Beyond its thousand coves and beaches, its nature, gastronomy and heritage, there is something that distinguishes Menorca and captivates the visitor: its way of understanding life, forged with the passage of the different civilizations that have left their mark on it. The gestators of the Talayotic culture, back in 1400 BC, the Romans, the Vandals and the Byzantines, the Muslims … and, more recently, the English (especially) and the French. All of them contributed to define the character of the Menorcan, who welcomes visitors with open arms, ready to make them feel at home. An immaterial value but one that is undoubtedly appreciated by the traveler, who quickly forgets the stress of everyday life to enjoy the magical essence of the island for a few days. A place where you live, feel and enjoy at a slow pace. Tempting, right?
‘The human factor’ – the title of one of Graham Greene’s most prestigious novels – would serve to define Menorca’s best kept secret: its people who give life to everything else. Starting with those ancient stones that make up one of the hallmarks of the island: talayotic culture, which in February of this year will be presented by Spain as candidate for a World Heritage Site.
Visit a destination it involves something more intense and profound than simply looking at monuments or taking selfies with them. It is immersing yourself in your own history of each one to understand its true meaning, the result of what our eyes contemplate. And all this you have to know how to tell, with pride and passion, as the Menorcans do. Only in this way is it possible to understand how these sets of ancient stones compose navetas, talayots, taulas or necropolis, authentic stone works of art of a civilization that began to mark the destiny of Menorca, its differentiation as a unique island in the Mediterranean.
The story is also perfectly fused with the conservation of the island’s territory, Biosphere Reserve for a quarter of a century. Paths like the Camí de Cavalls, 185 kms that cover the entire coastal perimeter and whose origins go back to 7 centuries ago how muchIn the time of King Jaime II, it was ordered to keep an armed horse to guard it against possible attacks by sea. Or the Camí d’en Kane, built during British rule (18th century) by order of the English governor Richard Kane and that for a century became the main axis of Menorca, from Ciutadella to Maó. Currently part of this path –from Es Mercadal to Maó– is a scenic route.
Also the gastronomy of Menorca –Which has earned it the recognition of the European Region of Gastronomy 2022– It is rich in nuances from other cultures that have left their mark in many of its recipes. Like wine, they implanted the Romans; the cuscussó, a typical Christmas sweet, inherited from the Arabs; the native Menorcan gin, the Gin Xoriguer, from british influence as well as the brou de xenc (beef broth); or mayonnaise sauce, which during french domination enthused the Duc de Richelieu (18th century), who ‘exported’ the recipe to France under the name of mahonnaise, in honor of Maó.
And beyond the land itself there is also the sky, that the Menorcan ancestors already observed and that has led to another of the great attractions of the island, declared Starlight Destination and Reserve due to its night-time sharpness, zero light pollution.
The secret of the true magic of Menorca is, precisely, in having known how to maintain the authenticity of that multicultural essence that has permeated the Menorcan character. History, nature, customs, traditions … but, above all, people. Stop the clocks and enjoy this magic of Menorca as Menorcans do: bit by bit.