San Andrés Castle
San Andrés Castle, locally known as Castillo de San Andrés, lies in the center of the town of Carboneras in the province of Almería in Spain.
In 1559 Philip II of Spain handed the area to Marquess del Carpio with the mandate to build a castle there. The Marquess however choose not to build a castle directly.
After the Moors had lost in the Alpujarran Rebellion (1568-1571), which had included this area, they were expelled and the area was left seriously unpopulated. And because of the threat of Berber and Barbary pirates raiding the Andalusian coasts for goods and slaves, a string of watchtowers were built along the coast. When sighting a pirate ship the watchmen would alert the local towns; the woman and children would seek refuge and the men would rush to the coast to counterattack the pirates. Most towns however were situated to far from the coast for the men to prevent the pirates landing on the shore.
This was the main reason for the building of San Andrés Castle, almost next to the beach, by Don Diego de Haro. In 1577 it was finished. It was garrisoned by one captain and 27 soldiers, whose families were the first inhabitants of the village of Carboneras.
It was built as a square castle, around a courtyard, with round towers at 3 of its corners, one of which has disappeared, and a rectangular keep at the other corner.
In the following centuries the garrison lived a life of constant unease and vigilance, being frequently attacked by pirates. In 1764 officials ordered the building of more fortifications in the area to battle the pirates. San Andrés Castle was at that time garrisoned by one officer and 30 men.
In the early 20th century the castle was abandoned. Also the town was almost uninhabited due to economic emigration. In the mid-1970s the town began to get a new life but the castle had fallen to ruin. In the early 21st century San Andrés Castle was restored. It now houses a small regional museum.
At present San Andrés Castle can be visited for a fee. A nice simple castle in a sleepy town.