Arta © Dmottl
The ancient hilltop town of Arta, close to the east coast of Mallorca, has been occupied for about 3,000 years, and today welcomes visitors to the remains of its Bronze Age settlement at Ses Paisses, just outside the town in a grove of olive, carob, and holm oak trees, which dates back to about 1300 to 100 BC. Arta is thought to have been inhabited ever since the island was first colonised, and some interesting archaeological artefacts can be viewed in the The Regional Museum of Arta.
The ancient town presents a picturesque sight from the Santuari de Sant Salvador, the chapel-shrine on top of the hill, with its bleached rooftops spilling down the hillside below the battlements of a Moorish fortress. The Baroque church was built in 1892 and is connected by a staircase of 180 steps to the parish church of Transfiguracio del Senyor at the foot of the hill, which is a Gothic structure built in 1573, on the foundations of an older mosque. Little is actually known about the Moorish fortress which dominates the skyline, with its one metre thick walls and nine towers. The town is particularly lively on Tuesdays, market day, but the narrow streets and palpably ancient feel of the place is thrilling on any day.