History Podcasts

Serranos Towers

Serranos Towers

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos) are a duo of medieval defensive towers which once formed part of the city fortifications in Valencia, Spain. Begun in 1392, the purpose of the Serranos Towers was to help defend what was then the city’s most active gates.

From 1586, the Serranos Towers took on an entirely different function, this time as an aristocratic prison holding the likes of knights and noblemen. It would continue to be used as such until 1887, spared the destruction which befell the rest of the medieval walls.

Serranos Towers history

The late 14th and 15th century was a time of economic expansion in Valencia – known as the Valencian Golden Age. The towers were commissioned by the Valencian government as part of the 12 gates forming the ancient city’s defensive walls. Built by architect Pere Balaguer, the towers reflected inspiration from other Gothic gates with polygonal towers. Construction began in April 1392 on the site of an old gateway.

The fortifying tower walls were built with thick stone and were covered with a limestone cladding to distinguish the towers with a feeling of expense. A massive stone staircase was built leading to the first floor which expanded the building and heightened its purpose as welcoming visitors. The towers were finally completed in 1398.

While the principal purpose of the towers were to act as fortifications in case of siege or attack, the building was often used for ceremonies such as significant weddings and as a monitoring point for entry into Valencia. When one of the main prisons in Valencia was destroyed by fire in 1586, the towers were used to hold knights and nobility until the prison was moved to the Saint Austin monastery in 1887.

Throughout the Spanish Civil War, the works from the Prado Museum were kept safely in the Serranos Towers. Modifications were made to adapt the towers for this purpose in 1936, including reinforcing the first floor with concrete incase the towers were bombed. The concrete was covered in a 1 metre-deep layer of rice husk to cushion any impact followed by 1 metre of soil.

The towers were restored in the late 19th century.

Serranos Towers today

Today, the Serranos Towers in their magnificent condition are open for the public to visit. Climb to the top of the towers for a breathtaking view of Valencia. There is free entry on Sundays and public holidays otherwise entry costs 2€.

The Serranos Towers are also used for public ceremonies, particularly the opening of the Fallas St Joseph Festival each February – the gates a symbol for welcoming attendees to the celebrations.

Getting to the Serranos Towers

Situated in the heart of old Valencia along the Carrer del Comte de Trénor, the towers are best found on foot or via public transport. Buses 28, 95 and C1 on the red line and 115A, C, D, E, F and 120 on the yellow line stop beside the towers.

World Trade Center

The iconic twin towers of downtown Manhattan’s World Trade Center were a triumph of human imagination and will. Completed in 1973, the towers stood at 110 stories each, accommodating 50,000 workers and 200,000 daily visitors in 10 million square feet of space. They were the hub of the bustling Financial District, a top tourist attraction and a symbol of New York City’s𠄺nd America’s–steadfast devotion to progress and the future. On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center became the target of a massive terrorist attack that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. The disaster also radically altered the skyline of New York City, destroying the twin columns of glass and steel that over the years had come to embody the city itself.

Sleepy Hollow

During the 1920's and 1930's, Sleepy Hollow was a perfect weekend getaway from the fast pace of Los Angeles. By 1928, Sleepy Hollow was a summer resort with about 90 cabins, some of which are still in use today. After World War II, these cabins and newer dwellings became permanent residences.

Los Serranos Golf & Country Club

The Los Serranos Golf and Country Club, which opened in 1925, was also a favorite spot for city dwellers. Originally, members of the golf club could purchase small lots in the community. The club members would erect cabanas on their property, or rent casitas for a festive getaway. Today the course is owned by the family of tennis legend Jack Kramer, who passed away in 2009, and is still a favorite Chino Hills attraction.


The sculptures' armatures are constructed from steel rebar and Rodia's own concoction of a type of concrete, wrapped with wire mesh. The main supports are embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile, and glass. They are decorated with found objects, including bottles, ceramic tiles, seashells, figurines, mirrors, and much more. Rodia called the Towers "Nuestro Pueblo" ("our town" in Spanish). He built them with no special equipment or predetermined design, working alone with hand tools. Neighborhood children brought pieces of broken pottery to Rodia, and he also used damaged pieces from Malibu Potteries and CALCO (California Clay Products Company). Green glass includes recognizable soft drink bottles from the 1930s through 1950s, some still bearing the former logos of 7 Up, Squirt, Bubble Up, and Canada Dry blue glass appears to be from milk of magnesia bottles. [8]

Rodia bent much of the Towers' framework from scrap rebar, using nearby railroad tracks as a makeshift vise. Other items came from alongside the Pacific Electric Railway right-of-way between Watts and Wilmington. Rodia often walked the right-of-way all the way to Wilmington in search of material, a distance of nearly 20 miles (32 km).

