The journey of the Tower of Hercules towards its declaration as a World Heritage Site began in March 1986 when MP and writer María Victoria Fernández-España, with the support of the Centro Gallego de Madrid, first requested that the Tower should be declared a World Heritage Site.
This idea was taken up in 1989, coinciding with the bicentennial of the restoration of the lighthouse by military engineer Eustaquio Giannini. The initiative had a considerable social impact, but it came to nothing.
In 2001 a new initiative came into being spearheaded by doctor José Vázquez Iglesias – better known as Manito – who, inspired by a deep love for the Tower and seduced by the exceptionality of the monument which so many times had been immortalised by his camera, decided to found the Instituto de Estudios Torre de Hércules to promote the candidacy of the Tower.
Around the Instituto, Vázquez Iglesias managed to bring together the main institutions of the city with the final objective of providing the social and institutional support necessary so that UNESCO acknowledged the Tower as an outstanding universal site and accepted its inscription in the World Heritage List.
The work of the Instituto under the direction of Vázquez Iglesias proved extraordinary and thanks to the funds of the institution several technical studies were financed which were part of an initial file submitted before the Xunta de Galicia and the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
The demise of doctor Vázquez Iglesias in June 2007 does not mean the end of the institute, which continued with its work under the direction of Segundo Pardo-Ciórraga y de Santos, its current president.