Kiko, you tourist guide
Kiko defends Menorca from the cannons of Fort Marlborough
Soldiers guarding the entrance to the port of Mahon, living in buildings excavated in the rocks, firing guns and cannons to keep the invaders away.... what an exciting story! And today I'm going to get to know more about it! Hooky and I are going to Fort Marlborough! Will you join us?
We are already in Es Castell, on the east side of Menorca, and from here on we are heading to Cala San Esteban. Right at the entrance there is a car park. We crossed the road and star heading down to the Camí de Cavalls (Horse Trail).
A castle on the way
As we descend between some caves, stone walls and trees towards the cove, Hooky tells me that Fort Marlborough is named after Sir John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, a British army general who had an important role 300 years ago.
We can see the sea and, in front, the remains of the Castle of San Felipe. What is left of this construction are the subterranean galleries in which the soldiers remained. The Spanish king Carlos III ordered them to demolish it when they won the war against the British that until then had ruled the island.
A little light!
We are here. The entrance is very curious. It looks like we´ve walked into a big cave. It is because this Fort goes underground and is dug in-between the rocks. It's like a large gallery that has some entrances along the sides. There are warehouses, offices, rooms and much more....
Everything is dark. Only the explanatory panels and some lanterns give a little light.
- "We should have brought some flashlights," Hooky says.
- Look, there's light here! It is a room with bunk beds and there are two British officers sitting at a large wooden table. One is writing and the other is drinking from a large glass.
- It is a recreation of what happened here 300 years ago! How cool, Hooky says. When I was young I met many soldiers and had a great time telling them stories about the countries we have been to.
The sound of water at the bottom of the dark passageway
Now we enter a gallery that is illuminated by the sun that enters through some narrow windows that look at the moat that surrounds the fort.
Suddenly, we both stand still:
- "Do you hear that," Hooky says. It's like they're digging.
- Yes, you hear a lot of noise and I can also hear the sound of water. What is it?
- It’s a well! From here we see the soldiers working and pouring water for all those who lived here.
Ropes keep us from entering the passage, but at the end you can see the shadows of those who open the well. Hooky says that a Captain, 50 Infantry soldiers and 15 gunners lived here who were in charge of the guns and other weapons that they used to defend themselves.
A large moat surrounding the fort
We went out to the moat. The sun dazzles us. Everything here is green. Hooky runs up the stairs to the top. He's going to see the cannons and I run after him.
- The cannons do not point towards the entrance of the port. These were to defend themselves from those who came across the field and tried to enter the fort here, Hooky says.
- They are very large, will they still work?
There are only two cannons left, but when we walk through the moat, we see some more on the corners where they were placed a more strategically way. From here on, you can see the fort of La Mola. It is on the other side of the port.
"What is that tower that you see in the distance?" We ask Hooky.
- It is the Hanging Tower (Penjat Tower). It was built about 200 years ago by General Stuart, a British governor. There they hanged the condemned that left the Castle of San Felipe. The English placed it there to defend the port of Mahon.
I like to visit these places with Hooky because he knows them well and always has interesting stories to tell.
The French duke of the mayonnaise
We have entered a small room where there are pictures of representative personage’s of that time are hung. There is the Duke of Marlborough, Richard Kane, who was the governor of Menorca, the Duke of Richelieu, who snatched the island from the English....
Hooky reminds me that legend tells us that it was Richelieu who introduced the Mahon sauce in Europe. When they lived on the island, some Menorcans, who did not have much food to prepare, mixed oil, egg and salt and made a sauce. The sauce seemed so rich that he took the recipe to his country and came to think that it was a sauce of French origin. But no, mahonesa is from Mahón.
We left the Fort excited by everything we have seen. There is also a small playground and we are going to stay and play for a while on the slide. Soon it will be lunch time and they will be waiting for us in Club Kikoland. Did you know anything about the history of Fort Marlborough before coming along today? What did you think of the visit? We liked it so much that we want to return another day with Cuqui. Will you join?
There are 23 km between Son Bou and Es Castell. From there to Cala San Esteban, where the Fort Marlborough is, there are 2 km more to go.
There is no public transport to Cala San Esteban.
You can visit Fort Marlborough every day. From Tuesday - Saturday, from 9.30 o´clock to 19.00 o´clock and Sunday and Monday from 9.30 o´clock - 15.00o´clock
Admission is free for children under the age of 8 and for adults 3,-euros. You can rent an audio guide service.
The entrance on Mondays is free.