Ciutadella de Menorca
Ciutadella © Prichardson
Minorca's former capital city, the compact port of Ciutadella de Menorca - usually just called Ciutadella - is west of the modern capital and linked to it by the main island road. Ciutadella is very different in character to Mahon, sporting a distinct Moorish and Spanish influence in its Gothic and Baroque grand mansions and palaces. It is an ancient town, reputedly founded by the Carthaginians by the 4th century. During its long history Ciutadella changed hands multiple times, memorably having all 3,000 or so surviving residents taken as slaves by invading Turks in 1558 after a siege of the city.
Ciutadella remains the island's religious centre and is still the home of the bishop. The Cathedral of Menorca, located in the old quarter, was built in 1287 on the site of an even older mosque, and is one of the city's greatest attractions. The town hall, formerly the palace of the Arab governor and then the royal palace, is also an interesting old building. Although the city boasts few specific sightseeing attractions, it does offer excellent restaurants, interesting shops and arcades as well as a relaxed ambience that is just perfect for wandering around. There are also some coves nearby inviting exploration.