Es Castell, Menorca

Es Castell, MenorcaDuring the second occupation of the island by the British, it was decided to transfer the inhabitants of S’Arraval Nova (the nucleus surrounding the Sant Felip Castle) to a new part. The streets of Es Castell in Menorca – originally named Georgetown – grew around the parade ground that we know today as the Esplanada. In this town centre the barracks reveal the town’s military origins even after their use has been changed (the engineers’ barracks now houses the Military Museum). The monotony of great white blocks of military architecture is only broken by the Town Hall building, painted red and with a tower that protrudes from its main facade. The interior small square is of interest here, with rooms around it that were used as a meat market and children’s school until it was recovered for local government purposes.

The same location of the parish church of Roser, just outside the town centre, shows the priorities of whoever designed the village. Construction work began on the church in 1777 in neo-classical style, but its inside houses a stone altarpiece that dates back to a much earlier period.

Recent civil works in Es Castell have focused on recovering seafront spaces that had gradually lost importance in other periods, such as Moll d’en Pons, Cala Corb or the Moll de l’hospital. This emphasises the sea’s role in the original urban planning, where the main streets led to the coastline and the individual houses – many of which are still standing – had large gardens with views across the inland sea of Port de Maó. Until now, and undoubtedly in the future, Cales Fonts can boast of the only real seafront. The old fishermen’s harbour was one of the first parts of the island reconverted for tourism: bars and restaurants occupy the caves that were storerooms and refuges and their terraces stand where once the fishing nets were mended. The noise and hurly-burly during the summer months does not affect the popularity of this spot even after other poles of attraction appear on the scene. There is no competition from the diminutive Cala Pedrera, with hardly any sand, hidden between the urbanisations of Santa Ana and Sol del Este, or from Cala Corb, which thrusts deeply into the selfsame town centre. Nevertheless, the improvement of all these spaces will undoubtedly renew the town’s image.

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