Cenizas Battery, locally known as Batería de (las) Cenizas, lies on a mountain above the sea, east of the town of Portmán in the province of Murcia in Spain.
WW I had resulted in huge technological advances, which rendered the defenses of Cartagena obsolete. Cartagena then already was the headquarters and main military port of the Spanish Navy. So in 1926 a Defense Plan called for the construction of a new defense system, compromising the building of tens of new fortifications around Cartagena, giving it full protection against attacks from sea and air.
This site actually consists of two batteries; the main Cenizas Battery and the Negrete anti aircraft battery just 100 meters west of it.
Cenizas Battery was built between 1930 and 1934 on a mountain, some 300 meters above sea level. It was an anti shipping battery armed with two massive Vickers 381 mm 45 caliber anti shipping guns. They had a reach of about 35 kilometers. The only other battery near Cartagena armed with these guns was Castillitos Battery to the west. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 Cenizas was fully operational and played an important role in keeping a Nationalist squadron away from the port of Cartagena.
Its peculiar main gate is built out of concrete and meant to represent white feathered serpents inspired by pre-Columbian American art.
Building of Negrete Battery started in 1930. It was the first anti aircraft battery to be built on the Cartagenean coast. It served to protect Cenizas Battery and the La Chapa Battery down below in the Portmán Bay. In 1931 its guns were placed; four Vickers 105 mm 45 caliber anti aircraft guns. They had a reach of around 13 kilometers. Firing tests were carried out in 1933. Although very active during the Spanish Civil War, two of its guns were removed and taken to other batteries in Sierra Gorda and Los Dolores to better protect the city of Cartagena. In 1952 the two remaining guns were also moved to Los Dolores, making Negrete inactive. It was subsequently integrated with Cenizas.
With the passing of time also the guns of Cenizas Battery became outdated and in 1994 the whole site was decommissioned. It was stripped and abandoned, leaving the two huge Vickers guns behind. After that the whole site fell to ruin. It is still owned by the Ministry of Defense.
At present Cenizas and Negrete Battery can freely be visited. The entire area around it is Natural Park. You will have to park a car down below, next to the road between Portmán and Los Belones, because cars are not allowed. The hike over the old military gravel road will take about 45 minutes but is surely worth it.