In the summer of 1954, Rodia suffered a mild stroke. Shortly after the stroke, he fell off a tower. The fall was from a low height but at 75, he sensed the end. In 1955, Rodia quitclaimed his property to a neighbor and left, reportedly tired of battling with the City of Los Angeles for permits, and because he understood the possible consequences of his aging and being alone. He moved to Martinez, California, to be with his sister and never returned.

Rodia's bungalow inside the enclosure burned down as a result of an accident on the Fourth of July 1956, [9] and the City of Los Angeles condemned the structure and ordered it all to be destroyed. Actor Nicholas King and film editor William Cartwright visited the site in 1959, and purchased the property from Rodia's neighbor for $2,000 in order to preserve it. The City's decision to pursue expediting the demolition was still in force. The towers had already become famous and there was opposition from around the world. King, Cartwright, architects, artists, enthusiasts, academics, and community activists formed the Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts. The Committee negotiated with the city to allow for an engineering test to establish the safety of the structures and avoid their demolition. [8]

The test took place on October 10, 1959. [10] For the test, steel cable was attached to each tower and a crane was used to exert lateral force, all connected to a 'load-force' meter. The crane was unable to topple or even shift the towers with the forces applied, and the test was concluded when the crane experienced mechanical failure. Bud Goldstone and Edward Farrell were the engineer and architect leading the team. The stress test registered 10,000 lbs. The towers are anchored less than 2 feet (0.61 m) in the ground, and have been highlighted in architectural textbooks, and have changed the way some structures are designed for stability and endurance.

Conservation and damage Edit

The Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers preserved the site independently until 1975 when, for the purpose of guardianship, they partnered with the City of Los Angeles and then with the State of California in 1978. The Towers are operated by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and curated by the Watts Towers Arts Center/Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center, which grew out of the Youth Arts Classes established in the house structure more than 50 years ago.

In February 2011, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art received a grant from the James Irvine Foundation to scientifically assess and report on the condition of the Watts Towers, to continue to preserve the undisturbed structural integrity and composition of the aging works of art. [11] Weather and moisture caused pieces of tile and glass to become loose on the towers, which are conserved for reattachment in the ongoing restoration work. The structures suffered little from the 1994 Northridge earthquake in the region, with only a few pieces shaken loose. An extensive three-year restoration project by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art began in 2017 and suspends public tours within the site (tours outside of the fenced towers and sculptures are still available). [12]


There has been controversy about the real identity of the architect of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. For many years, the design was attributed to Guglielmo and Bonanno Pisano, [7] a well-known 12th-century resident artist of Pisa, known for his bronze casting, particularly in the Pisa Duomo. Pisano left Pisa in 1185 for Monreale, Sicily, only to come back and die in his home town. A piece of cast bearing his name was discovered at the foot of the tower in 1820, but this may be related to the bronze door in the façade of the cathedral that was destroyed in 1595. A 2001 study seems to indicate Diotisalvi was the original architect, due to the time of construction and affinity with other Diotisalvi works, notably the bell tower of San Nicola and the Baptistery, both in Pisa. [8] [ page needed ]

Column capital details on top level

wall relief details of animals

Construction of the tower occurred in three stages over 199 years. On 5 January 1172, Donna Berta di Bernardo, a widow and resident of the house of dell'Opera di Santa Maria, bequeathed sixty soldi to the Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marie. The sum was then used toward the purchase of a few stones which still form the base of the bell tower. [9] On 9 August 1173, the foundations of the tower were laid. [10] Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on 14 August of the same year during a period of military success and prosperity. This ground floor is a blind arcade articulated by engaged columns with classical Corinthian capitals. [ citation needed ] Nearly four centuries later Giorgio Vasari wrote: "Guglielmo, according to what is being said, in the year 1174, together with sculptor Bonanno, laid the foundations of the bell tower of the cathedral in Pisa". [11]

The tower began to sink after construction had progressed to the second floor in 1178. This was due to a mere three-metre foundation, set in weak, unstable subsoil, a design that was flawed from the beginning. Construction was subsequently halted for almost a century, as the Republic of Pisa was almost continually engaged in battles with Genoa, Lucca, and Florence. This allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. Otherwise, the tower would almost certainly have toppled. [12] On 27 December 1233, the worker Benenato, son of Gerardo Bottici, oversaw the continuation of the tower's construction. [13]

