Rayo Tower, locally known as Torre del Rayo, lies on a mountain next to the sea, north of the town of Carboneras in the province of Almería in Spain.
Ever since the Turkish settlement in Algiers in 1516, the entire coast of the Spanish Mediterranean was threatened by attacks of Barbary pirates who landed on the coast and ravaged and looted towns and rural settlements, taking away the inhabitants as slaves. So, in 1552, during the reign of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, lots of defensive watch towers were started being built along the coast, from Alicante down to Cádiz. Most however were built or completed during the reign of his son, Philip II of Spain, during the second half of the 16th century.
Rayo Tower was first mentioned in 1497. So it probably is of Arab origin. During the 16th century it was restored and incorporated in the chain of towers for coastal defense. It is a small tower, solid for the first two third part and with a small habitat on the second floor level. It was manned by 2 guards. In 1525 there were already difficulties in finding guards to work here, because of the danger of death or capture during countless incursions of the pirates, landing in the deserted area of the cove of Carbonera. The danger grew so much that in 1540 the tower was abandoned because no new guards, willing to work here, could be found. This left the area an impassable point for Christians.
In the mid-19th century Rayo Tower was used by the Carabineros Corps to look out for smugglers. In 1941 it was owned by the Guardia Civil.
At present Rayo Tower can freely be visited. A simple tower but on a nice location.