This port city on the west coast of the island has been a settlement since the Carthaginians conquered the island. It was the capital of Menorca until the British occupation in 1708; however, although the Treaty of Utrecht recognised Mahón as the commercial capital of the island, the Bishop refused to relocate his palace, meaning that Ciutadella is the still the religious heart of Menorca.
The city has felt the full brunt of the island’s extensive history of invasion and occupation. It is fascinating to walk around the town and admire its impressive palaces, which range from the medieval to the nineteenth-century neo-classical.
Before you raise your gaze upwards to admire the palaces, take a good look at the vaults which many of them sit on. In some areas Ses Voltes – the arches which support the wooden frames of the residences above – are thought to date from the sixteenth century, as you can tell by the layers of calcium that cover the vaults.
A number of the noble residences in Ciutadella consist of a group of houses bound together by an extensive and impressive facade. A great example of this is Can Saura, a stately home built at the end of the seventeenth century at the beginning of the eighteenth, and Can Squella, which ties together a number of older buildings and was finished in 1849.
Look out for the Case Comte in the Placa d’es Born, the residence of the Count of Torre Saura in the nineteenth century. At the main entrance you will see a female face whose eyes are covered by a veil. Traditionally this is supposed to symbolise that, as she cannot see who is crossing the threshold, anyone is welcome to enter the house. While you’re exploring the Placa d’es Born, make sure you visit the Palacio Salort. The terrace looking out over the port is an excellent place to people-watch.
If you love to walk through cities and view the different centuries stacked up next to each other on historic streets, then a visit to Ciutadella is well worth a day trip from our villas in Cala Galdana.