The Balearic Islands formed by the islands of Menorca, Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera and located a hundred kilometers from the coast between Barcelona and Valencia, where the western Mediterranean tends to first narrowing of the Pillars of Hercules, is at least half a century one of the main tourist attractions and beaches of this sea.
Just say the names of Majorca and Ibiza to call to mind the golden sandy beaches, picturesque coves, attractive harbors and elegant hotels, but most permissive open to topless beaches, and to naturism, clubs hectic and unconventional, gay bars and romantic havens where each Summer always brings together the best of the international jet set for a holiday over the lines. Few remember now as it was also the islands beautiful landscapes, rich nature, history and culture, as perhaps few of his regular visitors know that the old town of Ibiza has been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage for its monuments, or that Menorca has the largest concentration of prehistoric megalithic monuments of the continent, contemporaries of the most famous Sardinian nuraghi and the monoliths of Stonehenge. To rediscover the essence, beauty and peculiarities would agree to visit in spring or autumn, away from summer crowd and temptations of the beach sunbathing.
Due to their strategic location and the fertility of the soil, these islands have passed through all the major civilizations, each leaving significant evidence. They started the Phoenicians and Cartaginés, already in 654 BC had made a major port of Ibiza in the Mediterranean, followed by Romans, Vandals and Byzantines in 848 the Arabs bandwagon emirate of Cordoba, giving it more than three centuries Islamic imprint that lasted until the Reconquista aragonese in 1229. In the Middle Ages, when arose the numerous watchtowers and fortified cities, constituted an important bulwark against the expansion of Turkish raids of Saracen pirates. Since mid-1800 began to be chosen, for the climate and the beauty of the landscape, or as a holiday retreat for aristocratic, wealthy and intellectual. Curiously, the name derives from the Greek archipelago dance, ie sling, because the people were very skilled in the launch of dangerous lead projectiles precisely using slingshots, the Carthaginians took advantage of this ability by recruiting mercenaries from the seventh century. BC, capable of instilling fear in the Roman army. And not surprisingly the Balearics were only subdued by the Romans in 146 BC, ten years after the fall of Carthage.
Same archipelago and one autonomous region with the capital Palma, but the islands are very different from each other. Menorca (48×16 km), the easternmost, proclaimed by UNESCO biosphere reserve, with stunning bays and beaches, perhaps the most beautiful and diverse, a significant presence of prehistoric monuments and lives almost entirely on tourism. It has features English, with elegant Georgian-style town and substantial production of gin, for the duration of a century domination by Britain in 1700. Previously it had been a stronghold of the annoying Mediterranean piracy, so that in 1400 the Genoese fleet attacked twice, coming to bulldoze it.
Majorca, the largest (16 times the Elbe), the capital of the residential tourism for its climate of eternal spring, has the interior mountains, olive groves, pine forests and ocher villages, and along the rugged coastline to the largest concentration of beaches. The elegant Palma is the largest city. It has three national parks, famous for his caves with underground lakes and the production of cultured pearls. Ibiza, the closest to the Spanish mainland (large two and a half times the Elbe), is especially famous for its trendy, hippy markets and lively nightlife based rave. Rough and rocky, the interior presents woods and orchards that make it a rustic paradise, worthy of its famous beaches. Before Phoenician colony, the Romans liked wine and fish sauce. The citadel, often overlooked by tourists, is a UNESCO site.
Finally, the small flat and Formentera (scarcely a third of the Elbe), the most western, separated by a sea of just 7 km from Ibiza, which is in a sense an appendage. The old wheat granary of the Romans, hence the name, is fertile and rich in water, covered with uncontaminated Mediterranean vegetation and pine forests, rocky shores and cliffs offer secluded sandy beaches ideal for naturism. There is a feeling more peaceful, romantic and more relaxed than the sister.
For a learned and curious tourists, the Balearic Islands have much to offer, even far from its famous beaches. In Menorca Ciutadella not to be missed, the ancient capital in the Islamic period, with the fortified Gothic cathedral, the aristocratic residences and charming porticoed street home to craft shops, and the megalithic monuments of the Bronze Age, also in Majorca. There are three types: the talayot, conical stone towers multi-storeyed buildings used as residences or fortresses, Naveta, burial tombs in the shape of upturned boat, and then the taula, huge slabs of stone with a religious function, in equilibrium on a vertical support in the shape of T.
In the lovely Palma de Mallorca offers the imposing gothic cathedral with stained glass windows of Gaudi, the royal palace of the Arab Almudaina, the fortification of the Renaissance Baluard, the fourteenth-century castle of Bellver circular and the house-museum of Miro, inside the site Archaeological Artà with megalithic walls, the thirteenth-century monastery of the Carthusian monastery of Lluc and Valldemossa, where Chopin composed some of his best pieces. Ibiza deserve a visit to the fortified town of the same name, where you can visit the remains of Punic acropolis, the baroque cathedral and necropolis of Carthage.
Originally posted 2012-07-19 01:47:17.