Photographer's Note

Menorca's traditional architecture is strongly Moorish, with white painted houses and intricate irrigation systems and cisterns fed by ingenious channels of roof tiles.

The roofs are often painted white, together with the walls. Green shutters and sash windows are later influences of French and British architecture.

The first inhabitants are thought to have been from the Spanish mainland in the Neolithic era. Their descendants built the megalithic structures which can be found all around the island (Menorca has one of the largest concentrations of such structures in the world) and studies of artefacts from the period suggest a peaceful agrarian culture. Successive waves of invasion followed, as the island became an important trading centre, first used by the Phoenicians as they expanded westward and then falling under the rule of the Carthaginians, Roman and Byzantine empires respectively. In 707 AD the first Arab traders appeared on Menorcan shores, and for the next 300 years the island prospered under Muslim rule.

In the early part of the 12th century the island was occupied by Norman forces and from then until the end of the Middle Ages, with the population considerably reduced by the plague, invasions by the Catalans and Turks, Menorca experienced a considerable decline, so much so that at one time its inhabitants were seriously considering abandoning the island for ever.
In the early 18th century the British occupied the island, and from then on its fortunes turned. Occupied in turn over the next hundred years by the French and finally the Spanish, living conditions slowly improved, the population grew, and Menorca evolved into the rich and complex society it is today.

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Additional Photos by Alex Fan Moniz (LondonBoy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 83 W: 0 N: 363] (1882)
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