PROVISIONS have been made by the Junta de Andalucía (regional government) to restore six look out towers (Torres de Almenara) around the coast. The towers that were built nearly 500 years ago and strategically placed overlooking the coastline, were used as a defence system to guard against invasions by other countries and pirates or slaves landing on Spanish soil.
Since their disuse, these towers, which belong to many coastal areas up and down the coast have become a national heritage. There are 23 towers on the Costa del Sol, which are awaiting refurbishment.
The renovation of these monuments is varied, depending on the location where they have been built. Some towers lie on public land and some on private land. Although the Junta de Andalucía have declared these towers ‘Cultural Assets,’ restoration on some of the towers is difficult to accomplish, as access is more difficult if the towers are positioned on private land.
In Estepona, three of the seven towers are waiting to be remodelled, the first of which is called Saladaviaje. Having been given approval by the Junta de Andalucía to be restored in 2008, the municipal architect ordered some trees around the tower to be cut down as the roots from the trees were affecting the structure, but nothing else was done.
Whilst in Marbella, one of the most urgent towers to be repaired is the Torre del Ancón. This is the only structure in the Municipal that has not been restored, due to its location on a private property with very difficult access. The outer material of the tower is made up of pebble and it is eroding and falling down.
Although the towers were designed during the reign of King Felipe II (1556-1598), due to financial setbacks, they were not constructed until the reign of Felipe IV in 1638. The Spanish name ‘Almenara’ as they are known, derives from the Arabic language meaning – a tower where fire is lit to warn of predators.