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 (Menorca) is a multiple-structure sanitary facility used to treat and protect against infectious disease. It was equipped to deal with the quarantine period of ships and boats arriving to the port, suspected of having any contagious disease. It was divided into 3 areas:
- 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. Used for the crew members of ships that were affected 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.
Furthermore, the facility’s walls and buildings serve a defensive purpose, which not only protected patients and workers, but also prevented them from escaping. It was, in part, a sanitary prison.
More recently, in 1993 the complex was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. Lazaretto Island is one of the most striking sites on the Menorcan coast, located at the center 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 arrival of the Bubonic plague on Menorca’s shores from ships coming in from the East and from northern Africa prompted the Count of Floridablanca, Minister of King Carlos III to commission the building of the Lazaretto in Maó on the King’s orders in 1793.
The builders designed this unusual historical building complex as a sanatorium where patients could quarantine during constant outbreaks of Bubonic plague. The British government had previously built a small complex on what was known as “Illa de la Quarantena” (quarantine island), which they used in the 19th century when the harbor became severely congested.
The Lazaretto’s sanatorium opened in 1817 and closed down after a century. Years later, they converted it into a venue for meetings and for national and international conferences. Visitors can now experience what life was like in Menorca in the 19th century by visiting the preserved spaces and buildings on the island.