HERITAGE SURVEY AND SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS OF THE WATCHTOWERS THAT DEFENDED THE LAST ISLAMIC KINGDOM IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA (THIRTEEN TO FIFETEENTH CENTURY)
Keywords: New technologies applied to the Heritage documentation, Medieval military architecture, Dissemination and restoration, The Islamic Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, Watchtowers and defensive towers
Abstract. The Islamic Nasrid kingdom of Granada occupied the mountainous areas of the southeastern area of the Iberian Peninsula. There, a natural border was established between the Nasrid kingdom and the Christian kingdom of Castile from 1232 to 1492. To control this frontier and establish visual communication between it and the Nasrid center at the Alhambra citadel, an extensive network of watchtowers and defensive towers was constructed.
Studies have been done of individual towers, but no comparative study has been undertaken of all of them. Graphic, homogenous, and exhaustively planimetric documentation would bring together existing information on the majority of them and enable comparative analysis. For this reason, this work conducts systematic architectural surveys of all these military structures, using photogrammetry.
In addition to studying the construction typology and techniques, the structural capacity of these towers has been analyzed. It examines how they have been affected by human and natural destructive forces, especially earthquakes, which are common in eastern Andalusia. Although all the historical military architecture is protected by the Spanish and Andalusian Heritage laws, many of these medieval towers and their cultural landscapes are in severe risk.
The towers are being studied as individual specimens (emphasizing their differences) and as a unit in a typological group (looking for similarities and unifying characteristics). New technologies for Information and Communication are being used in order to disseminate the results among specialists and to make them available to the general public. Guidelines for restoration projects are also being formulated from the cases analyzed.