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 is believed that it was created in the likeness of the Alexandria (Pharos) lighthouse.
The Tower of Hercules in Spain was built by the Romans around the beginning of the second century. In the Middle Ages, it was 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 was 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 was popular in Spain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which is why the lighthouse was called the Tower of Hercules.
In the 17th century, wars were fought between Spain and England, which is why trade was 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 was rebuilt: the wooden staircase was replaced with a stone one, the walls were faced. At the end of the eighteenth century, instead of a coal lamp, a rotating oil lamp appeared. In the nineteenth century, a platform was made around the tower. At the end of the twentieth century, when excavations were carried out near the lighthouse, the remains of an outer wall that ran around the tower were found.
Today, the Tower of Hercules has preserved the main elements of the original structure. In total, it has four floors, the last one was 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 was 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 was 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.
- 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 is considered a Spanish national monument.