Torre d'en Galmes – Alaior, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Torre d'en Galmes

Alaior, Spain

This remarkable prehistoric town is full of watchtowers and houses that have withstood thousands of years.  


The Talayotic (also spelled Talaiotic) culture that once flourished on the Balearic Islands of Spain is named after prehistoric watchtowers called talayots. The island’s residents are thought to have kept an eye out for enemies advancing toward their idyllic settlement from atop these stone perches.

While the culture itself may have declined with the coming of the Romans, the megalithic talayots are still scattered around the isles. You can find some at the Torre d’en Galmes, a ruined town that was started around 1400 BC on the island of Menorca.

The well-preserved site is situated on a hill that encompasses a public area with three talayots and one taula, a T-shaped construction which is thought to be a religious structure. The stone monuments are architectural marvels which were assembled without the help of machines, and they’ve largely managed to withstand the test of time.

Toward the southern side of the site there are private dwellings that were constructed in a circular design that radiates outward from a central courtyard. Some of the houses also have a hypostyle or storage chamber. The people of the Talayotic culture had even designed and built a sophisticated water cistern system to provide the homes with flowing water.

With the help of these remarkable structures and other artifacts discovered on the island, researchers have been able to piece together a narrative about the resourceful community which lived there for hundreds of years. The unique settlement may have been an important trading center with ties to other ancient civilizations.

Know Before You Go

Visit in the morning or late afternoon as the site closes for siesta hours in afternoon. Check Google Maps before you go. You may walk around the village and explore the caves and houses, all for 3 Euros a person. There are Talayotic monuments over the entire island that remain untouched and can be visited. Tours are available by bus from the port cities of Mahon and Ciutadella. You can drive there and park by the museum or at the ruins down the road. It is located 1.5 miles from town of Alaior.

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