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Castell de Santa Àgueda castle: Muslim heritage

The key year in the history of the Balearic Islands is the year 903 when the islands fell to the Muslims and were annexed to the Caliphate of Córdoba under the rule of Isam Al Khawlani. Against this backdrop, it was decided that a fortress would be built as the main defensive point of the island in a prime setting at the highest point of the municipal area of Ferreries in Minorca. The fortress was built 264 metres above sea level, so as to be able to spot the enemy and successfully fulfil its main function. And thus, it became one of the most important fortresses of al-Andalus.

From the fortress, extraordinary panoramic views of the whole of Minorca, especially Ciutadella, could be seen, allowing the soldiers to pre-empt any possible attack.

Castell de Santa Àgueda castle on the inside

The defensive complex has three distinct areas: two of them were built in the tenth century and remodelled years later, whilst the third was built in the thirteenth century. The Central site occupied the upper part of the mountain, consisted of 16 towers—the majority of them round—and also had a wall through which the wing of the fortress was accessed. The Castellet site had a rectangular floor plan spanning 275 metres in addition to round and square towers. It also boasted its own water supply thanks to two cisterns. The Casa de Armas site is the most recent of the constructions and, according to documents that have been preserved, its main function was to protect the cisterns. In total, the complex is formed of 1,800 metres of walls and 37 towers, although little of this remains today.

 

 

Hiking to Castell de Santa Àgueda castle

We recommend bringing water and something to eat with you if you plan to visit in summer, as there are no cafés, bars or other services along the whole route. Once at the castle, you can view the ruins, as well as take a look through the iron-barred windows to imagine how it was in the past and see inside the rooms. The best thing of all are the impressive views that can be enjoyed from the site, where you can make out Mount Toro and all of Minorca’s northern coast.

Ferreries: a charming town

Castell of San Agueda

A visit to Castell de Santa Àgueda castle can be rounded off with a walk through Ferreries, one of the most charming towns in Minorca. With roughly 6,000 inhabitants, it is a small town peppered with white houses adorned with flowers, situated in a valley between the mountains.

Exploring its streets will allow you to appreciate the beauty of a simple town with no large squares or wide streets; by contrast it is quiet, relaxed and unassuming. Ferreries has long been known for the production of jewellery and shoe-making, which are still the town’s main industries.

What to see in Ferreries

You can visit charming places throughout the town’s historic quarter:

Plaça de la Peixateria

One of the squares most frequented by local people, it is known for its cobbles and the fishmonger that flanked the square for years. It also boasts two wells that used to provide inhabitants with freshwater.

Market

If you like 100% local produce, we recommend taking the opportunity to go to Ferreries on a Saturday when the market takes place selling fruit, cheese and all kinds of delicacies from the region.

Sant Bartomeu Church

This beautiful white-coloured basilica built in Minorcan style is one of the most popular in the area. Inside it has eight chapels on either side of the nave.

Just because it is an inland town, don’t rule out a swim at one of its neighbouring coves or beaches, which, according to many, are the most beautiful in Minorca:

  • Cala Galdana: Barely 20 kilometres from Ciutadella, the cove is one of the largest on the island. It is equipped with a wide range of services and amenities (sunbeds, parasols, bars, etc.) and is one of the most visited in Minorca. If you prefer, you can hire a motor boat and explore other coves—a great way to get a better feel for the island.
  • Cala Mitjana: This cove is easily reached on foot from Cala Galdana as they are just a few metres from one another. Cala Mitjana is a small but wonderful cove for a family day out.
  • Cala Mitjaneta: Also very close to the previous two, the magnificent thing about this cove is that it is surrounded by a charming natural landscape and its positioning means it is protected from the wind, something that Cala Mitjana sometimes bears the brunt of. Although the cove is on the small side it is quiet and easy to access.

Information of interest

How to arrive

  • By car. Follow the road that runs from Mahón to Ciutadella and turn off in the direction of Santa Àgueda. Follow signs to a car park around 1,300 metres from the fortress esplanade.

Admission:

  • Free

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