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Tower of Hércules

The restoration of the Tower

In 1788, work began the final restoration of the Tower of Hércules. Completed in 1790, it gave the Tower – except for small subsequent changes – its present appearance. Subsequently, several works were carried out to upgrade the surrounding areas.

  • Tower of Hércules

In 1788...

In 1788, at the initiative of the Royal Consulate of A Coruña and authorised by King Charles III, work on the restoration of the Tower of Hércules began. These works – carried out by the military engineer Eustaquio Giannini – principally affected the outside and the top of the Tower. Outside, the original Roman core was overlaid with a stone covering with a Classical aesthetic. The new facade has a sober decor, and a regular symmetrical duplication of the openings that are mostly false and that only in some cases correspond to the ancient Roman entrances to the interior rooms (sometimes walled over in part to maintain the regularity on the facade). The diagonal band, which covers the walls in a spiral to the summit, recalls the old Roman ramp access.

At the top, remains of the Roman roundabout were demolished as were the additions made in the 17th century (turrets and balcony), which were replaced by a new finishing composed of two superimposed octagonal bodies; the upper initially contained the beacon or coal-fuelled bonfire that would serve as a luminaire. Inside, the old wooden staircase was replaced by a new one of stone with wooden railings. The restoration was completed in 1790.

The restoration was completed in 1790.

Shortly afterwards, several studies were undertaken in preparation for upgrading the surroundings. The construction of the access road and a platform around the base of the tower were designed, but not completed until 1861. A small stone hut was built in order to protect the rock containing the Roman inscription.

From 1799 to 1806...

Between 1799 and 1806, there were new works caused by the replacement of the carbon lamp with a new parabolic rotating beacon supplied with oil lamps. This installation forced Giannini to make changes at the top of the Tower. The roof of the upper part was torn down and a glass lantern that still exists today was installed. An unusual stone pinnacle was also built, which houses staircase to the lantern, and a lightning rod was installed.

19th and 20th century...

Electricity was installed in the lighthouse in 1927.

Beginning in the 19th century and until the end of the 20th, the restoration was minimal and only affected the interior of the Tower. More important were those done in the surrounding area. In 1849, the interior of the Tower was upgraded in order to install the classes of the first School of Lighthouse Keepers in Spain, which remained until 1854. From 1858 to 1906 the inside walls of the Tower were lined with patterned wallpaper. In 1909 the wooden railing of the staircase was replaced by one of stone. Electricity was installed in the lighthouse in 1927. Several buildings for the accommodation of the keepers, located at the foot of the platform at the base of the Tower, were built in 1861 and 1956.

> Text provided by the City hall of A Coruña

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