Tower of Hercules

Tower of Hercules
Native names
Galician: Torre de Hércules
Spanish: Torre de Hércules
A coruna torre de hercules sunset edit.jpg
LocationCorunna, Galicia, Spain
Coordinates43°23′9″N 8°24′23″W / 43°23′9″N 8°24′23″W / 43.38583; -8.40639
Elevation57 metres (187 ft)
Built2nd century CE
Visitors149,440[1] (in 2009)
Governing bodyMinistry of Culture
Official name: Tower of Hercules
Designated2009 (33rd 1312
RegionEurope and North America
Official name: Torre de Hércules
TypeRoyal property
Designated3 June 1931
Reference no.(R.I.) - 51 - 0000540 - 00000
Tower of Hercules is located in Galicia
Tower of Hercules
Site of the Tower of Hercules in Galicia

The Tower of Hercules (Galician and Spanish: Torre de Hércules) is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about 2.4 kilometers (1.5 mi) from the centre of Corunna, Galicia, in north-western Spain. Until the 20th century, the tower itself was known as the "Farum Brigantium". The Latin word farum is derived from the Greek pharos for the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The structure is 55 metres (180 ft) tall and overlooks the North Atlantic coast of Spain. The structure, built in the 2nd century and renovated in 1791, is the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today.

There is a sculpture garden featuring works by Pablo Serrano and Francisco Leiro.[2]

The Tower of Hercules is a National Monument of Spain, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 27, 2009.[3] It is the second-tallest lighthouse in Spain, after the Faro de Chipiona.

Construction and history

The tower is known to have existed by the 2nd century, built or perhaps rebuilt under Trajan, possibly on foundations following a design that was Phoenician in origin. It is thought to be modeled after the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Its base preserves a cornerstone with the inscription MARTI AUG.SACR C.SEVIVS LVPVS ARCHTECTVS AEMINIENSIS LVSITANVS.EX.VO, permitting the original lighthouse tower to be ascribed to the architect Gaius Sevius Lupus, from Aeminium (present-day Coimbra, Portugal) in the former province of Lusitania, as an offering dedicated to the Roman god of war, Mars. The tower has been in constant use since the 2nd century and is considered to be the oldest extant lighthouse. The base of the building has 18 sides, the tower is 4 sided, continuing to be 7 sided, then 5 sides with a final dome on top.

The earliest known reference to the lighthouse at Brigantium is by Paulus Orosius in Historiae adversum Paganos written around 415–417:

Secundus angulus circium intendit, ubi Brigantia Gallaeciae civitas sita altissimum farum et inter pauca memorandi operis ad speculam Britanniae erigit ("At the second angle of the circuit circumnavigating Hispania, where the Gallaecian city of Brigantia is sited, a very tall lighthouse is erected among a few commemorative works, for looking towards Britannia.")

Plan and elevation, from Joseph Cornide, Investigaciones sobre la fundación y fábrica de la torre llamada de Hércules, 1792

In 1788, the original 34-metre (112 ft), three-storey tower was given a neoclassical restoration, including a new 21-metre (69 ft) fourth storey.[3] The restoration was undertaken by naval engineer Eustaquio Giannini during the reign of Charles III of Spain, and was finished in 1791.[3] Within, the much-repaired Roman and medieval masonry may be inspected.

The Romans who conquered this region of Spain believed it to be, in a figurative sense, the end of the earth—whence its name, Finisterra. This region is notorious for shipwrecks, earning it the name Costa da Morte, "Coast of Death".

Other Languages
العربية: برج هرقل
беларуская: Вежа Геркулеса
български: Кула на Херкулес
brezhoneg: Tour Herkules
čeština: Herkulova věž
Deutsch: Herkulesturm
Esperanto: Turo de Herkulo
فارسی: برج هرکول
français: Tour d'Hercule
Bahasa Indonesia: Menara Hercules
Nederlands: Herculestoren
português: Torre de Hércules
Simple English: Tower of Hercules
slovenčina: Herkulova veža
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Herkulesov toranj
Türkçe: Herkül Kulesi
українська: Вежа Геркулеса
Tiếng Việt: Tháp Hércules