Spain's stunning island of Menorca offers nothing short of paradise for those looking for a weekend getaway or a family vacation along the Mediterranean Sea. Of course, the island is known for its incredible beaches, but most people don't realize that Menorca also boasts a strong centuries-old religious foundation with many religion-oriented historic sites that are open to the public. These are just a few of the most popular sites that you may like to visit.
Ciutadella de Menorca Cathedral
One of Menorca's most visited religious sites, this Catalan Gothic-style Roman Catholic Church is open for tours all year long. Built on the site of an old mosque after the island was conquered by King Alfonso III of Aragon in 1287, it still stands today as a testament to Menorca's long-standing role as a respected religious center. Those who choose to take a guided tour may enjoy a detailed lesson on the history and architecture of the cathedral, see the huge stained-glass windows and the religious paintings and artifacts that are found in the chapels, visit the bell tower and even head up to the roof to enjoy the city's best view of the Mediterranean Sea and the entire city.
Iglesia del Carmen
Beautifully situated in the old town of Mahon, the Iglesia del Carmen is considered the most important religious monument in the entire city, and it's the center point of a religious celebration that takes place each year in July when the city comes alive with a huge parade and various festivities. A lovely structure with a neoclassical design, construction began on the church in 1750 and was not completed until 1826 due to some conflict between the church founders, the Order of the Carmelites, and the city government. While the church has been converted to a museum and cultural center, it still houses a statue of the Virgin del Carmen, which is the patron saint of fishermen and sailors.
Convent of Sant Agusti
Nestled in the heart of Ciutadella near the main cathedral, the Convent of Sant Agusti houses the Diocesan Museum and is open to the public. This beautiful 17th century structure functioned for many years as a convent, and one wing still houses a community of nuns to this very day. Those who take the guided tour will enjoy seeing the impressive centuries-old painting on the ceiling as well as plenty of time to explore the museum. Expect to discover religious pieces made from silver and gold between the 17th and 20th centuries, a variety of collections from the Diocese Seminary on the topics of physics and natural sciences and some wonderful engravings, paintings and archaeological materials from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Church of Sant Francesc d'Assis
A Franciscan convent from the days of old, this impressive 17th century Baroque-style building in Mahon now houses the Menorca Museum. You'll see the original painting on the ceiling that was gazed upon by the early nuns, and there are two full floors that are filled with exceptional pieces of Menorca history. In addition to traveling exhibits that change periodically, these are just a few of the highlights of the many regular exhibits.
- History of the Convent
- The Roman Conquest
- The Moorish Period
- Mahon Port
- Early Maps of Menorca
- The Byzantine Period
- The Roman Period
- Pre-Talayotic Culture
- Talayotic Culture
- Menorca Painters
- Menorca in the 18th Century
- Menorca in the 19th and 20th Centuries
- Paintings from the 20th Century
Cementiri Municipal de Ciutadella
Whether you're a fan of old cemeteries, want to look for the grave site of your ancestors or just feel the need to spend a peaceful time in a beautiful area that offers perfect quiet with the exception of the lovely song of the birds, you'll want to visit this cemetery that dates back to 1838. It's revered as an architectural wonder that you'll have to see to appreciate, and the facade is formed by a succession of pantheons with large domes. At first glance, it's easy to mistake this site for a Roman or Greek temple. Inside, you'll discover the gallery of tombs that are kept whitewashed so that visitors can be sure of finding the inscriptions readable, and you may expect to discover some of Menorca's most important figures laid to rest in this lovely cemetery. The decoration of graves is encouraged, and you may expect to see flowers, cacti, succulent plants and bits of memorabilia left on the various grave sites.
Each of these sites may be enjoyed with a tour led by a knowledgeable guide who can explain the history, architecture and significance of each site. Those who are lodging with us here at Exceptional Stays may count on our dedicated concierge team to take care of the arrangements for an excellent tour of these and other religious sites on the island.