As you reach the Cap d’Or tower, via the footpaths that lead to it, it’s almost impossible not to think of the pirates and corsairs who once plagued this Alicante coastline. All the cliffs of the Marina Alta are home to caves and coves. Though these elements are of huge tourist attraction today, centuries ago they served as a shelter and landing place for looters and smugglers.
History of the Cap d’Or Watchtower
The Cap d’Or watchtower was the first construction of its kind to be built on this part of the coast, as it dates back to the 16th century. It was built upon the instructions of architect Antonelli who, in a report from 1563, suggested creating a line of watchtowers along this coast. The reason for this: high pirate activity, which prevented the consolidation of population centres.
The aim was to guarantee the area’s security and promote settlement because, as the historian Cavanilles noted, there were still no towns here in 1779. The area remained uninhabited even after the construction of the castle in 1742 to reinforce its defences. It was only from 1830, with the French conquest of Algiers, that a few settlements began to appear in Teulada; among them, the town of Moraira.
Characteristics and functioning of the Cap d’Or Tower
The Cap d’Or tower is shaped like a truncated cone. Its walls sit on a circular base, with a perimeter of 26 metres, and rise at a gradient to a height of 11 metres to reach the flat area above – the signalling and lookout area.
If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the construction is solid up to over half of its height, allowing it to resist any siege. Only one inhabitable room can be accessed from the outside, via a rope ladder. From there, a wooden staircase led to the lookout area on the terrace. This way, watchmen could carry out their duties without the risk of being overpowered by pirates.
The Cap d’Or tower in Moraira directly communicated with another two towers, those of Ifach and Granadella. A small control post was responsible for sending signals to these two watchtowers whenever threats were detected. They did so by setting fires on the roof. This was how inland villages – the real target of the Algerian corsairs’ pillaging – were warned.
Location and panoramic views from the Cap d’Or
The Cap d’Or is a rocky promontory over the coast of Moraira – a point that juts out over the land and into the sea. The Moraira Cap d’Or tower was built at its peak, at a height of more than 160 metres, right on the edge of the cliffs.
The views are spectacular from the viewpoint, spanning the entire coastline from Punta Estrella, to the south, to the island of El Descubridor, to the north, especially if you bring a good pair of binoculars. On very clear days, you can even make out the island of Ibiza.
Although the top of the tower is not accessible, you can look out over the bay of Moraira from the plateau. It’s quite possible that the two cannons found 40 years ago at the construction site were used to defend this port.
At the same height, and just a stone’s throw away, you can also find the remains of an Iberian settlement, as well as a water cistern constructed for this settlement and later used to supply the men of the tower’s control post.
The walk to its location is very pleasant and offers excellent panoramic views. Along the way, you’ll pass by the Cova de la Cendra, one of the largest Palaeolithic sites in the area. Not far away, you’ll find another cave, the Cova de les Rates Penades.
Hiking around the Cap d’Or Tower
From the very first minute, taking the beach path from El Portet in Moraira, you’re sure to enjoy this journey. Along the SL-CV 51 trail, you’ll discover various stone or wooden benches. As well as offering a place to rest, these were installed to operate as small viewpoints from which to recreate the view or take photos. During the walk, you’ll be able to admire the many cliffs between Benitatxell and Moraira.
And once you reach the promontory, you’ll begin to feel history overcome you. Your gaze immediately focuses on the impressive tower before moving directly to the sea, as if scanning the sails on the horizon. It’s then that you imagine the watchmen, on the tower’s terrace, lighting a bonfire or getting ready to aim the cannons towards the entrance of the bay.
Why visit Moraira and discover its history
The Cap d’Or tower in Moraira is one of those magical places, capable of bringing together nature, landscape, history and architecture to create a truly special atmosphere. Don’t hesitate to visit it during your holiday in Moraira. Plan your trip now and find your ideal accommodation here.