Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cala de Sa Torreta to Cala Presili

 Sa Torreta de Tramontana.
This is one of the few Talayotic settlements identified on the north coast of Menorca. It stands in a beautiful natural landscape. The talayot is the stepped type and you can still see the taula enclosure and the remains of various dwellings. Compared to others of its kind, the taula enclosure is quite small. The taula is still intact, with some pilasters standing and part of the facade in good condition. It was excavated around 1930 by Margaret Murray, a British archaeologist who pioneered scientific research on Menorca’s Prehistoric era and documented the various objects linked to the rituals held in these enclosures during the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.), including evidence of fire, the remains of the bones of lambs and kid goats, plus amphorae for wine.

The oval-shaped talayot was built just behind the enclosure, on top of the highest point in the settlement, giving it exceptional views over the surrounding countryside. The remains of at least four domestic areas were found next to both structures.
Near the settlement, going towards the beach, you can see the remains of a much older burial site, known as a triple faced tomb, dating from between 1600 and 1300 B.C.

 Favaritx from Cala Tortuga.

Wild Orchids !

 Himantoglossum robertianum
This is the largest orchid species in our fields (it can reach up to 0.5 m in height), hence it is very easy to recognise just because of its size. The leaves are broad and oval; it develops a robust stem which has a very dense spike of flowers. The flowers are also quite largeg with a large, lobulate labellum, and are yellowish or lilac. It lives along the side of the pine woods and garrigues (Mediterranean woodland), usually along path-sides. It flowers in February and in March. Not really common in Menorca, and very located in a few areas only.

 Neotinea Lactea (Milky Orchid)
It is a small plant, growing up to 25cm in height, but it has a very dense infloresence which is egg-shaped when the flowers are fully open. The Milky Orchid grows in open grassy places and meadows, where it blooms from the end of February to tbe beginning of April.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Orchid hunting at Cala Pilar

I knew this was a propitious area for it and also it was the right time -second week in March- so I went to Cala Pilar to try to fond any specimen of Orchid.

 Cala Pilar shows a wild and ragged beauty.

Ophrys tenthredinifera.

Ophrys tenthredinifera, the sawfly orchid, is a terrestrial species of orchid native to the Mediterranean region from Portugal and Morocco to Turkey The common name refers to a purported resemblance between the flower and the sawfly, a wasp-like insect.

 Quercus Ilex

Quercus ilex, the evergreen oak, holm oak, or holly oak is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from holm, an ancient name for holly. It is a member of the white oak section of the genus, with acorns that mature in a single summer.

 The wood is hard and tough, and has been used since ancient times for general construction purposes as pillars, tools, wagons (Hesiod, Works and Days 429), vessels, and wine casks. It is also used as firewood, or in charcoal manufacture.

It's been a very long walk for Panxo who has been sleeping in the car all the way back.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Santa Maria Church, the famous organ and Lord Collingwood.

The Church of Santa Maria has organized a tour today so people can see the interior, often hidden, of this historical building.

Although the first church was built here in the Middle Ages, the building we see today dates from middle of 1700. Curiously, the largest religious buildings of the island were built at the time when Menorca was under British rule.The interior of the church is Neo-Gothic, with a nave with ribbed vaults; on the sides there are several chapels dedicated to various saints. The exterior is simple and austere, with a bell tower and a Gothic front door opening onto a small enclosed space.

Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries almost all parishes and convents of Menorca had an organ, which become an important reference
in the Christian community. There were such instruments at the church of Sant Francesc, in Mahon, Menorca Cathedral in Ciutadella and others... however, the organ held at the church of Santa Maria in Mahon, had become outdated and, as cited some documents of the time, " was better to keep silent because it disturbs more than solemnizes ".

Soon the religious authorities decided to commission a new organ, whose construction involved two Swiss organists (Kyburz and Otter) who at that time were building in Barcelona, an organ for the church of Santa Maria del Pi.

The construction of the organ was completed in 1807, but his transport to Menorca was hampered by the course of the Napoleonic Wars, as the English squadron watched the movements of the French in the Mediterranean and often attacked the ships sailing the Mediterranean. The intervention of the British Admiral Lord Collingwood was necessary, so that finally the organ came to Mahon in 1809, but its opening was not performed until 30 September 1810.

The superb instrument, which is considered an exceptional work forboth its quality of sound and its mechanical accuracy, is 15 meters high and 9 wide, four keyboards and 3006 sound tubes, of which 197 are wood and the rest of them made in metal.