Known as the first village in Spain to see the sunrise, a rather magical name to describe this enchanting village that we cannot miss. Its creation was part of the time of invasions, being one of the strategic points.
Its architecture is characterised by the fact that it was dominated by the English, as its sash windows and barracks remain in the town for historical purposes. It is impossible not to pay attention to what is most precious about this village.
During the second occupation of the island by the British, it was decided to move the inhabitants of S’Arraval Nova (the nucleus surrounding the Castle of Sant Felip) to a new part of the island. The streets of Es Castell in Menorca – originally called Georgetown – grew up around the parade ground that we know today as the Esplanada. In this urban nucleus, the barracks reveal the military origin of the town even after its use has changed (the engineers’ barracks now house the Military Museum). The monotony of the large white blocks of military architecture is only broken by the Town Hall building, painted red and with a tower protruding from its main façade. The inner square is interesting, with outbuildings around it that were used as a meat market and nursery school until it was recovered for the purposes of the local administration.
The very location of the parish church of Roser, on the outskirts of the town centre, shows the priorities of the town’s designer. Construction of the church began in 1777 in neoclassical style, but its interior houses a stone altarpiece dating from a much earlier period.
Recent civil works in Es Castell have focused on the recovery of seafront spaces that had been losing importance in the past, such as the Moll d’en Pons, Cala Corb or the Moll de l’hospital. This highlights the role of the sea in the original urban planning, where the main streets faced the coast and the individual houses – many of which are still standing – had large gardens with views of the sea inland from the Port of Maó. To this day, and no doubt in the future, Cales Fonts can boast the only real seafront promenade. The old fishing port was one of the first parts of the island to be converted for tourism: bars and restaurants occupy the caves that were once warehouses and shelters, and their terraces rise up where fishing nets used to be mended. The noise and bustle of the summer months do not affect the popularity of this place, even after other centres of attraction appear on the scene. There is no competition from the tiny Cala Pedrera, with hardly any sand, hidden between the urbanisations of Santa Ana and Sol del Este, nor from Cala Corb, which juts into the town centre itself. However, the improvement of all these spaces will undoubtedly renew the image of the city.