Countries<Spain<Comunidad Valenciana<Piles< Torre Vigía

Torre Vigía(Piles)

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In 1532 some Algerian ships were presented to Piles under the command of Ben Aydin, lieutenant of the famous pirate and king of Algiers, Kayredin-Arug, better known as barbaro-rubio II, making a landing. The assault was repelled by Francisco Gilabert i Centelles, Count of Oliva and the Duke of Gandía. On June 9, 1571, the baptized Moors of Piles and its surroundings tried to flee. To prevent these events from continuing to occur, in 1575, King Philip II commissioned the Viceroy of Valencia, Vespasiano Gonzaga i Colonna, to carry out a coastal defense study and in 1577 the Tower of Piles was built, under the supervision of the Viceroy himself, a prestigious military man and engineer of fortification works. It seems that the Italian engineer Giambatista Antonelli also collaborated in its design. Its defensive system was regulated by ordinances that were maintained during the 16th and 17th centuries. As a result of the previous one, during the 16th century there were about thirteen watchtowers and defense on the coast of the province of Valencia. They were, from north to south, those of Mardá, Grau de Murviedro, Puig, Grau de València, Saler, Gola del Perellonet, Cap de Cullera, Cullera, Tabernes, Xeraco, Grao de Gandía, Piles and Oliva. The last five belong to the region of La Safor. The site was the most strategic point in relation to the territory to be guarded and, in Piles, its construction was very difficult because it was a marshy land, where there was no stone. Since its construction, it was assigned the custody of 4 men of the Coast Guard, 2 from the street and 2 on horseback who alternated the guard and made signals to the other fortifications. In the 18th century, as the pirate threat was less, it was abandoned. In 1830 the musket corps of the kingdom was created, which was responsible for the coverage and fiscal surveillance of the coast in order to prevent smuggling, placing in it a place that took the official name of Torre de Piles. From him covered the terms of Pilas, Miramar, Bellreguard and Guardamar. The chief of the place lived in the tower and the rest of the endowment with their families, built houses in the vicinity, it is believed that these were the first huts. From then on, slight modifications were made to the interior: on the first floor a loft with wooden beams was built, which was accessed through a hole in the staircase and used as a bedroom, converting the cribs into cupboards and pantry closets. In 1940, when the musket corps merged with the Civil Guard, it was evicted. It is located next to the beach on flat ground and between the Tower of Oliva (of which a wall is preserved) and that of Grau de Gandia (now disappeared). It is built with limestone tartar and quicklime mortar with river gravel. It has a truncated shape crowned by a running machicolation supported by 28 corbels. This machicolation may be due to the need to extend the upper platform of the towers to be able to use artillery pieces that needed space to withdraw, according to the undated report of the engineer Juan Baptista Antonelli, preserved in the General Archive of Simancas. It has a diameter of ten meters and a total height of thirteen meters. The walls are 2.80 meters thick at the base and 1.60 meters thick at the top. It has two floors, the first floor, which was used as a stable. The second floor with a lar with fireplace, performed the functions of housing and the terrace which was accessed by a spiral staircase. At the top, a beam supported the roof that covered the southern half of the building.

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