It is estimated that four thousand years before the birth of Christ, there were settlers arriving from the eastern Mediterranean and making their homes on the island. Not a huge amount is known about the early culture of Menorca’s first inhabitants, but they left behind a number of crude stone structures to mark their existence.
The prehistoric edifices include burial chambers called navetas, which look like square stone igloos. The Naveta des Tudons, a popular Menorca holiday attraction, is the largest of the navetas, and in the best condition. Archaeological excavations found a hundred Bronze Age bodies entombed here.
‘Taulas,’ which you can see frequently on a Menorca holiday, would look at home at Stonehenge; they are megaliths formed in a ‘T’ shape. Some historians have suggested they were erected for the purposes of ritual sacrifices. Because there are so many in the space of such a small island, Menorca represents the most concentrated region of prehistoric monuments in the world. Although many of these stone structures are disintegrating, wherever you are on the island, you will be able to see some of these stone monuments nearby.
Menorca’s more recent history has been related to Menorca holidays and the development of quality Menorca villas in pockets across the island. The tourism here has evolved more gradually than on the other Balearic isles, so Menorca’s landscape is relatively unblemished by holiday developments compared to its neighbours. Menorca’s inhabitants have maintained a healthy harmony with their environment.
The Future of the Island
In the early nineties moves were taken to protect the environment of the island. Menorca became a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, defining it as ‘a place of important natural and cultural heritage.’ This encouraged the protection for the island’s wildlife and initiated a process of restoration for some of the stone monuments, meaning there are now more of them worth visiting on Menorca holidays.
Following the UNESCO designation, some areas have been protected from human interference, such as the enclosures containing sand dune ecosystems on the southern coast. In the north east of the island, there is a wetland nature reserve at the Parc Natural de S'Albufera des Grau. As well as being a nesting area for many species of birds, it is the site of Roman ruins, and the allocated paths make good hiking routes to try on a holiday in Menorca.
Because of such measures, you can take comfort that while you are having a great time on your Menorca holidays, the travel industry will not cause detriment to the ongoing beauty of the island. Nowadays, Menorca is such a desirable destination in the eyes of foreigners that as much as ten percent of the island’s population is made up of expatriate residents. The expats are mostly British, enjoying the life of Menorca’s villas and warm Mediterranean climate.
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Article Added on Thursday, August 13, 2009
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