The village of Es Mercadal is located further inland, at the bottom of Monte Toro, the highest mountain in the island of Minorca. The oldest building of Mercadal is the parish church of Sant Marti, built here in the 14th Century. Mercadal has a intimate, rural overall aspect, its 4500 residents making their living, even now, mostly from agriculture. Town’s architecture is dominated by one or two stories white typically Minorcan houses, with green doors and shutters and its romantic atmosphere given by the small restaurants and shops.
Mercadal is well known for its great specialty restaurants, attracting a large number of tourists every year. One of these cozy and rustic restaurants is located inside a mill, along of a main road, a symbol of the actual place. Another great experience for travelers is a visit to the handicraft and food market around Placa Pare Camps, held every Thursday at 19:30 in July and August. As a musical background of the market, various folklore groups provide traditional music. For those interested in art, Via Ronda has a small gallery where you can buy fine ceramics by Ricardo Madiolas, a wide range of paintings of Minorcan artists and many other artworks.
The main church of Mercadal, the parish church of Sant Marti, is found on the ecclesiastical hill of Sa Muntanyeta. Its bright exterior, dressed in white, is richly decorated with colorful flowers starting from the forecourt. Service is held here at 20:30 every evening. Except from that, the church is closed.
Built in 1733 on behalf of a British governor, the public cistern used to supply with water the British troops from Ciutadella and Mao, can still be seen. The water tank is equipped with a large terrace where the water is collected and has a huge capacity: 273500 liters. The public cistern is the main military building in Es Mercadal. Sa Farinera d’Aranji is a large complex of buildings of a flour mill, in operation starting with 1905 till 1998. After a thorough restoration process, it now houses a museum where tourists can see the old machinery and tools used for the manufacture of flour by the people of Minorca. Right next door you can find a shopping center dealing a wide diversity of wine related products and other local delicacies.
Monte Toro, at its 357 meters, is the highest point on Minorca. On top of the summit stands a small monastery, which had its origins back in the 13th Century, but almost destroyed in 1936. The chapel of Virgin Marie and the legendary bull can still be seen there today. Enjoy the truly spectacular views over the whole island.
Due to all these excellent travel opportunities and sights, vacationers in the island of Minorca should definitely schedule a visit to the village of Es Mercadal.
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