A spectacular eighteenth century fortress carved into the rock in perfect condition.
The fort stands on the southern side of the entrance to Maó harbour, in the cove Cala de Sant Esteve, and was built by the British between 1720 and 1726. It owes its name to Sir John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, the most prominent British General of the time. Together with Sant Felip Castle and the Stuart Tower, or En Penjat Tower, its role was to protect the entrance to the port of Maó. In 1782 the fort was partially destroyed by the Spanish and had to be rebuilt, with a few modifications, during the last period of British rule (1798-1802). It is a small fort, with a heptagonal central enclosure that was once equipped with several artillery guns for defending against possible enemy attack. The fort was built over a large trench with a counterscarp gallery excavated out of the bedrock. The upper level provides exceptional views over the historic area of Maó harbour, undoubtedly one of the most coveted in the western Mediterranean by foreign powers.
Nowadays, visitors can experience a re-enactment to take them back to the time when Fort Marlborough was under siege and to describe the history of both Menorca and Europe throughout the upheavals of the 18th century. It includes uniformed soldiers and special technological effects.
How to get there
Cala Sant Esteve is 5 km from Maó and 2 km from Es Castell. The car-park at Fort Marlborugh is just before you drop down to the cove.
There is no public transport to Cala Sant Esteve. Nevertheless, you can get there by walking the 2 km from Es Castell after taking one of the regular buses that run from Maó. Check out bus times and frequencies (that vary according to the season).
Prices and opening times
We recommend you confirm times on the phone (34) 971 368 678
Nearby sites of interest
• Illa del Rei: Little island in the centre of the Maó harbour, between Maó and Es Castell. The island has two very interesting architectural sites: the remains of the Early Christian era basilica and the old military hospital, built by the British, was based here from the 18th century up until the 1960s. Open to visits. More information obout Illa del Rei.
• Saint Philip’s Castle: Remains of what was once one of the most important fortifications in the Mediterranean. Started by the Spanish in 1555 and enlarged by the English during their first period of domination (1708-1756). Charles III, after conquering Menorca in 1782, ordered it to be destroyed. Open to the public. Tel.: 971 362 100. More information about Saint Philip’s Castle.
• Calesfonts: Old fishing village belonging to Es Castell, where the old warehouses have been turned into bars and restaurants.
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The British presence in Menorca lasted for almost all of the eighteenth century in three consecutive periods lasting from 1708 to 1802, the year in which the island was returned to the Spanish crown. The British legacy remains in the Anglicisms found in the local language, the characteristic bow windows seen on many Menorcan houses, the typical British-style furniture, the taste for gin and, above all, the wonderful architectural legacy in the shape of defensive military structures that dot the whole of the island’s coastline.
The island, also known as The Bloody Island, is in the middle of the Maó harbour, between Maó and Es Castell villages, where we find the old military hospital built by the British during their domination.
Sant Felip Castle stands on the southern side of the entrance to Maó harbour. Over the course of successive British occupations the castle was extended until the Spanish siege in 1782.
A coastal defence tower built by the British in the early 19th century to guard the entrance to Fornells harbour and protect the nearby Sant Antoni Castle