I sometimes feel that Ciutadella is the poor relation to Mahon. Despite its historic past
as the former capital the depth of history and the diversity of cultural activities it
usually takes visitors by surprise.
I am not sure whether this attitude is fostered by its distance from the Airport or
not but 30 miles (50 kilometers) is no great distance along the main east west highway, the ME-1.
Public transport serves the City and Taxis are not too expensive for those
without hire cars.
However you choose to travel you will not fail to be impressed by the magnificent statue
of the rearing stallion on the outskirts of the City. The second most striking feature of this city is its narrow busy streets.
One should not really be surprised by the hustle and bustle as almost
half the Menorcan population live in the City and its surrounding areas.
The City dates back to Roman times and it is still common for residents to find artifacts buried just a meter down. The Romans chose this site for it good defensive position andits proximity to its sister island of Menorca.
Until 1708 it was the capital and the move to Mahon was not universally popular especially with the Church.
When King Alfonso III of Aragón captured the Island in 1287 he ordered a Cathedral
to be built on the site of the Ancient Moorish Mosque.
The Cathedral was built in the Catalan Gothic style of the time but also incorporated
the original Minaret. Incorporated in the design were stone carving of mythical
creatures on the inside and a large collection of Gargoyles on the outside.
In 1813 a new facade was added in the neoclassic style which although damaged in 1936
during the Spanish Civil War was later fully restored. The Cathedral
on Plaça Pío XII remains a magnificent sight and is visited by large
numbers of tourists each year.