Curiosities

Curiosities

  • The Tower of Hercules is the only Roman lighthouse in the world that is still in use nowadays.
  • It is the only Roman lighthouse where it is known the name of the engineer-architect who constructed it: Caio Sevio Lupo, whose name was perpetuated, engraved in a commemorative inscription dedicated to the God Mars Augusto, at the foot of the tower.
  • Approximately 37,2 m. hight, the Tower of Hercules is one of the highest preserved buildings known from the Roman epoch, only comparable with works such as the Trajan's Column.
  • In 1858, Queen Isabel II, accompanied by her children, visited A Coruña and the lighthouse. For the occasion, according to Tettamancy, the interior of the building was "embellishment", covering the apparel of the interior walls with big linens of stamped paper and fabrics, and even installing blocks of transom on the ground floor and false roofs to conceal the vaults.
  • Giannini's restoration was considered to be one of the big accomplishments of Spanish engineering of that period, causing the government decide to present a model of the lighthouse in the Universal Exhibition of Paris of 1867 and of Vienna of 1873.

The link between the Tower and the Arts

The Tower of Hercules has left its imprint both in arts and in literature.

It is eorth to highlight the engravings of Luís Seoane, Urbano Lugris's worrying landscapes (always presided by the Tower) or the rather subjective views of Francisco Llorens, Francisco Fernández Moratinos, or Alejandro González Pascual, without forgetting the panoramas of Ferrant.

But, for sure, the artist who has given a freer and brisker version of the Tower has been Pablo Ruiz Picasso, who was still discovering the secrets of the painting during the years he lived close to his family in A Coruña. He made several oil paintings of the Tower and a drawing in which he transforms the monument into a "tower of candy".

The link between the Tower and Literature

The literary testimonies are of great interest, among which are worth to mention, Emilia Pardo Bazán's articles, the stories of Wenceslao Fernández Flórez, Linares Rivas'afterpieces, or the poems of Love Meilán and Emiliano Balas.

In this context, the lighthouse is the light pointing out the way and leading to the port, it is the image of return, of the happy nautical days, and for this reason it became a symbol, an icon that would become a part of the collective memory of our society.

Thus, when at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the transoceanic ships filled with Galician emigrants, set sail heading to Latin America from the port of A Coruña and lined up the estuary leading to the New World, they passed by the Tower. There, the speed of the steam engines was reduced and their sirens were wailed three times, in a bitter and emotive ritual of farewell.

For the men and women who, filled with hopes left their land dreaming of a brighter future, it was the last good-bye before the lighthouse, the symbol of the land they were leaving.

But these Galician emigrants, deeply rooted in the land in which they were born, took in their light baggage the image of the Tower of Hercules. And this Tower started to shine again strongly from the other end of the ocean thanks to the articles that the intellectuals published in magazines of the emigration. There are none of these magazines published between 1890 and 1960 does not contain an article dedicated to the Tower, in which the nostalgia ("morriña") and melancholy ("saudade") become evident.