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Mahon: The Harbour PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 September 2007 21:22


Mahon harbour has had a great influence on the town throughout its history, this is good enough reason for a visit to the port and to stroll along its promenade any time of the year. Although there are many ways to the port, the best one is down the hill, through the gardens of the Rochina park, between the two high cliffs. On the left is the oldest part of the town, with the Town Hall, the Santa María Church and on the right the Carmen Church, the old convent and the fishmarket. The gardens were, until the civil war, the fishermen's domain.
The remains of caves of the talayotic necropolis can still be seen in the clifts, and down below there is a cross which marks the spot where San Pedros Church stood, (the fishermen's patron).
Turning left at the bottom of the steps towards Sa Colàrsega there are several buildings many of which still conserve their original façade. Going from the Estación Marítima (ferry terminal) to the end of the port, we can see the Electrica Mahonesa, built in 1892 which was the first electricity station in the Balearic Island. Then there is the Gin Xoriguer factory where gin, the typical Menorcan drink, is still made. Finally S'Hort Nou, which is a small park, made at the end of the XVIII century by the then governor Conde de Cifuentes. It has a small central building and double steps leading up to the Costa de Ses Piques, a road up from the port.
If, from the bottom of the Rochina Park we turn right we go past the old warehouses, some with wide doorways for boat storage. We pass in front of La Minerva, now a restaurants, but whic during the last 30 years of the 19th Century was a steam powered saw mill and later a flour mill. Further along the port, opposite the road up into the town, known as the " Costa d'en Reynes" there is a popular modern sculpture, " la Sirena de Mô"
On the other side of the harbour there is a large red country house, built under Italian influence but with English colonial style, where popular legend tells the story of the love between Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.


The small islets of Mahón harbour:

From the Rochina park we can see the island Pinto, on the far side of the harbour. For centuries it was aplace where artesan boat builers worked and today it is the Naval Base.
Futher towards the centre of the harbour we can see the " Isla del Rey" so called because it was where King Alfonso III of Aragón landed in 1287 to take the island from the Muslims.
Nearer the entrance to the harbour we will see a smaller island known as the " Illa Plana" (Flat island" or "Illa de cuarentena" (quarantine island) which, during the British occupation was used as a Lazaretto. Today is used by the Naval Base.
Almost at the mouth of the harbour, opposite Es Castell, we can see the old peninsula known as Lazareto, now an island, after an artificial channel was made at the end of the XVIII, early XIX centuries. Here, one of the most important Lazarettos in the western Mediterranean, can be found. The buildings today are the property of the Health Ministry and are used as a place where their employees can stay for an occasional break. It is also used for scientific congresses, meetings, and the summer university.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 September 2007 18:11


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