On 23 February 1260, Guido Speziale, son of Giovanni Pisano, was elected to oversee the building of the tower. [14] On 12 April 1264, the master builder Giovanni di Simone, architect of the Camposanto, and 23 workers went to the mountains close to Pisa to cut marble. The cut stones were given to Rainaldo Speziale, worker of St. Francesco. [15] In 1272, construction resumed under Di Simone. In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built upper floors with one side taller than the other. Because of this, the tower is curved. [16] Construction was halted again in 1284 when the Pisans were defeated by the Genoans in the Battle of Meloria. [10] [17]

The seventh floor was completed in 1319. [18] The bell-chamber was finally added in 1372. It was built by Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, who succeeded in harmonizing the Gothic elements of the belfry with the Romanesque style of the tower. [19] [20] There are seven bells, one for each note of the musical major scale. The largest one was installed in 1655. [12]

Between 1589 and 1592, [21] Galileo Galilei, who lived in Pisa at the time, is said to have dropped two cannonballs of different masses from the tower to demonstrate that their speed of descent was independent of their mass, in keeping with the law of free fall. The primary source for this is the biography Racconto istorico della vita di Galileo Galilei (Historical Account of the Life of Galileo Galilei), written by Galileo's pupil and secretary Vincenzo Viviani in 1654, but only published in 1717, long after his death. [22] [23]

During World War II, the Allies suspected that the Germans were using the tower as an observation post. Leon Weckstein, a U.S. Army sergeant sent to confirm the presence of German troops in the tower, was impressed by the beauty of the cathedral and its campanile, and thus refrained from ordering an artillery strike, sparing it from destruction. [24] [ page needed ] [25]

Numerous efforts have been made to restore the tower to a vertical orientation or at least keep it from falling over. Most of these efforts failed some worsened the tilt. On 27 February 1964, the government of Italy requested aid in preventing the tower from toppling. It was, however, considered important to retain the current tilt, due to the role that this element played in promoting the tourism industry of Pisa. [26]

Starting in 1993, 870 tonnes of lead counterweights were added, which straightened the tower slightly. [27]

The tower and the neighbouring cathedral, baptistery, and cemetery are included in the Piazza del Duomo UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was declared in 1987. [28]

The tower was closed to the public on 7 January 1990, [29] after more than two decades of stabilisation studies and spurred by the abrupt collapse of the Civic Tower of Pavia in 1989. [30] [31] The bells were removed to relieve some weight, and cables were cinched around the third level and anchored several hundred meters away. Apartments and houses in the path of a potential fall of the tower were vacated for safety. The selected method for preventing the collapse of the tower was to slightly reduce its tilt to a safer angle by soil removal 38 cubic metres (1,342 cubic feet) from underneath the raised end. The tower's tilt was reduced by 45 centimetres (17.7 inches), returning to its 1838 position. After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts, the tower was reopened to the public on 15 December 2001, and was declared stable for at least another 300 years. [27] In total, 70 metric tons (77 short tons) of soil were removed. [32]

After a phase (1990–2001) of structural strengthening, [33] the tower has been undergoing gradual surface restoration to repair visible damage, mostly corrosion and blackening. These are particularly pronounced due to the tower's age and its exposure to wind and rain. [34] In May 2008, engineers announced that the tower had been stabilized such that it had stopped moving for the first time in its history. They stated that it would be stable for at least 200 years. [32]

Brilliant Images of the Enormous German Flak Towers

Flak Towers were a major construct by the Germans during WWII. The Third Reich was renowned for its vast bunker construction during its time in power, setting the standard in defensive protective shelter designs for the future. They were no strangers to large scale structures that needed thousands of tons of raw materials to complete, but none more so than these enormous towers dotted around European cities.

These towers were designed to provide cities with a higher level of defence against air attacks from Allied bombers. Hitler ordered the construction of three of these monstrosities in Berlin after the RAF raid on the city in 1940. He had such personal involvement with their designs that he even produced sketches of them himself.

Major emphasis was placed on erecting them as fast as possible, going as far as disrupting the German national rail service so the raw materials could be delivered. This effort enabled the towers to be completed in just six months.

Building a flak tower [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J16840 CC-BY-SA 3.0] The towers were incredibly well armed and protected, with 3.5 meter thick walls that were resistant to all Allied ordnance available at the time. They even featured retractable radar dishes! The towers used a multi-level and multi-caliber arrangement of guns that could throw out 8,000 rounds per minute, although most of these were smaller 20 mm rounds. The guns could fire in a 360 degree arc, and many were even able to fire onto the ground below.

