Kiko, you tourist guide
Kiko and Hooky remember the pirates who plundered Menorca
Today Hooky is in charge. He wants to walk through some parts of Menorca that once were a scene of battles of pirates who plundered the villages of the island. So we prepared a backpack and a camera and we are off to Mahon.
Gold and silver for Barbarossa
Hooky explaines me that in the sixteenth century, the Mediterranean Sea was the trading center of all countries in the region. Boatloads of silks, satins and velvet for making dresses for the most powerful woman at that time. Also spices like cinnamon, black pepper and above all salt, which was highly appreciated and used in the best cuisines in the world. And minerals, gold, silver and precious stones filled the holds of the ships that crossed the sea.
- No I can´t believe that the pirates would want fabrics or spices! Gold and precious stones, yes, because they are worth a lot of money!
Hooky looks at me with a surprised face:
-It was the sixteenth century, and these things were very valuable at that time, that´s why pirates sailed the Mediterranean, to attack these boats!
Pirates in Mahon
Well, we have come to Mahon. We are on the bridge of San Roque, where the city walls use to be. Pirate Barbarossa, deceived in 1535, all the inhabitants of Mahon by entering the port with their boats and the Spanish armada flag. The Maó inhabitants realized too late that they were not their friends and fought against the pirates for 3 days but on the fourth day they surrendered. They were less men and were not used to fighting.
Barbarossa was a feared pirate in the Mediterranean because he was very strong, could fight and was very cruel. Hooky says he was about to embark with him to sail to Italy but at in the end decided not to go. Barbarossa impressed him with his turban and his sword belt.
After the invasion of Mahon by the pirates, the Spanish empire decided to build the Castle of San Felipe. It is just off the harbor entrance and from there on, they could stop Barbarossa’s boats from reaching the city.
Pirates in Ciutadella
But the Spaniards could not prevent, the pirate attack Piali Ciutadella in 1558. During nine days the inhabitants of Ciutadella fought against pirates but were overcome. They were no more than 4,000 and there were more than 15,000 pirates and very well armed.
The inhabitants of Ciutadella still remember that battle. Piali and his pirates kidnapped more than 3,000 people in the city to sell them as slaves. It was "a year of misfortune".
We are in Ciutadella, next to the tower of St. Nicholas which was built after the battle of the pirates, for them to protect themselves from invasions by sea. In the Square del Born we have seen an obelisk kept as a memory of the resistance that the inhabitants of Ciutadella had against the pirates.
This is a lovely town worth coming to and taking a stroll through the downtown streets and the small harbor. I have to prepare an excursion to come back another day, but Hooky calls me insistently because now we are going to Fornells.
Pirates in Fornells
The port of Fornells was another place coveted by pirates. The bay is perfect for anchoring vessels and to protect them from the wind. To prevent invasions, the Castillo de San Antonio was build when creating this town. Another excursion that I have to prepare ahead of time to be able to see because Hooky takes me directly to the castle.
This building was destroyed in 1782 and has been restored and there are some underground tunnels and remains of a stronghold that can be visited. The view is breathtaking.
Mahon, Ciutadella, Fornells ... today has been very intense. We've had a very good time and we have also eaten typical products of Menorca: spicy sausage, cheese and a pasta called rubiols which are stuffed with vegetables or tuna. YUMMY!
We have not had enough but now it´s getting dark now and we are tired so we're going to head back home to Club Kikoland at the Royal Hotel Son Bou Family Club. Cuqui is waiting for us to to hear all about what we have learned today.