The Atalaya Castle is a castle built in the 18th century in what is now the Canteras County Council, within the Spanish municipality of Cartagena.
The strategic position of the Atalaya mountain was known since the late Middle Ages, when the Council placed there a lookout post to warn of possible pirate attacks or allies of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The watchtower proved its usefulness in 1561, when 1800 Ottoman soldiers landed in La Algameca on May 4 with the intention of pouncing on Cartagena by surprise. The convenient notice served to present to them Luis Fajardo de la Cueva, Marquis de los Vélez, who commanded Murcian knights andCartagena levies defeated the invaders near the Rambla de Benipila.
The first serious attempts to build a fort atop the mountain came in 1706, during the War of the Spanish Succession. By then, the city was occupied by the English in the name of Archduke Carlos of Austria, and they needed to secure the position they had acquired in the hostile kingdom of Murcia. With this objective in mind, two forts were erected at two strategic points, which would give rise to the building that we are dealing with and to the castle of San Julián, which will come to defend the mouth of the port.
The definitive construction of the Atalaya castle was projected in 1766 by the military engineer Pedro Martín-Paredes Cermeño, in the context of the process of improvement of military structures in Cartagena in the reign of Carlos III, and that was motivated by the appointment in 1726 of the city as capital of the Mediterranean Maritime Department. The works were completed in 1777 on the mount of the Watchtower following the precise instructions of the Count of Aranda, who wanted to annul the possibility that enemy landings would be repeated in La Algameca and at the same time protect the Military Arsenalnext to the castle of Galeras, built in the same period.
From now on, the castle will suffer the vicissitudes of the military history of the city, gaining prominence during the centralist siege of Cartagena during the cantonal rebellion, a stage in which its name changed to 'Castle of Death'. On the night of January 9, 1874, while the besieging army subjected the square to an intense bombardment, elements of the cantonalist garrison secretly interviewed the enemy, surrendering it next to the fortification. The attempts of the leader Antonete Gálvez to retake it will be rejected, and will end up precipitating the capitulation of Cartagena.
When the Spanish civil war broke out, the city was in the hands of the Republican side and the castle was used by the Military Information Service to house a Czech in which prisoners such as the agent of the Information and Propaganda Service of the Navy were interrogated with violence José Ladiñán López, the merchant Mamerto Melgarejo Cánovas or the doctor José Romero Font in search of signs of activities in favor of the rebels. The end of the war did not mean the immediate end of their prison duties, since between April and November 1939 their facilities hosted part of theConcentration complex that the Francoist repression made operate in Cartagena.
Later, the Ministry of the Army transferred it to the Ministry of Finance in the 1960s, to finally pass its possession to the Cartagena City Council, without any use or care being given to it, which is why its current state it is of prolonged deterioration. In order to prevent the castle from being left to its own devices, initiatives from associations such as Adepa and Aforca have emerged, as well as individuals from the nearby neighborhood of La Concepción, That at the moment they have not gotten an institutional response yet with the declaration of Asset of Cultural Interest in 1997. In this sense, in June 2014 the castle was included in the Red List of heritage in danger of the Hispania Nostra association.
The castle rises to an altitude of 242 meters above sea level and was built following the parameters of the eclectic neoclassicism of the Frenchified Spanish School. Its plan is constituted as an isosceles trapezoid, with five bastions for each of its vertices plus another one added in the southern part, and surrounded by a moat with its corresponding fenced-in counter- scaffold except in the sector facing the city.
The entrance to the fortress is in the central bastion of the southern part. Once through the door, you enter a vestibule, which through a missing drawbridge led to the esplanade on the first floor. It is on this level where the vaulted rooms where the garrison lived, the battlements that protected the artillerymen from enemy fire and a cistern. Finally, an equally lost spiral staircase led to the roof.References:
Monte d"Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar. It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000–3,650 BC.
The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.
The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.
Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d"Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions. It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe.
The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.
The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.