Lighthouses of Spain: Coast of Morocco
Spain includes two cities and several additional outposts on the north coast of Morocco. Ceuta is in the
north of Morocco, directly opposite Gibraltar. The city was
occupied by Portugal in 1415, but it has been under Spanish control
since Portugal and Spain separated in 1640. Melilla is in the northeastern corner of Morocco, near the Algerian
Melilla has been Spanish since 1497. The two cities were the first -- and are now the last
-- European possessions on the African mainland.
Ceuta and Melilla have the status of autonomous cities within the Kingdom
of Spain. In addition to
the two cities, 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 the responsibility of the national port authority, Puertos del Estado, but most of them are operated and maintained by regional port authorities. In Melilla they are operated by 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.
- Lighthouses in Melilla
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - Non-continental Spain
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Online List of Lights - Morocco Mediterranean
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Bonete Light, Melilla, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons
photo by Jose Cárceles
- Ceuta City Lighthouse
- * Punta Almina
- 1855 (extensively rebuilt 1919). Active; focal plane 148 m (486
ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical
masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's
house. 2nd order Henry-Lepaute Fresnel lens (1919). Entire lighthouse
painted white. Fog siren (two blasts every 45 s) located 200 m (220
yd) northeast at the tip of the point. The lantern was installed
during a major renovation in 1919; it is not clear if this renovation
was a reconstruction or a repair of the original lighthouse. A photo
appears at right, Javier Rivera has a good photo,
a German-language site has good photos of the lens, Trabas has a distant view by Capt. Peter Mosselberger, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite view. Punta Almina is the point of land in Africa directly
opposite the Rock of Gibraltar, so this lighthouse marks the south
side of the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Strait
of Gibraltar. Located at the northeastern point of the Isla de
Santa Catarina, although the island has long been connected to
the mainland by fill. Ceuta is accessible by ferry from Algeciras on the north side of the Strait of Gibraltar. Site
open, tower closed. Operator: Autoridad
Portuaria de Ceuta. ARLHS CEU-007; ES-20620; Admiralty D2482; NGA 22840.
Punta Almina Light, Ceuta, May 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by BSD-46
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 continuously 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, Juan Pascual Sánchez has a 2016 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. A portion of a panoramic photo by Paco Lopez is at right, C.W. Bash
has a 2007 photo by Angel Ruiz Migens, Sheila Geary has a 2008 view from the sea, 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.
Isla Isabel II Light, Islas Chafarinas, November 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Paco Lopez
Information available on lost lighthouses:
de Alhucemas (1852-?). Established without authorization by the military garrison, the light was announced in 1853. Shown from a watch tower, 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 December 24, 2016.
Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.