Megalithic monuments: beauty and mystery in the Balearic Islands


Illes Balears

The Balearic Islands are keepers of many secrets. Way back in prehistory, art was represented in mysterious constructions. These are the legacy of the area’s first settlers – prehistoric monuments that turn the archipelago into nothing less than an open-air museum

Huge Megalithic monuments are witnesses to the presence of humans on the Balearics even before history began to be written. The talayots (defensive structures) and taulas, navetas and dolmens (funeral monuments) have weird and wonderful designs that blend in harmoniously with the unique landscapes around them – dominated by the sun and with the sea as permanent backdrop. Why not make discovering these prehistoric constructions the excuse for coming to one of these unique islands? Thanks to their stunning natural setting, excellent infrastructure and the broad range of leisure and sports facilities on offer, for decades these islands have been chosen as a tourist destination by thousands of people.

There are numerous talavots, large defensive towers, spread across the Balearic Islands. In Mallorca the Capocorb Vell site in the village of Llucmajor is an outstanding example of this type of fortifications, as are the Son Fornés settlement, in Montuïri; and the prehistoric Ses Païsessettlement, in Artà, dating back to 1300 BC., which became a designated Historic-Artistic Monument in 1946.

Menorca , the northernmost island in the archipelago, is an archaeological paradise. Estimates suggest there are more than 1,000 prehistoric monuments, so there are no end of alternatives. However, the most spectacular sites are the Trepucó, Torelló and Talatí de Dalt settlements.

Taulas are megalithic monuments that can only be found in this area. They are table-shaped structures (this gives them their name), some five metres high, with an upper slab in T-formation. They can only be found in Minorca, where 30 taulas remain, like the ones at Torre d'en Gaumés or Son Catlar. Navetas are another part of Balearic prehistoric heritage. They are collective burial sites and some of the best examples can be found at Naveta des Tudons, dated between 3000 and 1300 BC, in the village of Ciutadella.

The archipelago offers other possibilities. Lose yourself in hidden coves and discover its array of beaches; enjoy crystal-clear waters ideal for water-sports; discover its calm, peaceful inland villages and its rugged mountains; soak up the sun all year round; try out its golf courses; sample its simple regional cuisine with typical products like sobrasada (a very soft sausage) and ensaimada (a light pastry roll), and exquisite dishes like caldereta de langosta, (lobster casserole) and tumbet de pescado (baked fish dish)... Everything is possible in the Balearics.

El Archipiélago ofrece otras posibilidades como perderse por calas recónditas y recorrer sus múltiples playas; sumergirse en aguas limpias y transparentes en las que practicar deportes náuticos; descubrir sus pueblos del interior, llenos de armonía y sosiego, sus abruptas montañas; disfrutar de sol todo el año; acercarse hasta sus campos de golf; adentrarse en su gastronomía, de origen sencillo, con productos tan típicos como la sobrasada y la ensaimada, y platos tan exquisitos como la caldereta de langosta, el tumbet de pescado... Todo es posible en las Islas Baleares.

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