"Maó /Mahon An Island Capital" Mahón by ranger49

Mahón Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 92 photos

Sea fishing in the north east of the Island

Depending on your source you will have to come to the conclusion that the natural harbour at Mahon must be a very long and deep one!

The longest/deepest in Europe/the Mediterranean/ the world?

It was undoubtedly the presence of the harbour with its long, narrow fiord-like approach leading to the deep, protected waters of an inner harbour that made it an ideal choice as a centre of trade throughout the history of the island. Its strategic adavantages were recognised by the British when they obtained right to use the harbour in the 16th Century after the Ottoman raids that destroyed much of the former capital of Ciutadella in 1558.
Within 15 years Maó became the capital and was fought over by the British, French and Spanish.
It was during the Battle of Menorca that the British Admiral Byng, once known to every British school child as < the one who was executed in1756> " Pour encourager les autres".

Nowadays the harbour is a more peaceful place with commercial shipping, ferries between the mainland and the other islands arriving daily. It is also a popular cruise ship destination, one where passengers may disembark on foot and easily make their own way on a tour of the town. We mainly saw smaller size cruise ships with just one really big one berthed for less than a full day on the dock.
We often woke to the slow, gentle throbbing sound of an engine and watched ships of all kinds pass on to their berth.

A benevolent Governor General

Brigadier General Richard Kane (1662–1736) was an Irish born British Army General who served the Island for nearly 25 years until his death.
Remembered more for his achievements as an administrator and innovator who pioneered changes that greatly improved the infrastructure and agricultural practices of the island he is commerorated in numerous ways about the island.
Seen here in a rather stern looking Bust atop a column in Placa de la Miranda overlooking the harbour. It is surrounded by three ancient trees with huge rope-like roots above the ground.
Another monument ( in need of a clean and restoration) can be seen in a specially constructed lay-by on the right hand side of the road from Mahon to Alaior close to the start of one of his major achievements - the Cami d'en Kane. This is the road he constructed to join Maó to Ciutadella on the west coast - still the only road to join the tho cities.
He restored some of the terraced fields left by the moors, introduced Friesian cattle and planned the planting of orchards. He was also responsible for improvements in water supply and sanitation and the great water cistern built at Es Mercadel is still in use.

The Georgian architectural and linguistic legacy

In this square some of the typical reminders of the British occupationan can be seen with both sash windows and a "boinder" a local corruption of the Georgian bow-window perhaps first learned from the occupying soldiers and seamen.
On menus see if you can spot "grevi" for gravy, and if you are looking for new leather shoes ( a major local industry now ) you need a "xumaquer" for a shoemaker.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A compact little city in a beautiful location
  • Cons:None really unless steps are a problem for you.
  • In a nutshell:Plenty to do, lots of history, activities and relaxation
  • Last visit to Mahón: Oct 2011
  • Intro Updated Aug 22, 2012
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Reviews (15)

Comments (10)

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    Thanks Dee - just been reading about Wupatki National Monument one of your ancient sites. Isn't it ifascinaring to compare how different civilsations developed and lived long ago and continents apart but with many similarities.

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    Thanks Dee - just been reading about Wupatki National Monument one of your ancient sites. Isn't it ifascinaring to compare how different civilsations developed and lived long ago and continents apart but with many similarities.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Wonderful page Barbara! Torre D’en Galmes sounds and looks fascinating!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    Barbara, lovely little page about this Balearic gem. So far I only made it to Mallorca, but I would also love to visit Menorca in the future.

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Hola
    Great page...enjoyed the history of somewhere I had never heard about
    Marg

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Past my bedtime and too tired to read more but looking interesting so I'll be back. leyle

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    Interesting tips about the fortress, museum and harbour. I never realized the British occupation lasted so long. Good that Richard Kane’s great water cistern at Es Mercadel is still in use.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Sounds like you had an enjoyable time here. I thought your Hotel was lovely, especially seeing you had a room with a balcony and lovely view, good choice!

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Dear Barbara, wonderful pages about your trip to Maó and Minorca! The local architecture, especially the cloisters, look most beautiful, as well as the hotel and the view! I also like all the interesting historical information.

  • Aitana's Profile Photo
    Oct 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Hi Barbara. Nice historical approach to the city. I see you had peaceful holidays in Mahón.

ranger49

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