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Torre de Hercules & Control Tower


The Tower of Hercules is really a lighthouse, the oldest fully fuctioning lighthouse in the world. It sits surrounded by a museum. So the first story of the tower is hidden. To say it is massive is an understatement. If you look at this detail below of the top picture, you will see two people on the far right and a man just below the wall.


With its roots in Roman times, there is are inscriptions in the base that mention Sevius Lupus, a 2nd century engineer. The earliest reference to it in written text is 415 AD.

The original tower had an external access ramp so that wood could be carried to the top for burning. It was enclosed in its current facade by King Carlos IV in 1788, but you can still follow the path of the ramp along the exterior. It is on a lower part of this visible ledge that I placed Bookworm for his climb. (See Bookworm's blog entry)

Below the tower as you take the path down to the water's edge, is a giant paved circular area that is a sort of mosaic compass.


Here is a detail of two of the compass points: The shell represents Santiago and the scull and crossbones, of course, represents the Costa da Morte.


At the southern end of the Paseo Maritimo is the "Torre de Control Maritima" -- the modern version of a light house. Except they warn ships of danger via traffic control transmissions. Just to give you some perspective. The glassed areas are two stories each. The entire tower is about 14 stories tall. The legs are the elevator shafts.


All along the causeway leading up to the control tower were hundreds of feral cats. At every flat space along the way, someone had left cat kibble for them.


That's IT. We are finally leaving our time in Spain and heading for Portugal. Two more weeks of trip to report on. Am I boring you yet?

Comments (4)

That is one huge tower and an impressive and beautiful compass! I must have missed it but where in Spain is the Torre de Hercules located?

I'm enjoying reading on your trip to Spain and I'm eagerly waiting for you to take me to Portugal.

Deborah responds: Hi Maria. The Torre de Hercules is in A Coruna. A Coruna is Galicia's most important port city. It is at the opposite end of the costa da morte from finisterra.


Now I need to go get a map and check my mythology ... named for Hercules because didn't one of his labors supposedly take place near there? Very fuzzy memory indeed.

Deborah responds: I'm not sure, Kim. I seem to remember that several cultures "borrowed" him and he popped up in quite a few places.

Did you climb the tower? Is it open for climbing? How lucky you were to visit this very cool Tower of Hercules. If I ever get to Spain, this is going on my list.

One year I think my entire vacation is going to be centered around towns with towers open for climbing.

Deborah responds: Unfortunately we arrived just 5 minutes after they started their last tour, but yes you can climb to the top! Someday we have to go back, because they have a great museum inside that shows you the base of the original tower.
I love your idea of a tower centered trip.

Not bored at all - I am really enjoying this! Love seeing those feral cats and that mosaic!

Deborah responds: Thanks Annie. I wish I had taken more pictures of the cats. They were EVERYWHERE. But I understand they have a trap, neuter, & release program for them.

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