The most potent weapons on the flak towers were the suitably large 128 mm Flak 40 guns, which could easily reach the Allied bombers tens of thousands of feet above. Berlin’s three towers were placed in a triangular arrangement that provided the maximum protection of the city.

While their primary purpose was to provide a shield of anti-aircraft fire, they were also designed to act as a air-raid shelter for civilians. There was accommodation for 10,000 people, with stocks of food, water and other supplies, as well as a hospital. However, in practise the towers would provide protection for many more people, with up to 30,000 seeking refuge in one tower during the Battle of Berlin.

During this battle, the towers, which had already survived the relentless Allied bombing, were some of the last places to fall. The Soviets tried and failed to attack the towers with force, with even their largest 203 mm howitzers failing to bring them down. The guns on these towers were depressed to attack the Soviet forces below. The ‘Zoo Tower’ in Berlin provided brutal anti-tank fire against Soviet armor, covering the approach to the Reichstag building two kilometres away with its 128 mm guns.

Unable to destroy these structures, the Soviets eventually negotiated their surrender instead of a head on assault.

Two towers were built in Hamburg, with another three in Vienna.

After the war attempts were made to demolish the towers, but their incredible durability often made demolition unfeasible, and resulted in many being left, surviving to this day. Some were able to be destroyed successfully.

East Side of flak tower VI in Willemsborg

Flak tower Heiligengeistfeld in Hamburg

12,8-cm-Flak on a Flak tower.

Flak tower Humboldthain in Berlin

Flak tower Humboldthain, Berlin

Flak Tower In Ausgarten Vienna

Flak tower in Hamburg

Flak tower in Vienna

Flak Tower IV Hamburg Aerial photo 1945

Flak Tower IV in Hamburg

Flak Tower VI in Hamburg, Wilhelmsburg

Loading a Flak gun on top of a tower

The Berlin Zoo tower in May 1945

The L & G-Towers in Augarten, Vienna

Vienna tower

Vienna, flak bunker

West Side of tower VI in Willemsborg

Willemsborg cafe on top of the flak bunker

Aerial shot of the Ausgarten tower in Vienna

Alarm practice on a tower [Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-675-7942-02 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Arenberg

Augarten Flaktower Vienna, 1985

Augarten Flaktower

Ausgarten tower in Vienna, picture taken in 2008

Ausgarten tower in Vienna

Berlin tower [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1992-0513-502 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin tower with quad 20 mm FLAK guns [Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-649-5387-09A CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin Tiergarten (Zoo) tower in use as a hospital [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1997-0923-505 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin, blowing up the Zoo Tower [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S76934 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin, blowing up the Zoo Tower [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S76934 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin, blowing up the Zoo Tower [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S76936 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin, demolished tower at Friedrichshain [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-M1203-316 CC-BY-SA 3.0] Berlin, Flak guns on the Zoobunker [Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-0508-502 CC-BY-SA 3.0]

Berlin, Flak guns on the Zoobunker

[Test towers outside of the WBAP studio]

Photograph of two television towers and the WBAP studio. The studio is in the background of the image and there is a tower to the left of it. Another tower is in the foreground of the left side of the image and there is a travel trailer sitting next to it. There are wires coming down from each of these structures, which are located in a flat field with no trees.

Physical Description

1 photograph : negative, b&w 4 x 5 in.

Creation Information


This photograph is part of the collection entitled: KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection and was provided by the UNT Libraries Special Collections to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this photograph can be viewed below.

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this photograph or its content.


Rights Holder


Check out our Resources for Educators Site! We've identified this photograph as a primary source within our collections. Researchers, educators, and students may find this photograph useful in their work.

Provided By

UNT Libraries Special Collections

The Special Collections Department collects and preserves rare and unique materials including rare books, oral histories, university archives, historical manuscripts, maps, microfilm, photographs, art and artifacts. The department is located in UNT's Willis Library in the fourth floor Reading Room.

Contact Us

Descriptive information to help identify this photograph. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Portal.


  • Main Title: [Test towers outside of the WBAP studio]
  • Series Title:NBC News Photographs


Photograph of two television towers and the WBAP studio. The studio is in the background of the image and there is a tower to the left of it. Another tower is in the foreground of the left side of the image and there is a travel trailer sitting next to it. There are wires coming down from each of these structures, which are located in a flat field with no trees.


Serrano Water District (SWD) was established in 1876 and provides potable water to the City of Villa Park and a small portion of the City of Orange. SWD receives its water supply from local surface water which is stored in Irvine Lake and groundwater from three wells located within the City of Villa Park. SWD sells up to approximately 3,500 acre feet of water annually, to its residential customers.

