The citadel of ghosts
Everyone says the Lazaretto is haunted. Why wouldn’t it be?
We do not believe in ghosts, BUT… Just in case, please respect the humans, voices and silences, dimensional wanderers, and ghosts that roam this Lazaretto.
The cage that became a bird
The Lazaretto of Maó in Menorca served as a multi-structure sanitary facility to treat and guard against infectious diseases. Quarantine was imposed on ships and boats arriving at the port suspected of carrying contagious diseases. The facility divided into three zones:
- Suspected bill of health. This wing was for ships that arrived to the port from areas suspected of suffering from disease.
- Foul bill of health . This area was used for the crews and cargo that arrived on vessels with plague.
- Touched bill of health. Authorities earmarked the area for infected crew members by contagious diseases.
Additionally, each area was made up of several buildings to house the crews, as well as watchtowers, infirmaries and ventilation warehouses to store the ships’ cargos. The walls and buildings of the Lazaretto served a dual purpose of protection and confinement, keeping patients and workers safe while preventing escape. It was, in part, a sanitary prison.
More recently, in 1993 the complex was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. The Lazaretto Island is a prominent site along the Menorcan coast, located in the heart of the Port of Maó.
Where is the Lazaretto?
Isn’t she pretty?
The Lazaretto of Mahón: A quarantine island transformed into a Creative Sanctuary
👁️ In the timeless waters of the harbor of Mahón lies the Lazaretto, a quarantine island where illness and death intertwined. Now, Quarantine has resurrected this ancient sanitary prison as a sanctuary for minds that are aware of the need to break away from the immediacy of our existence.
🍀 A hundred artists will be coming together in Menorca this spring to heal their creativity. Quarantine seeks out crisis as a form of progress in artistic education, rejecting the comfort and predictability of traditional art retreats. Instead of teaching technique, it will teach us how to give structure to emotions and to love the artistic process. The environment, experience and effort are the project’s true pillars.
☠️ Participants must be prepared to work 12-hour days, to follow a secret program, and to disconnect from the outside world throughout the duration of the program. The mentors will break all formal mindsets acquired thus far and teach us to accept crisis and questioning as necessary ingredients for true learning.
⚠️ Be warned, however: Lazaretto holds dark and ancient secrets, and those who venture inside may not emerge as the art students they were when they entered, but instead as ARTISTS.
History of the Lazaretto
The Lazaretto of Maó was commissioned by King Carlos III’s minister, the Count of Floridablanca, in response to the arrival of the Bubonic plague on Menorca’s shores from ships in the East and northern Africa. Built in 1793, the complex served as a quarantine sanatorium for those affected by the constant outbreaks of the disease.
The Lazaretto followed in the footsteps of the British government’s previous quarantine complex, the “Illa de la Quarantena,” used in the 19th century for the overcrowded harbor. The Lazaretto opened in 1817, but after a century of use, it was converted into a venue for meetings and conferences. Today, visitors can step back in time to 19th century Menorca by exploring the preserved spaces and buildings on the island.