May 08, 2011

Nicolás Cabrisas Gili, La cova de sa nacra/The Nacra Cave

The pictures have been derived from a Spanish touristic photo website and indeed, this outsider environment is located in a touristic spot: the spanish isle of Menorca, off coast in the Mediterranean.

Life and works

Nicolás Cabrisas Gili (b. 1916), who is the author of this creative construct, was born in a family of modest means in Menorca. Large scale tourist industry had not yet developed and young Nicolas went to work in the local shoe industry.

However, in 1966 he could buy a cave, which he transformed into a bar, located in the community of Ciutadella, where around that time holidaymakers began to arrive.

In 1970 Gili sold this cave/bar, to buy another one, on the coast, with seaview. Having married a german lady, the couple would run bar and restaurant, located at the premises of the cave.

They also excavated the cave, to make room for kind of house, where they could reside.

Then, in 1973, Nicolás Gili began decorating the cave, making large sculptures, which were situated at the exterior, as can be seen on the pictures in this post. The interior has been embellished with shells.

Nacra apparently is spanish idiom for a kind of shells, which in english are called bivalves (pelecypoda). Apparently the shells used to decorate the cave, can be some 50 cm large.

Gili has been active in embellishing the cave for some seventeen years, working on it until 1990.

He also has adopted an artist name, calling himself Kyana. He presented himself as a sculptor and visual artist, making paintings he offered for sale..

The Cova de sa nacra has become a touristic spot, where people can enjoy the beautiful view and have some meal..

*Miguel Seguí Aznar, Cortar amarras y barrer inconvenientes. La cova de sa nacra (Menorca), in:  Juan Antonio Ramiréz, red., Escultecturas margivagantes: la arquitectura fantástica en España, Madrid (Ed Siruela), 2006

Nicolás Cabrisas Gili
La cova de sa nacra
Cala Santandría
Menorca, Baleares, Spain


  1. Yes a lovely spot for food and drink literally on the edge of the water - heavenly

  2. This cave is now up for sale!