Santiponce Itálica

Heritage

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Herberos Tower

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Almohad watchtower integrated into Seville’s defences. It was built on the tell of the Iberian-Roman city of Orippo. Its foundations are made with ashlars taken from Roman ruins.

The old watchtower, built atop of a 12-metre hill, is in a derelict state. The entire northwest wall is missing. It was built on ashlars, probably taken from nearby Roman ruins, the corners of the walls, the vaults and the stairs are made of earth, mud and brick. It has a square plan (7.30 m), with the corners oriented to cardinal points. The bottom section is solid up to 3.80 m high. There is a 1.7-metre door at this height on the southwest side. The ground floor could be accessed through this door using a stepladder which would be removed subsequently, as was common in this type of towers.

This was primarily a military tower to watch out for ships approaching from both sides of the River Guadalquivir, as it was located at the eastern limb of the meander bend (Merlina meander, which disappeared when the river was diverted in 1795). Given its strategic location, it is likely that it was also used as a lighthouse for ships sailing on the River Guadalquivir. Indeed, the riverbed in this area has dangerous sandy shallows where ships could beach.

Inside, the tower consists of overlapping areas covered by a sail vault. Remains of the buttress that projected from the wall can still be seen. Embedded in the northwest wall are traces of the staircase from the second floor to the terrace, where part of the parapet remains. However, the battlements have entirely disappeared due to the poor state of conservation of that part of the tower.

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