Talayotic Menorca

Poblado Talayótico de Trepucó en Menorca

Talayotic Menorca is a prehistoric culture that flourished on the island of Menorca between 1500 BC and 1000 BC. It is characterised by the construction of burial mounds known as talayots, which are stone towers several metres high. The talayots were probably used as fortifications or as places of worship. Talayotic Menorca is considered one of the most important prehistoric cultures in Europe.

This civilisation developed what was its own culture, which was called the Talayotic Culture; however, the true origin and final origin of this culture are uncertain.

The history is said to have been attributed to the Greeks, but beyond what it was, the most important thing about Menorca’s Talayotic history is that it takes us back to a time when agriculture and livestock were the main source of survival.

The stages of Menorca’s insular prehistory can be divided into 3, these include:

  1. A stage that is obscure and similar enough to the Agar culture of Southeast Spain.
  2. A second stage, where the monuments are characteristic of the burial navetas and similar.
  3. And the third is the Talayotic, which is more prominent in the Balearic Islands: Menorca and Mallorca, which has large settlements and peculiar monuments that are cyclopean made of stones without mortar and that are not very rough.
Talayot Torre d'en Gamés en Menorca
Talayot Torre d’en Galmés in Menorca

The Talayotic culture used to live in villages that were often dominated by the so-called talayot, huts that were arranged concentrically around the talayot. Not much is known about the language they used, only that it was of Indo-European origin.

Talaiotic Culture

The Talaiotic culture is typical of Menorca and Mallorca, however, it has similarities and some kinship with other Mediterranean island cultures, among which we can mention Sardinia.  

It is important to mention that the talayots are large, truncated, very massive towers with a small inner chamber. They are either isolated or can be found as a whole and in relation to the rest of the settlements.  

It should be noted that the archaeological remains of the communities that originally lived on Minorca are those that have characterised and marked the heritage and the entire landscape of this marvellous island.

The characteristics of the Talayotic culture are unique, which differentiates it from the rest, which is why the talayot is a monument exclusive to the island of Menorca. In the communities that occupied the island there was an economic and social change, this has been confirmed through archaeological sources around 1400 BC, this brought about a successive increase in the population that allowed the passage to a hierarchical society, that is to say, it gave way to a culture that is much more urban, the Talayotic culture. 

Today we can see ruins on the island of Menorca that reveal settlements and walls that served as a shield during those years.

The route of the talayots

The routes that exist in Talayotic Menorca take us back to more than 4,000 years ago, that is, in 2100 BC, there are several archaeological sites that you can find on the island of all kinds and of different sizes, you will find from tiny villages in Menorca talayots that were the centre of their activity to surprising necropolis dug into the cliff walls.

Below we mention the routes that exist in Talayotic Menorca:

Torre d´en Galmés

This is one of the largest settlements in Talayotic Menorca. It is located in the municipality of Alaior, on a nearby hill with good views of the south coast of the island of Menorca.

This settlement was inhabited from 1700 BC until 1300 AD, and the talayots and taula enclosures were built around 1000 BC approximately. It is also worth mentioning that a bronze statue of Imhotep, an Egyptian scholar, was found during the excavations.

Torre d'en Galmés en la Menorca Talayótica
Torre d’en Galmés in Talayotic Menorca

One of the most characteristic features of the Torre d’en Galmés settlement is the group of houses that belonged to the post-Talayotic period, circular in shape and with a central courtyard.

The Torre d’en Galmés is open every day from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Necropolis of Cala Morell

This is a place that is peculiar enough to be worth a visit, because you will be surprised by the tombs excavated in the middle of the wall, among the rocks and with an inexplicable perfection.

In the Necropolis of Cala Morell, you can see 14 tombs of all sizes and ages, the smallest dating back to 1600 BC. During the excavations several objects were found with which the dead were buried and it is said that in some of the walls you can see a kind of hollow that was for offerings to the dead.  For those who wish to visit this spectacular site, it is open all day and the best thing is that the visit is quiet, you can visit the necropolis alone.

Trepucó Settlement

The Trepucó settlement can be distinguished by its size, which is due to the fact that it was one of the centres of power in Menorca in prehistoric times.  As for the size of the talayots, we can mention that:

  • The main one is approximately 8 metres high and has a diameter of 26 metres. In addition, there was a wall that was in charge of protecting the settlement with a system of defence towers.

The taula of the village of Trepucó is very well preserved, this taula is a small enclosure that has large rocks that are perfectly placed in the shape of a T, they maintain a fragile balance. In the place where this taula is located was where rituals took place and where sacrifices were made as offerings. 

This beautiful place is open all day and admission is free.

Talatí de Dalt

Talatí de Dalt has one of the largest taula sanctuaries on the island of Menorca and also has a beautiful Talayot. This Taula is very well preserved and has a large rock with pillars that can support a roof, which is supported by the central T, something impossible to believe.

It is one of the most iconic images of the island, which is why you should not miss the opportunity to visit it. The opening hours for visits are every day from 10:00 to 21:00 hours.

Torralba d´en Salort

This is one of the most beautiful talayotic sites on the entire route around the island of Menorca. This is due to the fact that it is perfectly preserved as far as its taula sanctuary is concerned, as it has an enormous central T. It also has a large talayot and various other constructions that are quite outstanding.

This sanctuary is one of the most popular with visitors and one of the most photographed, as it is the most famous on the island of Menorca. Something important that should not be overlooked is that the taula of Torralba d’en Salort is 5 metres high and you can visit it both day and night, many prefer to visit it at night, however, visits at night are only a few a month, this is usually when it coincides with the full moon. 

Poblado talayótico de Torralba d'en Salort
Talayotic settlement of Torralba d’en Salort

It should be mentioned that in this taula was found a bronze bull statuette which has been intuited as one of the symbols of the island of Menorca and which can currently be seen in the Museum of Menorca.  

Naveta des Tudons

These were funerary monuments that were unique to the island of Menorca and were also notable for their care and aesthetics. The name Naveta des Tudons comes from the term nave, which is similar to an upside-down boat.

Naveta des Tudons has an oval shape that is almost perfect, and the figure is immediately recognisable.  You can see two levels inside the Naveta, where the remains of more than a hundred people and their belongings were found. 

You can visit Naveta des Tudons on Mondays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and the rest of the days from 9:00 am to 8:15 pm.

Cornia Nou

Cornia Nou has one of the largest talayots on the island of Menorca and it is a site that is not often mentioned. If you want to visit this beautiful talayot, you should know that entrance is free and it is open all day.

Torrellisar Vell, the walled taula

This is a small complex consisting of a taula that is surrounded by a wall and can only be accessed through a stone passageway. 

If you would like more information about Talayotic Menorca, you can download this pdf document here.

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