We had visited Menorca and its capital city Mahon a few times before we realised that the city's cathedral held lunchtime organ recitals during the summer months.
The Church of Santa Maria in Mahon, Menorca, has a prime position. It is close to the traditional fish market and the indoor market now housed in a former convent and other fine buildings. A cafe offering panoramic views over Mahon harbour is a great place to take in a snack, coffee or beer as you watch the world go by.
During the tourist season the Church of Santa Maria holds daily organ recitals (except Sunday).
In 2014 the recitals cost 5 Euros per person, began at 1pm and lasted around 40 minutes.
We popped in to one session when the midday sun and toasting temperatures became too much. The calm cool atmosphere of the church was perfect. The organ recital soon broke the peace though, albeit in a tuneful way.
The huge organ sits high above the congregation. It was impossible to see the musician responsible until the recital ended. He spoke in Spanish but whether you know the classical pieces he plays or not it will be a stunning performance.
Here is some information about the church via Menorca Live: "Built in the 18th century on the site of a 13th century gothic church this impressive building creates one of Mahon’s chief landmarks.
The interior is of neogothic style but of great note is the monumental organ that has great instrumental and artistic quality. It was commissioned in 1806 by the rector Gabriel Alenyar from the masters Franciso Otter and Joan Kiburz who lived in Barcelona.
It took three years to make and when it was ready there were problems with its transportation not only due to the fact that the Napoleonic war was on but also due to its immense size. It has four keyboards, 3006 organ pipes – 197 of which are wooden and the rest are metal. Eventually it was inaugurated in 1810 and its artistic ornamentation was carried out by the Menorcan sculptor Francesc Comas."
An interesting place to visit but the organ recital is the icing on the cake.
Its central location means it is easy to visit when you are in Mahon.
In June 2014 when we visited the church bells went into overdrive to celebrate a new King of Spain.
Church from 07.30 to 12.00 and from 18.00 – 20.30
Office from 18.00 to 19.00
The old and current capital of the Balearic Island of Menorca, Ciutadella and Mahon, each hold a large market twice a week.
The market in Mahon is situated close to the main bus station and so is perfect for day trippers from resorts around the island. It is held Tuesday and Saturday each week. In Ciutadella the large twice weekly market is held in a main and central square; it is held on a Friday and Tuesday.
We visited the Friday market in Ciutadella on a Friday in October 2015 but were surprised to see that many of the stalls were the same as the Tuesday market in Mahon we had visited the same week.
What happens on a Saturday we wondered?
These two cities however are at opposite ends of the island, and both are well worth a visit any day of the week.
Goods on sale at the city markets and the number of stalls do vary between high and low season and in bad weather; if it is a wet and windy day expect fewer stalls.
We found the main goods on offer to be clothing, leather goods, tourist souvenirs, handbags and shoes.
Watch out for traditional Menorca [avarca] sandals that are cheap and appear to be too good to be true; they probably are.
It is better to visit a shop; at least one makes the sandals for you as you wait, than try to bag a cheap bargain.
Cheaper Menorcan sandals may be imports from China, have no longevity and stretch quickly. If you fancy purchasing a pair of these comfy sandals aim for a fit that it slightly tight for the best fit over time.
Market day can be a fun experience whether you buy or not; cafes, bars and restaurants are close by and they offer a truly international experience.
Mahon summer organ recitals
More Summer markets in Menorca
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