Dimensions: height 55 meters
Locality: La Coruña
Construction start / opening date: Early 2nd century
Architect: Kai Servius Lupo
Original name: Torre de Hércules, Tower of Hercules
The Tower of Hercules is an active lighthouse located in the north of the city of A Coruña. Today it is the most ancient lighthouse in the entire world. The height of the Tower of Hercules reaches 55 meters (the tower is the second highest in Spain). It believed that it created in the likeness of the Alexandria (Pharos) lighthouse.
The Tower of Hercules in Spain built by the Romans around the beginning of the second century. In the Middle Ages, it actively used, but then fell into decay. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, A Coruña became a large and important port, so interest in the tower renewed. It has become a beacon for the many sailors arriving in the city. The architect Kai Servius Lupo dedicated the tower to the god Mars, as evidenced by the inscription carved at the base of the tower.
Legend has it that the name of the tower originated from the Greek hero Hercules. During the tenth feat, he fought the giant Geryon for three days and eventually won. In honor of this event, Hercules built a tower and brought people from Galatia to it. This legend popular in Spain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which why the lighthouse called the Tower of Hercules.
In the 17th century, wars were fought between Spain and England, which is why trade not very active. The Tower of Hercules lighthouse gradually fell into disrepair. Only in 1788, Charles III ordered the renovation of the building. In the course of the work, the tower rebuilt: the wooden staircase replaced with a stone one, the walls faced. At the end of the eighteenth century, instead of a coal lamp, a rotating oil lamp appeared. In the nineteenth century, a platform made around the tower. At the end of the twentieth century, when excavations carried out near the lighthouse, the remains of an outer wall that ran around the tower found.
Today, the Tower of Hercules has preserved the main elements of the original structure. In total, it has four floors, the last one built on in 1791. There are four rooms on the three lower floors, and on the last one there is a two-level room with an octagonal shape. The walls are the sights of A Coruña, built of granite, reaching 2.15 meters in thickness. Diagonal stripes run along the facade, which appeared in memory of the outer ramp – it is believed that it possible to climb the lighthouse from the street along it.
Immediately after its construction, the Tower of Hercules was a lighthouse. In the middle of the nineteenth century, it became a school in which lighthouse keepers studied, in the early twentieth century, electricity appeared. The administration of the city of A Coruña guards the old tower and values it – you can see the image of the old lighthouse on the city’s coat of arms. In 2009, the Tower of Hercules included in the UNESCO list of protected sites. The complex, in addition to it, includes a park of ancient sculptures, ancient buildings of the Romans, which are located next to the tower, a Muslim cemetery and drawings on the rocks, located nearby.
How to get there
The Tower of Hercules is one of the main attractions in Spain. A huge number of tourists visit it every year. Climbing to the top of the lighthouse, you can admire a magnificent view of the bay. The guide will tell you about the history of the building, its construction and renovation. Each local will tell you where the Tower of Hercules is.
You can get to it by tourist tram, buses 3, 3a, 5, as well as by car – there is a parking lot on the esplanade of the tower. You can also walk on foot – the road from the railway station to the lighthouse will take about an hour and a half. The tower is open to the public from ten in the morning to six in the evening.
October – May, daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
June – September, daily from 10:00 to 21:00.
Cost of visiting
Adults: 3 €.
Children up to 14 years: 1,50 €.
People over 65 years: 1,50 €.
What to see
The Old Town. To tune in to the sea mood of the port city, we advise you, changing into comfortable sneakers, to go for a walk in the center of A Coruña. You will see houses built in the mystical era of the Middle Ages, you can look into the castles of nobles and Gothic churches. For example, in the Church of St. Mary, built in the XII century, inside which there is the Museum of Art. Relax among the cypresses and flowers in Plaza Barbaras and in the gardens of San Carlos.
Maria Pita Square. A place named after the Galician Joan of Arc. She became famous for the fact that in the XVI century, defending the city from the invasion of the British, she killed a soldier who was going to hoist the flag over the fortress. The woman became a symbol of patriotism and courage, and one of the most beautiful squares in the city named after her. On the street Herrerías is the House-Museum of the Heroine, the entrance there is free. The square is also home to the interesting Clock Museum.
“Glass” streets. The peculiarity of the streets of the city will open when looking at the balconies and terraces of houses – they are made of glass, and the frames painted white. Avenida de Montoto and Avenida de la Marina are examples of urban architecture in A Coruña.
What can be seen next to the Tower of Hercules.
Around the tower there is a park occupying 47 hectares. It called an open-air museum. It formed from many sculptures by different authors.
At the beginning of the park, visitors greeted by the sculpture “Breogan“. It written by José Cid. A warrior from a huge white granite monolith holds a shield and a sword in his hands. This a mythical Celtic hero, who credited with the founding of the city of A Coruña. It known not only in Galicia, but also in Ireland.
The unusual sculpture “Charon” by Ramon Conde attracts a lot of attention. The elder transporting the dead across the river depicted as nothing like the descriptions of Greek mythology.
From the Tower of Hercules, a huge iron snail is visible, reminiscent of the catastrophes that occurred in the waters of the Atlantic. This giant fantastic mollusk is able to preserve the noise of the sea.
Gray granite blocks rise on the Rat Field. This is a monument to Isaac Diaz Pardo, reminiscent of the Republicans executed during the Civil War.
History, art and nature brought together in this wonderful corner of Galicia. La Coruña is the pearl of northern Spain. Every year more and more guests come here.
- Tower of Hercules has several other names – Tower of Brigantia, Brigantian Lighthouse, Tower of Breogan.
- The first mentions of the lighthouse can be found in old codes dated 1086. In 1300, the British depicted it on the world map as one of the most important trading points in the world.
- Many ancient historians have mentioned the Tower of Hercules as one of the wonders of the world.
- The tower considered a Spanish national monument.