The District provides water for a population of 6,500 covering approximately 4.7 square miles, serving primarily large lot single family homes and one shopping center. The District's service area is largely built out with an opportunity for a small amount of infill. Although a small district geographically, SWD provides a myriad of services, including managing a large recreation facility. SWD is one of a few water districts in Orange County that owns and operates a water treatment plant. This allows its service area an uninterrupted supply of water even during an emergency at an advantageous cost.

SWD has 43 miles of pipe, 3 wells, a treatment plant, and two reservoirs. The District owns 50% of Irvine Lake. Irvine Ranch Water District owns the other 50% of the facility. SWD also owns 25% of the native water in Irvine Lake and Irvine Ranch Water District owns the remaining 75%. SWD is the managing district for Irvine Lake.

SWD employs 10 full time employees.

Completed Tower, looking upstream Left to Right: Howard Walton, Don Smiley, DW Albert, Frank Collins, Mr. Evens, and Ray Carberry Facing Slab, looking West Spillway and Piers, Looking South

The basilica houses the shrine of the Virgen de los Desamparados, the patron saint of Valencia.

Built on the ruins of the Roman forum, construction of the basilica began 1652 and was continually added to over almost two centuries, with its final completion in1824. This long period of construction gives the building its unique blend of architectural style including Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo and Neoclassicism.

Our History

Bok Tower Gardens has offered some of Florida’s most remarkable experiences to more than 23 million visitors since 1929. Through its historic landscape gardens, unique Singing Tower carillon and magnificent 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, the Gardens offer unparalleled opportunities for artistic, cultural, personal and spiritual enrichment.

An Immigrant’s Inspiration

When Bok Tower Gardens founder Edward W. Bok immigrated to America from Den Helder, Netherlands at age six, he did not understand the language, customs or culture. Through determination and hard work, he became a highly successful publisher, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, respected humanitarian and an advocate of world peace and the environment. Bok’s grandmother told him to “make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it,” which he did throughout his lifetime – and it still guides our mission to this day.

During visits from their Pennsylvania residence to their winter retreat near Lake Wales, Florida, Mr. Bok became enchanted with the beauty and vistas from nearby Iron Mountain. At 295 feet above sea level, one of peninsular Florida’s highest points, Iron Mountain offered views of dramatic sunsets. Awed by the tranquility of the area, he wanted to create a place that would “touch the soul with its beauty and quiet,” and chose it as the perfect setting for a bird sanctuary. He purchased land to transform into a sweeping landscape of lush gardens featuring a majestic Singing Tower housing a 60-bell carillon. Originally called Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower, he presented this extraordinary gift to the American people Feb. 1, 1929 as an enduring token of his appreciation for the opportunities he had been given.

The Beginning of Edward Bok’s Garden

In 1921, Edward W. Bok was spending the winter months in the residential Mountain Lake community located adjacent to one of the highest hills on Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge, at 298 feet above sea level. He enjoyed taking evening walks to the top of “Iron Mountain,” among the virgin pines and sandhill scrub, to enjoy Florida’s dramatic sunsets and bird life. The idea came to him to preserve this hilltop and create a bird sanctuary – a place of beauty, serenity and peace.

Integral to Bok’s idea was the availability of a famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Having made arrangements to buy land on the hilltop, Bok commissioned Olmsted to change this arid sandhill into “a spot of beauty second to none in the country.” The first year was spent digging trenches and laying water pipes for irrigation, after which rich black soil was brought by the thousands of loads.

With the proper conditions for a subtropical garden in place, the planting of bushes and trees began to provide food for migrating birds. Today, these plantings provide shade to visitors as well as refuge for squirrels and 126 bird species.

Created to entice wildlife to take residence, the Reflection Pool gives visitors one of the most memorable experiences in the Gardens. Its location captures the reflection of the Singing Tower and offers the first image visitors have when entering the gardens.

Watch the video: Tiny Tour. Valencia Spain. Visit the Serranos Towers from 14th century. 2020 Jan (July 2022).


  1. Derik

    Wonderful, this is a funny thing

  2. Donatello

    And I ran into this. We can communicate on this theme.

  3. Muzuru

    I think, that you are mistaken. Let's discuss it. Write to me in PM.

  4. Bay

    Congratulations, very good thought

  5. Ayman

    It's regular conditionality

  6. Badu

    I fully share her point of view. In this nothing in there and I think this is a very good idea. Fully agree with her.

  7. Raedclyf

    This is overdone.

Write a message