The UNESCO Protected Sites of Menorca

Planning to visit Menorca? Villas can be found all over the island, from seaside resorts to hidden escapes in the idyllic rural regions. You may be surprised, however, to know that Menorca has garnered the attention (and thus the protection) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Here’s what that protection means.

Biosphere Reserve Status

Menorca villas, farms, resorts and villages are, naturally, spread all over the island. However, the island’s status as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve means that the entirety of Menorca gains some measure of protection. Simply put, being labelled as a biosphere reserve means that the local government is ‘experimenting’ in ways to promote biological diversity, economic development and cultural preservation. Menorca has thus become a hotbed for testing policies that not only allow the local inhabitants to enjoy some measure of prosperity, but which also preserve the natural and cultural beauty of the area.

This makes it a superb place for tourism and means you can enjoy the extensive pristine beaches and rocky cliffs without having to sacrifice creature comforts. You’ll also find it quite easy to walk around the local towns and villages and still see the marks of the island’s colourful history – including the various towers and talaiots that are dotted around.

Talaiotic Sites

There are quite a few of these massive rocks piled up in various places over the island. These sites are what the Talaiotic peoples left as their legacy, and many of them have been collectively nominated for World Heritage status.

During the Iron Age, a culture formed around the numerous towns, walls, tombs and other megalithic structures. The rocks were strategically positioned on top of each other, and done so remarkably well that many of them survive in position to this day. Some of the towers (aka talaiots) served a defensive purpose, while others served as signal towers to form a network connecting the various villages around the island. All in all, 25 of these archaeological sites are up for consideration by UNESCO for World Heritage status. If granted, these sites would gain additional protection from the status on top of Menorca’s current designation as a biosphere reserve.

Mares de S’Hostal Quarries

The quarries of Mares de S’Hostal form another historically significant site you can visit from your Menorca villa that has been nominated for Mining Historical Heritage status. The structures left behind by the Talaiotic people were built using rocks from a very specific location, and one of the most significant sources is the Mares de S’Hostal quarries. The sandstone mined from these quarries was cut into blocks using hand tools before being broken down and taken to build the various structures all over the island.
The quarries have been cut in a very particular way and large rectangular columns mark each site, giving them a very impressive appearance.

You’ll be able to visit all these UNESCO-protected sites from your accommodation in any of the nearby Menorca villas. They afford the opportunity to better appreciate how the island has managed to preserve its natural, cultural and economic status thanks to the combined efforts of UNESCO and the local government.

Brenda Jaaback is the Managing Director of Bartle Holidays. They can provide you with a wide selection of great Menorca villas for your holidays. Bartle Holidays makes no warranty as to the accuracy of information contained in this article and excludes any liability of any kind for the information.

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