Neogothic Art, XIX century, bunkers (WWII) and British Small Fort Remains (Independence War, XVIII century) and remains from the Saint Catalina Hill.

Built during the second decade of XX century, in the neo-renaissance style. It seems that, in old times and around XVI, there was a hermitage on the hill.

Nothing remains of the old hermitagein honour of Saint Catalina of Sienna, whose only graphic evidence is contained in a drawing made in 1567 by a Dutch painter.

Built on a hill washed by the waves of the Los Lances Beach and where the Papel River used to flow, the hermitage was formed by a sole and main nave and a small bell gable that announced its religious nature. A natural spring used to be nearby. As the old church council believed, the hermitage served as a leper hospital during the pest epidemic of XVII century.

In 1771, upon receipt of a gunpowder shipment from Barcelona, the hermitage was converted into a gunpowder storehouse. During the War of Independence in 1811, the hermitage was nearly destroyed, and in 1812 the British started the building of a small fort set amongst two cannons after they tore down the remains of the hermitage. These works were accomplished by the prisioners of Tarifa, who also undertook the excavation of a dry moat, 11 metres wide and 8 metres deep.

The British excavated a stronghold in the very same hill rock and they left a garrison, thereafter withdrawing to the island barracks. After the war, in 1813, the British left Tarifa.

In 1921, a semicircular battery was set facing the island as a defence from the sea.

In 1928, Saint Catalina hill was requested by the Marine Command so as to build a castle that would serve as a complement to the island’s lighthouse and which would houe the port’s stop light. The project was approved and the works were finished by 1933.

During the Civil War, in 1936, the castle was damaged, so repairs were undertaken in the 40s and 50s by means of bunkers and machine gun nests being set up in defence of potential attacks.

After serving as a residence for several families in Tarifa, Saint Catalina’s Castle was finally fitted out in 1972 for the purpose it had been originally built.

In 2000, the Marine weather observatory was transferred to another place and the castle remained uninhabited, thereby reverting to the property of the City Council.

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