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Tower of Hércules

The mediaeval Tower

During this period, the tower ceased functioning as a lighthouse; in some periods it would become a defensive castle and, from the 13th century on, a quarry supplying materials for the construction of the new village called Crunia.

  • Tower of Hércules

From the 5th century...

After the demise of the Roman Empire, the Tower of Hércules, from the 5th century, the Torre suffered a progressive deterioration that would cause the disappearance of its outer perimeter wall and access ramp.In the 5th century, the invasions of the barbarians brought about the disappearance of the Western Roman Empire. The arrival of the Suevi and the Vandals, the raids by the Heruli and the collapse of Roman power entailed the Tower of Hércules losing its role as a lighthouse, now useless after the reduction of maritime traffic and the increasing dangers coming from the sea . The gradual decline and fall of the transverse arches of its wall would begin with the abandonment of the Tower. Still, it is possible that – once the barbarian kingdoms were settled in the West – the Torre had a role as a reference in the maritime relations established in the 6th and 7th centuries between the Suevi kingdom of Gallaecia and the kingdom of the Franks.

From the 9th century...

From the 9th century on, the Western coasts were subjected to continuous raids of the Normans. Written sources mention their attack in A.D. 844 on the Faro Brigantium and Galicia was attacked numerous times until the 11th century. During these centuries, the Torre serves as a reference point to delineate a territory which is named Faro Brigantio or simply Faro, a territory that the kings of Asturias, León and Galicia would leave in the hands of counts or the bishops of Santiago.

The Tower became a defensive outpost in the face of threats from the sea, and the object of dispute between the kings, the church and the nobility.

Between A.D. 991 and 1126, the Tower was – except for some brief periods – under the dominion of the bishops of Santiago de Compostela. During this period, there was a  rectangular building of stone walls and divided into two rooms on the east side of the Tower, close to its outside wall. Archaeological excavations carried out have revealed an abundance of hearths, pottery shards and remains of organic materials that indicate that it must have been used as a kitchen for the defenders of the Torre turned into a fort.

From the 13th century...

In the 13th century, beginning with the construction of the new town of Crunia in 1208, the Tower was abandoned. The transverse arches that are fallen but still preserved from the outer wall and access ramp served as a quarry from which to get good quality material with little effort for the buildings and fortifications that were being built in A Coruña at this time. The extraction of transverse arches from the Torre would be prohibited in the 16th century; at that time neither the outer perimeter wall or access ramp still existed.

> Text provided by the City hall of A Coruña
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