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The Spanish government built the Fortress Isabel II on La Mola of Maˇ between 1848 and 1875. At that time France and Great Britain were disputing control of the Mediterranean and the port of Maˇ was a strategical point needing protection. The defensive polygonal construction soon became out-dated due to the technical advancements in artillery systems of the age. For that reason the defensive system was reconsidered and a series of coastal batteries were set up away from the walled fortification. During the Second Republic, the Vickers cannons were installed, two of which can still be visited at La Mola.
The fortress, situated in an extraordinarily beautiful spot, is one of the best examples of late 19th Century military architecture. In the first place, there is the deep dry moat, with its salients and recesses that go from the north coast to the cove called Clot de La Mola. The main entrance to the fortress, the Queen's Gate, has a complex defensive structure based on fusiliers from a series of galleries with loop-holes and on other defensive constructions. Also worth stressing are the underground galleries, the 390 metres long loop-holed gallery, the hornworks, the Princess Tower, the Queen's Water Cistern, the prison and other buildings.