Es Castell, the first Sun of Spain

We can't help but dedicate an article to the historic town of Es Castell, the first Spanish municipality to see the sun rise every morning, located on the south shore of the port of Mahón, is the first urban centre we find when we cross the mouth of the port of Mahón.


Es Castell is an important part of the history of Menorca and is home to "Cales Fonts" perhaps one of the greatest tourist attractions in Menorca, with its seafaring air it still preserves the essence of Menorca's seafaring life.

Full of small restaurants that offer a varied gastronomic offer in a unique enclave from which you can enjoy the best views of the port of Mahón.


The traditional Menorcan "llauts" are part of the landscape and resist the onslaught of the waves and the inexorable passage of time.


Its origin takes us back to the year 1535 when, as a result of the attack of the feared Turkish pirate Barba Roja, in that same year  the viceroy of Mallorca Eximen Pérez de Figuerola realized the need to protect the valuable port of Mahón from possible attacks given the growing tension with the Ottoman Empire after Emperor Charles' conquest of Tunisia.


But it was Philip II who began to build the Castillo de San Felipe, which would later give its name to the beautiful village of es Castell. With the help of the Italian Juan Baptista Calvi, its construction began and in 1558 the first Ottoman attack was repelled from its walls.


After this attack many Mahonese decided to approach the fortress to feel safer in the face of the growing belligerence in the Mediterranean, and this was how the first nucleus called "Arraval de Sant Felip" or "Arraval del Castillo de Sant Felip" was created, it grew so much that it is believed to have housed 3000 people.


The growing number of inhabitants in the vicinity of the Castle of Sant Felipe began to put the defence of the Castle in check, sometimes facilitating the siege of the Castle by invaders who, taking refuge in the narrow streets of the "Arraval de Sant Felip", fought more comfortably.


That is why the British in their first domination and after the Austro-Racist Rebellion of Menorca (1706-1707) ended with the so-called battle of Biniatap (near the current Es Castell), they decided to demolish the old suburb and displace it creating the so-called "Arraval Nova".

But it didn't end there, as Es Castell was moved and rebuilt once again and taken by the British to its current location between Cales Fonts and Cala Corb, on the south shore of the majestic port of Mahón.


Thus, in the second British domination of Menorca and specifically in February 1771, the demolition of the "Nova suburb" was ordered to displace and redesign, with an octagonal plan, the current village of Es Castell on a plain by the sea, already in its current location, taking the name of George Town in honor of the English King George III.



Years later The Duke of Crillón, after the recovery of the island of Menorca, decided to demolish the Castle of Sant Felip in 1782 to avoid future endless sieges.

The date of this attack by King Carlos III is still the one used today to celebrate the Spanish Military Easter and caused Es Castell to take the name of Villa Carlos in honor of King Carlos III.


As you can see, the history of the small town of Es Castell is rich and run over, dependent on the different dominations that the island of Menorca has had and has witnessed attacks, sieges and the passage of time.

Finally, as the name that endured among the inhabitants of Menorca was Es Castell, and with the arrival of democracy in 1978 it was recovered and the name of Villa Carlos was changed to Es Castell.


Nowadays and always it has been an eminently seafaring town from which came brave families dedicated to the sea, fishing and navigation, people who with their effort and courage helped to build the Menorca of today, ensuring supplies by sea in the most difficult conditions.


So, if you want to get to know the Port of Mahón in depth, you can't miss strolling through Es Castell, strolling through the beautiful port of Cales Fonts or going to the famous bar "Es Cau" in the quiet Cala Corb to see and who knows if you will sing the famous Menorcan songs that will take you back to ancient times as they are testimony of past times, a catalogue of sung tradition that will make your hair stand on end.


With the Don Joan, our Glass Bottom Boat we will skirt Cales Fonts, the Moll den Pons, Cala Corb and we will travel the waters that have seen the history of Menorca and the history of its people go by. We will be happy to share the spectacular views you will have from our upper deck or from our interior deck while you savor a leisurely refreshment.



We look forward to seeing you!