Tower of Hercules, Spain

The Tower of Hercules in A Coruña, Spain, is the only Roman lighthouse still in use as an aid to navigation. Of course, it’s had some work done since the Roman’s it built it a coupe of thousand years ago.

Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

There is a parking lot  located several hundred meters from the tower itself. Then you walk along a long promenade out to the tower itself where you pay a small fee and enter the lowest portion. There you’ll find ruins from various times of occupation as well as quite a few steps to get to the top. However, the view is worth the climb.

View to the north from the Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

View to the north from the Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

It can be quite windy here so secure your hair.

View to the east from the Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

View to the west from the Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

And be sure to hang on to your camera.

View to the south from the Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

View to the south from the Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain.

If you’re lucky you might see some ships or sailboats out there. After that long climb up the stairs, head into town for a great meal. You earned it!

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Medieval Methods, Construction

This photo essay takes a look at some medieval construction methods that I noted in Spain. These methods are still used in various places, at least in terms of post and beam methodology. For example, take a look at the first photo here.

You see the timbers running horizontally and vertically, forming a framework which is then filled in with brick and/or plaster. I would guess that initially it was more like woven areas of lighter wood plastered inside and out. The brick is much heavier, although so long as it starts from the bottom up, can be as solid as anything else, as seen in the next photo of a building on the corner.

Actually, what remains of the building. In this part of town, people were busy restoring these buildings. I suspect some might not make it as they looked rather unsturdy. One fellow went the distance as you can see here.

Turned out a rather nice place to stay, didn’t he?
There’s more to sightseeing than museums and monuments. Things like those shown above are a sort of living history. The marks on those timbers were left by craftsmen hundreds of years ago. Best of all you can get up close to gain a better understanding of how things were and might be again. Furthermore, if you get there at the right time, you might be able to speak with people who still know how to do things that way. First hand knowledge is always the most reliable. Fascinating, too.

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Roman Ruins, Mérida

One of the main goals of my recent visit to Spain was to see the Roman ruins at Mérida. The Romans had a substantial settlement here, large enough to support an amphitheater and a theater side by side. There was also a handsome temple for the goddess Diana, among others. Naturally they needed a bridge to cross the river and sundry other structures such as an acqueduct to support their living requirements and commerce. The following video shows some of the things I saw.

Impressive, aren’t they? I was very impressed to say the least. Plus, there is a museum with hundreds of artifacts on display to give you a thorough understanding of the context in which these structures existed.
The town itself offers a menagerie of restaurants and shops, everything from trinkets to quality gifts. I would recommend a full day here, morning to late afternoon.

Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Segovia’s Roman Aqueduct

By most accounts, Segovia’s Roman aqueduct was built sometime around the 1st or 2nd Century AD. It stands more than 93 feet tall including the foundation, which reaches down about 16 feet. Building this device was no small task, but the Romans were no amateurs. I had the pleasure of visiting Segovia again this May, and made a short video showing the structure as it stretches above the plaza below. Take a look:

The structure has been in use since it was built with a few interruptions and repairs. The Moors destroyed a piece of it, but it was subsequently rebuilt under the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. There are also accessory structures such as the “water house” that are part of the water system. These are less popular destinations but important to understand the thoroughness with which the Romans created their civilization.

I’ll have more photos and video about Segovia soon. It is an interesting city to visit and I hope to get there again.

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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