Lighthouses of Spain: Melilla
A Spanish city on the north coast of Africa,
Melilla is in the northeastern corner of Morocco, near the Algerian
Melilla has been Spanish since 1497; along with the city of Ceuta,
it was one of the first -- and is now one of the last
-- European possessions on the African mainland.
Melilla has the status of an autonomous city within the Kingdom
of Spain. In addition to
the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, Spain administers as federal territories several small islands
of the Mediterranean near the coast of Morocco, known collectively as the plazas menores
(lesser places of sovereignty). All these territories are claimed by
The word for a lighthouse is faro in Spanish, but its use
is generally restricted to the larger coastal light stations. Smaller
lighthouses are called balizas (beacons). The navigational
lights in Spain are regulated at the national level by the Comisíon
de Faros, but they are operated and maintained in Melilla by the
port authority, the Autoridad
Portuaria de Melilla.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. ES numbers are from the Spanish national
list of lights, Libro de Faros. Admiralty
numbers are from volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights &
Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.
- General Sources
- Libro de Faros y Señales de Niebla
- Online edition of the official Spanish light list.
- Faros Españoles en el Norte de África
- Posted by the Melilla port authority, this article by Guillermo Jiménez Abellán discusses half a dozen Spanish lighthouses of North Africa, including several now in Morocco.
- Lighthouses in Melilla
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - Non-continental Spain
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Bonete Light, Melilla, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons
photo by Jose Cárceles
de Vélez de la Gomera Lighthouse
de Vélez de la Gomera
- 1899. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); three white flashes every
20 s. 6 m (20 ft) gray mast mounted on a short, square tower at one end of a 1-story stone
keeper's house. Pedro Garcia has a photo, another photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Peñón de Vélez de
la Gomera is a small island (connected to the coast by a sandbar since 1934) about 40 km
(25 mi) west of Al Hoceima. Spain has occupied the island since 1564. A small Spanish military garrison is based
on the island; there is an aerial
photo of the fortress. Located on the north side of the island. Accessible
only by boat. Site and tower closed (restricted military area). Operator: Autoridad Portuaria de Melilla.
ARLHS CEU-010; ES-72660; Admiralty E6788; NGA 22816.
Melilla City Lighthouses
- * Bonete
- 1918 (station established 1888). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft);
white light oculting twice every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) round stone tower
with lantern and gallery, rising from the front of a rectangular 2-story
stone keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted reddish stone; the
lantern is silvery metallic. A photo by Jose Cárceles is at the top of the page,
a fine closeup
and a second closeup
are available, Wikimedia has photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Bing has a satellite
view. This lighthouse is part of the historic bastion of Melilla;
it is perched on a massive stone foundation rising above the north
side of the harbor. Huelse also has a 1909 postcard view of the original
lighthouse; it was established by the military by adding a lantern to an existing watch tower. Site closed, but the lighthouse
can be viewed from nearby. Operator: Autoridad
Portuaria de Melilla. ARLHS CEU-011; ES-72900; Admiralty E6758; NGA 22736.
- Melilla Northeast Breakwater
- 1937. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); green flash every
4 s. 30 m (98 ft) hexagonal cylindrical stone tower with six stone
buttresses, lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted gray
stone; lantern is weathered green. A 1-story keeper's quarters encircles
the tower. The port authority's aerial photo is at right, a 2010 photo is available, Paco Mendoza has a sunset photo, Yeray Díaz Zbida has a view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite
view. Located at the end of the breakwater at the north end
of the harbor of Melilla. Site and tower closed. Operator: Autoridad
Portuaria de Melilla. ARLHS CEU-002; ES-72910; Admiralty E6762; NGA
Islas Chafarinas Lighthouse
Isabel II (Islas Chafarinas) (2)
- 1899 (station established 1884). Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft);
white flash every 7 s. 18 m (59 ft) round masonry tower with lantern
and gallery, rising from one side of a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse
painted white; lantern, gallery, and watch room painted green; house
painted green with white trim. An aerial photo is at right, C.W. Bash
has a 2007 photo
by Angel Ruiz Migens, Paco Lopez has a panoramic photo, a 2008 view
from the sea is available, and Bing has a satellite
view. The Islas
Chafarinas are three islands located about 3 km (2 mi) off Ra's
el Ma (Cap de l'Eau) at the eastern end of the Moroccan coast. There
are no permanent settlements, but since 1847 there has been a Spanish military
garrison on Isla Isabel II, the second largest of the islands. In
fact, the original light was established by the army on one of its
watchtowers; officers were impatient with the bureaucrats, who could
not decide what kind of lighthouse to build. Located on the northwestern
point of the island, about 48 km (30 mi) east of Melilla. Accessible
only by boat; there is a distant view from the beach at Ra's el Ma.
Site and tower closed (restricted military area). Operator: Autoridad
Portuaria de Melilla. ARLHS CEU-001; ES-73100; Admiralty E6754; NGA 22724.
Northeast Breakwater Light, Melilla
Portuaria de Melilla photo (no longer online)
Isla Isabel II Light
Autoridad Portuaria de Melilla photo (no longer online)
Information available on lost lighthouses:
de Alhucemas (1852-?). A historic photo is available (the lighthouse is the tower on the left). Established without authorization by the military garrison, the light was announced in 1853. It was later made official, and was still in service in the 1920s. Wikimedia has a 2007 photo by Miguel González Novo; it shows that the lighthouse tower has been removed. Bing has a satellite view. Peñón de Alhucemas is a fortified islet a short distance off the coast about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of the port of Al Hoceima (Alhucemas). Spain has occupied the island continuously since 1673.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Andalusia | South: Morocco Mediterranean
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Posted August 10, 2005. Checked and revised January 22, 2015.
Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.