Saturday, March 7, 2015

Santa Maria Church, the famous organ and Lord Collingwood.

The Church of Santa Maria has organized a tour today so people can see the interior, often hidden, of this historical building.

Although the first church was built here in the Middle Ages, the building we see today dates from middle of 1700. Curiously, the largest religious buildings of the island were built at the time when Menorca was under British rule.The interior of the church is Neo-Gothic, with a nave with ribbed vaults; on the sides there are several chapels dedicated to various saints. The exterior is simple and austere, with a bell tower and a Gothic front door opening onto a small enclosed space.

Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries almost all parishes and convents of Menorca had an organ, which become an important reference
in the Christian community. There were such instruments at the church of Sant Francesc, in Mahon, Menorca Cathedral in Ciutadella and others... however, the organ held at the church of Santa Maria in Mahon, had become outdated and, as cited some documents of the time, " was better to keep silent because it disturbs more than solemnizes ".

Soon the religious authorities decided to commission a new organ, whose construction involved two Swiss organists (Kyburz and Otter) who at that time were building in Barcelona, an organ for the church of Santa Maria del Pi.

The construction of the organ was completed in 1807, but his transport to Menorca was hampered by the course of the Napoleonic Wars, as the English squadron watched the movements of the French in the Mediterranean and often attacked the ships sailing the Mediterranean. The intervention of the British Admiral Lord Collingwood was necessary, so that finally the organ came to Mahon in 1809, but its opening was not performed until 30 September 1810.

The superb instrument, which is considered an exceptional work forboth its quality of sound and its mechanical accuracy, is 15 meters high and 9 wide, four keyboards and 3006 sound tubes, of which 197 are wood and the rest of them made in metal.

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