Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Castillo

There are two small fortifications on the seafront at Arrecife.  They are both called 'Castillo', but they really do not look big enough to be castles as we would know them.  They are, nonetheless rather imposing.  I mentioned the Castillo de San Gabriel on Monday, but here are some more photos.  Starting with a 'frontal shot' of the fortress, sitting atop it's stone outcrop called the Islote de los Ingleses.  Two fearsome-looking canon stand guard.
The fortress has stood guard over the harbour in it's present for since it was rebuilt by an Italian architect called Leonardo Torriani in 1592.
One of the guns seems to be pointed toward the blue-glazed, 5* Gran Hotel which dominates the skyline.
A little to the north of the city, lies the second of the fortresses.  The Castillo de San Jos√©.  Built in the 1770's from black basalt on the orders of King Carlos III, not just for it's defensive role, but also to provide work and income for the islanders who were suffering from starvation following the volcanic eruptions on the island during the century.
 
When it's defensive role had become less important, it was used more as a munitions store before being abandoned and falling into decay.  Restored in the 20th century, it became and remains, a museum and art gallery.
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