The town was conquered by the vandals and later belonged to the Byzantine Empire. The Muslims stayed from 7th century until the beginnings of the 10th century. During the Muslim dominion, Ciutadella, became the capital of the island until 1722, when Richard Kane moved the courts of justice and the government offices to Maó. The French dominion introduced more cultural events that reflected the latest ideas from Europe. The Spanish rule, which followed the second British dominion, reinstated the city to re- establish its own bishopric.
Its old part is a small fortified city; its narrow maze like streets definitely stems from the Muslim occupation. An obelisk built in the middle of the past century situated in the Plaza del Borne, commemorates the Turkish assault in 1558, when all the inhabitants were sacrificed or turned into slaves. In the same square you can find the Town Hall, an emblematic palace, the Born Theatre (Teatre des Born) and the noble Palaces of Salort, Vivó and Torre Saura, nobleman’s properties of neoclassic design.
From the Plaça del Born the town’s avenues and streets fan out across the town, taking us to the impressive 14th century Cathedral, which was built on top of an ancient Arab mosque. Other architectural buildings include the Roser Church (Església del Roser) or Saura Palace (Palau Saura), both have been transformed into exhibition centres. After admiring so much beauty, one can walk through Ses Voltes, with its characteristic arches, an avenue to stroll peacefully along and visit the shops. You will also see a bronze statue of a lamb, a sculpture honouring the Sant Joan festivities.
Annually on the 23rd and 24th of June, Ciutadella changes dramatically, as suddenly the quiet avenues open up to outbursts of joy, music and merriment as it celebrates one of the most spectacular festivities in the country- The fiestas of San Juan, the towns Patron Saint's festival It is a festivity where the horse becomes the star of the film, emulating the same tradition that was established in the Middle Ages.Ciutadella, as an episcopate centre has some marvellous buildings to view, the Santa Clara Convent, the beautiful Sant Crist Church (Església del Sant Crist), as well as the Seminar together with its Diocesà Museum and its unique cloister.
Ciutadella is a regal centre with elegant avenues, marvellous palaces, cobbled streets and open squares, a true gem to visit. Like Maò it also has a port, slightly smaller admittedly. But it has some superb sea front restaurants, bars and an electric nightlife in any of the terrace bars situated in Sant Joan Square (Pla de Sant Joan)