A section of wall marks the site of the old castle near Plaza de la Axarquía in Torre del Mar / sur

Recovering the castle that gave Torre del Mar its name

Vélez-Málaga town hall plans to restore an empty private building in Calle Carrera de las Angustias to house an information centre

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

Torre del Mar wants to recover its historical origins; the Nasrid castle, of which there are hardly any archaeological remains but which gave the town its name. The old watchtower dates as far back as the tenth century when it was used as part of the Al-Andalus coastal defence system. In 1517 King Charles I ceded it to Vélez-Málaga for rebuilding and maintenance.

A contract to draft a plan for an information centre to be located in the building was awarded in May and the preliminary proposal, by the architect José Manuel López Osorio, was presented earlier this week. However, the timeframe for its execution is not yet known. As the building is privately owned, it will have to be acquired by the town hall before work can start.

"These studies have provided important information about the material and construction characteristics of the building, as well as its state of conservation, and have established the beginnings of the building and its different transformations and uses," said councillor Jesús Pérez Atencia earlier this week. He pointed out that "the historical-documental study has provided a great deal of information on the evolution of the building and its relationship with the Torre del Mar and a historical context.”

The building is made up of two sections. The main section is made up of two parallel bays with a façade facing Calle Carrera de las Angustias, and a second part is formed by a perpendicular bay with a façade facing Calle Angosta. The main section has two floors and is covered with a gabled roof, while the other part has a ground floor and a partially covered terrace with a sloping roof that connects it to the main building.

Characteristics

The house on Calle Carrera de las Angustias is one of the buildings built between Torre del Mar castle and what was the old road to Vélez-Málaga. Its position "requires that the historical analysis of this building be approached in two ways: the one corresponding to the building itself and the one corresponding to its history,” said Atencia.

The building has been used as a private house, although it has been uninhabited since 1997. Its private ownership means that no historical studies have been carried out and a large part of the documentation relating to its construction and the transformations it may have undergone is not known.

However, the history and evolution of the castle is covered in various scientific publications, ranging from the development of Torre del Mar itself to its role in the defence system of the coast of the Kingdom of Granada, especially from the time of the Reconquista of Vélez-Málaga in 1487.

The local Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura (society of friends of culture) has been calling for years for the creation of an information centre for the castle in order to provide information on the importance it had for coastal defence and the export of the area's products.