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Es Migjorn Gran

Es Migjorn Gran—or San Cristóbal, in Spanish—is one of the eight municipalities that comprise the territory of Minorca, although it was part of Es Mercadal until 1989. Situated in the south-central part of the island, the municipality is one of the smallest, encompassing only the eponymous municipal capital and the residential area of Sant Tomàs, a small tourist resort that has not ceased to grow since it opened in the early 1960s.

The village of Es Migjorn Gran, much like others, emerged around a church—that of Sant Cristòfol [Saint Christopher]—built in honour of the patron saint of the region during British rule of Minorca in the early eighteenth century. The small white chapel has born witness to the transformation of the village into what it is today, a charming labyrinth of narrow streets and white houses, adorned with green window frames and earthy yellow-coloured decorative details.

From a tourist point of view, the municipality offers visitors a wide range of attractions in terms of leisure, culture and gastronomy. As for the seaside, the waters of the Mediterranean lap at the town’s shore which boasts four beaches—Binigaus, Sant Tomàs, Sant Adeodat and Atalis—and three coves—Trabalúger, Escorxada and Fustam—with Sant Tomàs being the longest.

Furthermore, the municipality also holds numerous archaeological sites dating from prehistoric times, specifically the Talayotic settlements that are scattered all over the island, especially in Es Migjorn Gran. The Sala Hipòstila des Galliner de Madona [Binigaus Nou Hypostyle Room] and the village of Sant Agustí Vell—San Agustín, in Spanish—are just two examples of the Cyclopean architecture that the Balearic Islands’ first settlers developed in the region from the fifteenth century BC. Finally, the Cova des Coloms, combining nature and history, is a natural cave with a height of 24 metres, a width of 15 metres and a depth of 110 metres. It is accessible on foot from the village itself. Used in ancient times as a burial site and declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1966, its striking nature is such that locals refer to it as the ‘cathedral’.

Without a doubt, the best time to explore Es Migjorn Gran is during its popular festivities when the capital of the municipality devotes itself to all sorts of traditional celebrations and liturgies, and local people show themselves for who they are. Sant Cristòfol, the patron saint of the municipality, is also the patron saint of drivers, which is why each year on 10 July an unusual procession of vehicles invades the village’s streets so that the parish priest can bless them one by one.

Another of the municipality’s most popular festivals is that of Sant Cristòfol de Ses Corregudes, whose celebration takes place, according to the calendar, on the last weekend of July or the first weekend of August. The festival displays the entire repertoire of Minorcan festivities with the well-known jaleos playing a leading role. During the jaleo, horses and their rides (caixers) enter onto the town square whilst orchestral music plays in the background and pomada—a drink made from Minorcan gin and lemonade—is served non-stop.

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