Defensive Architecture

ATALAYA CASTLE

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18th century fortification, built under the rules of Charles III, it was designed by the military engineer Pedro Martín Zermeño in 1.766, finishing its construction in 1.777, following orders of Count Aranda, to fortify the place and the Arsenal. The execution of the work was carried out by the military engineer Mateo Vodopich.
The castle is located on Atalaya Mountain in the Concepción neighbourhood, at a height of 242m, dominating Campo de Cartagena, the city, the port and Algameca beaches.

The access is through the Concepción neighborhood, through Calle Castillo Malpica, along a road about 3 meters wide, which has a varied surface from its beginning until the entrance to the castle. The route is about 1,800 meters in length, with an average slope of 15% throughout the route. It is only suitable for pedestrians and bicycles.

Its architectural style is neoclassical eclectic. The fortification was built with two levels. The ground floor is pentagonal and solid with five bastions, one in each vertex. The first floor is built with vaults. To access the upper terraces there was a spiral staircase, whose structure, formed by stone steps, has disappeared. The entire construction is surrounded by a dry moat. The first floor is constituted by a U-shaped building. The building has a spacious patio where a cistern with several parapets is located.

It was always equipped with artillery. Its main missions were to defend the summit of the mountain where it is located, to beat with its artillery the possible landings in Algameca; and flank the north side of the city.

In 1873, the cantonals called it "Castle of Death", as its intervention was decisive in defending the position, making the 24 artillery pieces it had mounted 2039 shots during the night of January 10th, 1874, before surrendering to the besieging army, a fact that decided the fall of the city.

It is catalogued as Heritage of Cultural Interest with the degree of protection 1 since 1987.


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