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Ciutadella de Menorca is a town on the island of Menorca in the Balearic Islands. It lies on the western coast of Menorca.
Ciutadella, also known as Ciudadella, was once the capital of Minorca. It was the capital in Roman times and then in Moorish times. The Catalans conquered the Moors during the Reconquista and flattened and rebuilt Ciutadella. Then in 1558 the town was flattened again, this time by the Turks who captured several thousand Menorcans, taken as slaves.
The town was rebuilt and continued to thrive until 1722 when Mao was made the islands capital. Ciutadella then changed little in later years which means much of its beautiful architecture remains to be admired today.
Ciutadella is very atmospheric town with narrow, cobbled streets, lovely old palaces, one of Spain's most impressive squares and, below the town, a small harbour.
The main square is called the Placa d'es Born and was originally a parade ground for Moorish troops. It has since been rebuilt in Renaissance style though there is a large obelisk in the centre commemorating the 'Year of Misfortune' when the Turks invaded Ciutadella. Placa des Born is one of Spain's best squares.
On the square is the town hall, built in Gothic style and the 19th century theatre. There are also several palaces on the square. The 19th century Palau de Torre Saura is the most grand but also note the Palace of Salort and the Palace Vivo. The Palau Salort is unfortunately the only one of Ciutadella's palaces which is open to public. Head for the north side of the square and there are great views over Ciutadella's harbour.
The 14th century cathedral is built on the site of an old mosque and is one of the few buildings to survive from this period. From the harbour you can get great views looking up to the town and cathedral.
Other buildings worth noting are the Esglesia del Roser with a Churrigueresque facade and the seventeenth century mansion of Can Saura with elegant stonework.
Near to the cathedral is Ses Voltes, an avenue which is lined with whitewashed arches, Moorish in style and home to some nice shops. Near to here is the Placa Nova, a tiny square with the best pavement cafes in Ciutadella.
Ciutadella has an important fiesta every year on the 24th June- the Festa de Sant Joan when elegantly dressed riders ride their horses through the streets and get their horses to rear up at the end of the procession whilst the crowd tries to hold the horses up with their hands for as long as possible!
Museums in Ciutadella, Menorca
The Museu Diocesa de Menorca is housed in an old convent with a Baroque cloister. The museum holds various archeological finds.
The Museu Municipal is housed in part of the city fortifications and also contains archeological finds.
NB: The Ciutadella Park is in Barcelona not Ciutadella.
Places to visit nearby
You can find more local travel ideas in the Balearic Islands guide.