Modern Age

It was in the sixteenth century that the first steps to rehabilitate the monument were taken so that the remains of the Roman lighthouse, once repaired, were to become by late 17th century one of the main bastions for guiding ships in north-western Spain.

By mid 16th century, local people still saw in the Tower an endless quarry where to get stone for the new buildings being erected in the city. Over and over again, the city council, as the legal owner of the lighthouse, would forbid any collection of material, but little avail. At the same time, the city council commissions a number of consolidation and improvement works such as the purchase of wood in 1537 and 1562 to build an inner staircase that made it possible to gain access from the chambers to the lighthouse lantern as the outside ramp had disappeared.

During this restoration state, the lighthouse might have been operative again as maritime traffic intensified significantly as a consequence of both domestic and international trade with Europe and America and A Coruña became then a strategic port of the Atlantic due to its privileged location, at the bottom of a wide ria and protected from the tempests of the ocean, but with the added difficulty of having a narrow access. This made the port’s entry manoeuvre very complex for those sailors who were not familiar with this stretch of coast. Things being so, it seems only natural that the City Council had in mind restoring the old lighthouse to use when commissioning the Tower’s timid renovation works. The Tower would be used as a beacon, a watchtower but also as an aid to navigation thus recovering its pristine role. In fact, the cartography of the time incorporates the image of the lighthouse and the British navigation charts, a potential enemy of Spain, include a reference to the Tower.

Further information on Modern Age [.PDF]