A tour of the island’s fortifications
In Menorca, like many islands around the Mediterranean Sea, they have a set of the island’s fortifications, that have resisted over time and are, at the same time, witnesses and inheritance of the historical evolution of the passage of civilizations and empires through there.
Different armies left their traces on this island, which due to its great location was a strategic step towards the shipping routes between Europe, Asia and Africa, but which was later a great step towards America.
They are a total of 15 island’s fortifications that have the historical stamp of the military campaigns of Muslims, Ottomans, French or English. In each of them there is, in addition to rocks, stones and structures, a rich heritage of stories that will be entertaining for each visitor.
The local council has made a great effort to design, a conservation plan and routes, offering tourists a different option to be visited at any time of the year, so that in autumn or winter it can also be visited from the locals of Balearic Islands.
Also, security was important for the islands that defended themselves from the attacks or invasions of armies, but that also suffered assaults from the so-called pirates who at different times made theirs in the area, so each watchtower played a important role at the time.
The fortified route
There is no need to have confusion between several things. In Menorca there are castles, island fortifications and watchtowers. Of a total of 15 are preserved, dating from the 14th century. Many of them were built by the English.
One of the most important island’s fortifications is the Torre d’en Quart, which is the oldest because there is a record of its construction in the 14th century, as a possession handed over by King Alfonzo III to Bernardo Quart. Although it is a monument that is currently private, it can be visited and work is being done on its maintenance to be used as a sales shop for a famous cheese factory on the Island. It is not open to the public, but it can be visited outside.
The Torre des Freus or de la Princesa, was built between 1789 and 1799, remained within the Mahón Fortress, and resisted cannon attacks, invasions and assaults, but in 1956, it was struck by lightning that split it.
Another important island’s fortification is the Torre de San Nicolau, it is an attraction among the watchtowers because it is octagonal, very high and is even called a castle. It was built by the Spanish in the seventeenth century and is one of the three that remain in the best state of preservation. Its interior houses a small museum.
Another construction is the Torre D´Alcaufar, dating from 1786, it is cylindrical, with three floors and inside it has space for a spiral staircase and cannons.
The other island’s fortification is the Torre de Son Gonxo, is the third and last of the military constructions that bear Spanish stamp among those that remain standing. It has three floors, on the ground floor to store food and gunpowder, the first that should have been used as a room and the upper part three cannons ready to defend the position.