman collections.