Defensive Architecture

SAN JULIAN CASTLE

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This castle is located on the summit of Mount San Julián, at a height of 293 meters. It offers a panoramic view of Escombreras Bay, the Port, Military Arsenal and Campo de Cartagena.

The castle has an irregular plan, with several construction stages that were developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The fortification began to be built in the 18th century and it was completed in 1888. This duration of more than a century greatly influenced the variety of defensive systems, and the evolution of armament, which were happening throughout that time. Its main mission was to protect the harbour's mouth and the top of the mountain on which it is located.

The hill of San Julián was used from at least the 16th century, as a watchtower to warn of the presence of enemies through bonfires or smoke, depending on whether it was daylight or night.
In 1706, the English army built a circular tower for control, with capacity to accommodate 20 men, storage and cisterns.
With Charles III the construction of the castle begins, trying to enclose in its interior the cylindrical tower. It was a source of discrepancies and although the grounds began to be prepared in 1771, the works did not begin until 1861, ending in 1888. Its construction was completed one hundred years after the construction of forts of Galeras, Atalaya and Moros.

During the Spanish Civil War, it was also used as a prison for high-ranked officials of the Spanish army.
In 1947 it is decommissioned as coastal battery and the castle is let in charge of the military government to become a military prison.
In 1960 the 4 howitzers were dismantled, continuing as prison in the 1980s.
It is catalogued as Heritage of Cultural Interest with the degree of protection 1.

It is in an acceptable state of preservation. Nowadays private property, there are currently several telecommunications antennas installed inside.

It can be accessed from three points:

  • Through Santa Lucia road, lining with the Naval prison.
  • Through a branch of the harbour road to Escombreras.
  • The old path that goes to the castle through the western slope, that departed from Trincabotijas battery.


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