Fact or Fantasy

Fact or Fantasy? Read these items and decide for yourself.Test your knowledge of the Island by judging whether these are facts or fantasy. At the bottom of the page you will find which are which!

Menorca is the first place in Spain to see the sun rise.

The sunrises on Spain in Menorca. The most Easterly island of the Balearics is the most eastern point of the Spanish peninsula.

As the sun rises in the east, it isn't hard to figure out why Menorca sees the sun first each morning. This is why a Menorcan sunrire features prominently on these Web Pages.

The first language of Menorca isn't Spanish

The Island's official language is Catalan. This ancient form of Spanish also contains traces of French.

Islanders also have their own Menorquín dialect that can confuse the unwary! Spanish is the language traditionally used to greet strangers and holidaymakers . However locals, walk slowly whilst nodding bon dia (good day) to all passers-by.

Mayonnaise (Mahonesa) was invented in Menorca

In 1756, Duke de Richelieu landed in Menorca with 20,000 French troops to root out Menorca's British rulers. During his stay the Duke's chef invented a new sauce, based on a local allioli recipe. This new sauce was served at the victory banquet in Paris and Mayonnaise was an instant success. The sauce's name became mayonesa in Spanish and mayonnaise in English,although purists still prefer mahonesa to underline it's Menorcan origins.

Homemade mayonesa was served in many of Spain's restaurants until an outbreak of Salmonella in Valencia, some years ago, believed to have been caused by leaving raw eggs in the intense heat. Now most restaurants only serve the commercial American version of the sauce. fact or fantasy?

Port de Maó

Port de Maó is the second largest natural harbour in the world

Locals will tell you that Mahon harbour, Port de Maó, is the world's second largest natural harbour anf is second only to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. However most sources show Sydney harbour is the largest with Rio, Halifax and Falmouth in joint second place.

Despite the truth, Mahon still has an impressive harbour stretching 5km inland. There is no doubt however that the port has played a large part in Menorcan history.

Menorca was the last place in Spain to fall to Franco.

A public uprising one day after Menorca's military governor declared support for Franco's Nationalists gave the island to the Republican cause for the duration of the civil war from 1936-39. Menorca was the last place to fall to General Franco and the island suffered much retribution, including a ban on the local languages. During the Franco years, public groups of three people or more were broken up by the police as "illegal gatherings". Thankfully Spain returned to democracy in 1975 under King Juan Carlos I. fact or fantasy?

Mahon is the only city in Spain with Georgian architecture.

The British governed Menorca from 1708-1756, 1763-1782 and 1798-1802 and left their mark across the island. Mahon is the only city in Spain to feature classical Georgian architecture, with traces of English design from the door knockers to sash windows (sadly being replaced by modern PVC windows!) British rule, especially under firstgovernor Kane, is still fondly remembered on the island for the improvements it brought to Menorca. fact or fantasy?

Menorca has more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza put together

Menorca has 220km of coastline and hundreds of natural beaches, although many are inaccessible by car. Read our guide to Menorca's beaches for more information. fact or fantasy?

Menorca was the first Balearic island to use wind energy

Turbines were erected at Milà to harness energy from the island's famous tramontana (prevailing northerly wind). Plans are under review for up to four more sites. fact or fantasy?

Local soldiers were paid in wine and women.

During the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome, the Carthaginians recruited Menorca's famous Balearic slingers to fight for them. These formidable men were paid handsomely in wine and women, although today the island's residents are paid mostly in Euros. fact or fantasy?

Juan Carlos' fishy treat.

Fornells is renowned for its spiny lobsters, found in the local dish caldereta de llagosta (lobster stew). They are apparently so good that King Juan Carlos sails from Mallorca just to eat lobster there. fact or fantasy?

Bini is a Moorish word meaning "son of"

Menorca was under the Islamic rule of the Moors from 902AD-1229AD. Little remains of their stay but many place names still include the word "bini", e.g. Binibeca Vell.

Incredibly they are all regarded as facts not fantasies. By now you probably can start to appreciate my facination with the Island

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