Tower of Fraile
Pedro Gurriarán Daza, Salvador García Villalobos
This project is prepared in order to briefly report on those technical actions aimed at restoring and enhancing the watch tower known as Tower of Fraile, in Algeciras (Cádiz).
The design of the Tower of Fraile dates from 1588 and its state of conservation is very poor, to such an extent that in 2006 it lost a good part of its southeast side. The patrimonial value of this type of construction will be the main guarantee when talking about its conservation. Indeed, these towers constitute a valuable example of defensive architecture that, from the Middle Ages to the dawn of the Contemporary Age, have populated and characterized the coastline of the Gibralfar Strait and its outskirts. Specifically, this one that concerns us is one of the most interesting on the north bank of the Strait and, of course, one of the main elements of defensive architecture preserved in the municipality of Algeciras.
Unfortunately, and after losing their original purpose, these building types have gradually disappeared from our environment as a result of their progressive abandonment and destruction. Thus, it is intended to enhance and recover the architectural heritage that is characteristic of our geographical framework and that has, in these defensive works, an aspect of special interest. We must bear in mind that these constructions have reached our days in a worrying state of preservation, even reaching, in some cases, the partial collapse of some of them, as happened with this Tower of Fraile in recent times. Its consolidation and emergency restoration would serve to adequately complement the tourist-cultural offer of this area of the Cadiz coast, to which the environmental and landscape interest of the framework of the Natural Park of the Strait where it is located would contribute.
On the other hand, it is necessary to clarify how any type of action will not be limited exclusively to the work of technical consolidation of the property, but must properly propose its study from a historiographic and archaeological point of view, in order to know and interpret it adequately; that is, given the degree of deterioration that these towers present, and in order to obtain as many data as possible, it could be proposed to carry out some type of complementary archaeological intervention, such as paramental studies or prospecting in their immediate environment.