The Tower of Hercules in La Coruña

The Tower of Hercules in La Coruña
The Tower of Hercules in La Coruña
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This construction located on the outskirts of the Galician city of La Coruña is neither more nor less than the oldest maritime lighthouse in the world. A work that traces its origins to the first century, and that today, two millennia later, is still a lighthouse in use for sailors who travel the dangerous Galician coast. A really impressive work, because its 57 meters high, make it the third tallest lighthouse in all of Spain today.

Tower of Hercules

Tower of Hercules

The archaeological excavations carried out in the area date the construction of the lighthouse between the years 40 and 80, or what is the same during the years in which they were emperors Neroand Vespasian, in addition to epigraphic inscriptions in Latin at the base of the tower that tell us about its Roman origins.

Not forgetting that there are various historical documents that speak of the importance of this lighthouse for navigation in the area. However, during the Middle Ages, its maritime use lost importance, and some even think that for some time it was not used as a lighthouse, and was transformed into a medieval fortification.

However, it is documented that in the 17th century, in 1682, it was restored, and that later in the time of King Carlos III it was completely rebuilt, giving it the appearance of neoclassical construction that we see today. A work that led toout the architect of Italian origin Eustaquio Giannini.

With that neoclassical reform, the original Roman lighthouse of about 34 meters in height became 57 today. And along that height you can clearly distinguish three architectural styles corresponding to as many periods. In other words, you can see the base from the early Roman period, a construction with neoclassical airs throughout its central development and, finally, the finishing touch on the upper part added later.

Why is it known as the Tower of Hercules? This denomination alludes to the mythological legend that surrounds this place. Since it was believed that Hercules himself had arrived by boat by boat and chose this location to bury the head of Gerion, the giant and tyrant to the who had won an epic battle.

Although, the mythological legacy of Greco-Latin origin is not the only one that comes together here. As in many other places and traditions in the region of Galicia, Celtic legends also have a place here, since according to some historians, the Tower of Hercules would also be identified with the Breogán Tower, mythical place of Irish mythological legends.

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