Atalaya Fort, locally known as Castillo de la Atalaya, lies on a mountain next to the city of Cartagena in the province of Murcia in Spain.
Cartagena was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal the Fair. It was built at the site of a natural harbour. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports of Spain. During the 18th century the city was heavily fortified which resulted in the building of lots of forts and batteries on the hills and mountains around the harbour. At present the city is still the headquarters and main military port, also for submarines, of the Spanish Navy and it possesses a large military shipyard.
The, 242 meter high, mountain on which Atalaya Fort was built, was already used as a lookout post by the city of Cartagena since the Middle Ages. Hence the name 'Atalaya', which means 'watch post' in Arabic.
Atalaya Fort is a trapezoidal fort which was built between 1766 and 1777 by the Croatian military engineer Mateo Wodopich. It was designed by the military engineer Pedro Martín-Paredes Cermeño in the style of eclectic Neoclassicism according to the principles of the Frenchified Spanish School. It had to guard the plains around the city and watch for enemy landings. It faces Galeras Fort on the next hill to the south. It was considered very strong because of its elevated position and bombproof architecture.
In 1873-74, during the Cantonal Revolution (an anarchistic uprising against the First Spanish Republic), the fort was in the hands of cantonalistic rebels. It was besieged and finally fell on January 10, 1874, ending the revolution.
Until the 1960's Atalaya Fort was military terrain. After that is was abandoned and fell to ruin.
At present Atalaya Fort is freely accessible. The fort can not be reached by car, so you'll have to make a ca. 30 minute walk, following the old deteriorated military road. A very nice fort offering beautiful views over the surrounding area. I did see evidence that the interior of the fort was used as a hideout by vagabonds, so be careful.