San Jose Tour

History [edit]

The first historian who gives news about the monument is Gaspar Escolano (1610). In the S. XVIII the first archaeologist of Alicante, Antonio de Valcárcel, Count of Lumiares, made excavations in the area. At the end of the s. XVIII, Alexandre de Laborde visits and describes the monument in his work Voyage Pittoresque et Historique de l’Espagne, published in 1806 and illustrated with splendid engravings of the monument, the work of François Dequevauviller.

Lorenzo Abad and Manuel Bendala published the first detailed study of the monument in 1985, and recently the first of them has published a revision and update of the same.3 According to these investigators was constructed towards the 2º quarter of the s. II d. C. These monuments used to be located next to the causeways, like all the Roman tombs. However, the Tower of Sant Josep is exceptional because it seems to have been erected not to be contemplated from a dirt road but from the main road of antiquity: the sea. In fact, it is located on a slope in front of coast, in the cove of the Towers, so that it stands out clearly in the landscape when sailing in front of her. It is the largest of the three turriform burial monuments of the best preserved Roman period of the Iberian peninsula, along with the Tower of Scipios (Tarragona) and Torre Ciega (Cartagena).

The year 2007 was very important in the history of the tower: the Villajoyosa City Council, within the urbanization of the area, undertook the demolition of the modern upper body built on the tower and the house annexed to the monument. Also excavations of the surroundings, and municipal property, were undertaken within the Villajoyosa Romana Project: from the Republic to Late Antiquity, developed by Vilamuseu (Municipal Section of Archeology, Ethnography and Museums) and the Archeology Area of ​​the University of Alicante, Under the co-direction of Lorenzo Abad, Sonia Gutiérrez and Ignacio Grau (University of Alicante), and Diego Ruiz, Amanda Marcos and Antonio Espinosa (Vilamuseu).

In 2011 the project for the restoration of the tower was resumed by the Directorate General of Heritage of the Valencian Government and the Villajoyosa Town Council. The original project, the work of the architect Santiago Varela, is being revised and adapted to recent discoveries and investigations, for an upcoming execution. In 2012, guided visits to the monument have begun, as well as recreation events with the collaboration of the Legio VIIII Hispanic recreation group of the Hispania Romana Association, to be put into value even before its restoration.

At present it is completely rebuilt.

Architectural features

It is a turriform monument (that is, in the form of a tower), of the so-called “closed edicula”, that is, that its interior had no access. It is built with rectangular blocks. It has a stepped base, on which, after a molding in straight cyma, the main body, which also has a rectangular section, is set, with the major axis oriented E-O. It is decorated with corner pilasters with its base, stem and simple Corinthian capital. The upper third probably dismounted in the s. XVI with the intention of taking advantage of the stone in the walls of Villajoyosa, although many sillares remained in its environs, and among them elements of all its parts, like a capital of corner; Fragments of architrave, frieze and cornice; And even a sillar with a rectangular recess frontal that could house a plaque with the inscription of the deceased. According to L. Abad and M. Bendala, the monument could be crowned by a pyramidium, or auction in the form of a pyramid, like many similar towers, although no remains are preserved. In the third row of the faces E and O of the monument there are two orifices with an inwardly inclined section, to make the libations (funeral offerings of liquids, especially wine) to the deceased.

The tower is very similar to that of Daimuz (Valencia), which was dismantled in the s. XIX.

The tower was declared well of cultural interest with its more recent name, Tower of Hercules, derived from the surname of one of its last proprietors. However, for centuries it was known as the Tower of Joseph and later this name was derived in the one of Sant Josep, by a sanctification of toponyms frequent in the popular culture when the explanation of the origin of a name is lost. It has been thought that Josep could be a former owner, although recently it has also been proposed that the proposal of Gaspar Escolano (1610) that the name of Josep derived from the one of Josa is not misleading, because in the Modern Age the Valencian name of Villajoyosa (Vila Joiosa) appears frequently contracted in the Vilajosa form, with which the old name could have been Tower of (Vila) Josa, and from there to the one of Sant Josep.

Apparently in the s. XIV, after the conquest by the Crown