A place called Cala en Porter

Which is our town’s name?

There is some confusion regarding the name, because over time the name has changed often. At present we should all strive to write Cala en Porter, as this is the current and official name, which has been written in various ways answering to oral tradition, Castilian spelling rules and finally the linguistic normalization of 1986.

According to Alaior historian Mascaro Passarius, the cove’s name may be related to a certain Bernat Porter, a native of Catalonia mentioned in fourteenth century documents; Cala en Porter also gives its name to the ravine that forms the cove, in which we can find the 7 orchards called Horts de n’Squella; named after the family which owned the land. Cala en Porter is built on the lands which were once called Son Rotger.

Previously the cove was also knownas Mal Port (Bad Port), possibly referring to the anchoring difficulties within the bay during “Llebeig”, SW wind.

Maybe some of you are now curious as to why the streets carry certain names; if that's the case just read on.

Streets could be grouped by theme or chronology, some had no name until recently (2001) and were called for instance: street nº 14 or nº 22, etc ...
Other streets have very obvious names that do not require explanation and generally most can guess with little thinking.
One of the oldest areas to be built-up has most of the streets names related to the British period of the eighteenth century; Prominent people are to be found such as governor Richard Kane, Admiral Collingwood, Lord Nelson, General Stuart and like other towns on the island references to the British monarchy of the time, Sant Jordi (Saint George) and Hannover. The eighteenth century saw George I, II, III of the house of Hannover as British monarchs.

Curiously in Cala en Porter there are very few street names of religious origin, only Sant Vicent and Sant Doménec (Son Domingo) which actually refer to the farms at the entrance of Cala en Porter which mark the town limits towards the East.

Sant Patrici deserves a special mention since this Saint is rarely present in any menorcan names, but still has a street of which origin I am not sure.

Nearby is Carrer de Església (Church street),the church was never built but still gives name to a square next to Bar Pons; where Jaleo is held on Sunday during the Fiestas.

“The legend of Xoroi” is amongst the most famous menorcan traditional legends and in turn gives name to a large group of streets scattered around Cala en Porter; Sa Cova, Xoroi, Pirates, sa Llegenda, Petjades (referring to the footprints left by the xoroi in the snow), and Sa Font (water spring) this natural spring was visible on the beach until the construction of the slipway; as a curiosity we also have Sa nuvia d'Algendar street (The Bride from Algendar); which is possibly the most fascinating of all Menorcan legends.

Most legends are based on oral tradition or historical events and tend to share details amongst themselves; Xoroi and Sa Novia de Algendar are no exception.

But in my opinion I truely miss finding a street in honour of the girl kidnapped by the Moor Xoroi, she is sa Fadrina de Biniedrís (The maiden from Biniedrís). By the way, the Biniedrís and Son Domingo gullies form the beautiful Cales Coves.

Other streets like Barranc (ravine), Baixamar (a port’s waterfront), and Torrent (stream), dels Horts (orchards) clearly indicate the location to which they head; and so do Llucalari and Torralbenc (formerly written Turrubenc and occasionally pronounced Turrubet).

Another large group of streets are named after the Mediterranean winds and their orientation in reference to them: Tramuntana, Migjorn, Mestral, Xaloc, Llebeig, Gregale, Ponent and Llevant.

Many streets are named after a Mediterranean plant or tree; some of these are also a symbol of Menorca’s habitat such as Socarrell (Launaea cervicornis) or Posidonia (Neptunegrass) and Card Marí (Sea Holy) nowadays very present on the beach, also has a street. Plants and fruits that we all know have their streets too, for instance: Figueres (fig trees), Ametllers (Almond trees), Romaní (Rosemary), S'Oliverar (Olive tree plantation), or the less usual Fonoll Marí (sea Fennel).
Some lesser travelled streets have cute names related to ethnological heritage of the island; Es Boueret (little cattle shed), sa Mina (Mine), sa Pedrera (Quarry) and sa Barrera (Gate).
And names of farmers origin, following the countryside tradition of naming each and every “Tanca” (enclosed stone wall section of a farm); na Fonda (deep tanca), na vermella (red tanca), na Negra (Black tanca)

I may have left-out a street or alleyway but not for lack of importance, and finally it's worth remembering that to this day there’s only one place that officially carries the name of an illustrious neighbour of Cala en Porter; Plaça de'n Mevis.

Without Bartomeu "Mevis" Pons there would be no Fiestas, Cala en Porter managed to retain the privilege of having Caixers and Cavalcade largely thanks to him and a few more neighbours.
Original text - Luís AMeller
Photos - Google

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