San Julián Fort
San Julián Fort, locally known as Castillo de San Julián, 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, 293 meter high, San Julián Mountain was first fortified in 1706 during the War of Spanish Succession. At that time a cilindrical tower was built here by the English Admiral John Leake, who then occupied the city.
After the end of the war in 1715, the building of the present fort started, incorporating the English tower. San Julián Fort was not yet finished when it was already reformed between 1861 and 1883. It was built in the style of eclectic Neoclassicism according to the principles of the Frenchified Spanish School. It is essentialy a bastioned fort although it also has elements which are typical of polygonal forts. Its function was to guard the entrance to the city's harbour.
Two notable events happened at the fort at the end of the 19th century. In 1886 San Julián Fort was in the hands of Republican rebels. They killed the military governor Luis Fajardo when he approached the rebels for negotiations. And in 1898 a powder magazine in the fort exploded, killing 10 soldiers.
During the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's the fort was used as a military prison.
At present San Julián Fort is freely accessible. It is now used by a telephone company hence the antennas on the tower. You can walk around in the courtyard and on the walls but not enter any building. A very nice fort, I especially like the old entrance. Too bad the interiors of the buildings are not accessible but the views over the city, the bay and sea really make up for that. You can reach the fort by car but the road is bad.