For centuries, the Lithica Quarry of s’Hostal provided the calcarenite building blocks for the traditional architecture on the island of Menorca, Spain. The intensive use of the quarry led to the formation of a carved, sculptural landscape spanning 5 hectares of the island’s countryside. Since the mine’s closure in 1994, the Lithica Foundation initiated and managed a long-term sustainable redevelopment and restoration plan to transform the mine into a dynamic space for environmental, artistic, and cultural activities.
The Lithica Quarry of s’Hostal is a sculptured area carved out of the landscape; an architectural and sculptural creation in the rock
The quarries of mares are dug-out places made by hand where stones and vegetation live together creating organic forms and different environments. It is a large garden as a result of the interaction between humans and nature. Menorca people extracted its stones for buildings, churches, monuments, mansions, and typical country houses. Marés is sandstone, permeable, with diverse consistency and porosity. It is placed in the southern part of Menorca. Quarries in which mining was completed in 1994 probably operated for over 200 years. On their bottom, in the newer part, due to the excellent acoustic conditions, concerts are organized. In the older part of the quarries, there is a park and a small botanical garden.
The process of conserving and transforming the site into a destination for visitors required a holistic and multidisciplinary approach. Following its closure, the quarry needed to be cleared and cleaned and a paths system was designed. Security walls and barriers were constructed; electricity, lighting, and water were then provided. For improved accessibility and interpretive purposes, an information and services pavilion as well as ramps and stairs were built. The visitors to the site can now immerse themselves in this unique landscape, walking through the various paths and gardens which have been created, and repopulated with fruit trees and other indigenous plants. The most recent developments have been the creation of a large stone maze and a herb labyrinth in 2014 and the completion of paths within the Labyrinth of Orchards in 2018.