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.
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 facility’s walls and buildings serve a defensive purpose, which not only served to protect patients and workers, but also to prevent 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 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.
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.
This unusual historical building complex was originally meant as a sanatorium where patients could be quarantined during the constant outbreaks of Bubonic plague. The British government had already built a small complex on what was known as «Illa de la Quarantena» (quarantine island), which was used in the 19th century when the harbour became severely congested.
The Lazaretto’s sanatorium was opened in 1817 and was closed down after a century until. Years later it was converted into a venue for meetings and for national and international conferences. It is also a place where visitors can get a sense of what life was like in Menorca in the 19th century. Thanks to the wonderful spaces and buildings that have been preserved all over this small island.