Where did the name Torrevieja come from

Torre Vieja – we live in the shadow of the Old Tower

The name of every town and even our surnames have a genealogy. The origin of one word or another sometimes goes back many centuries. Some today sound funny, unbelievable, but legends are legends and you don’t argue with them.

We believe that Wars and Sawa created Warsaw. On the way to Częstochowa, the city disappears from our sight every so often, or “often hides”. Krakow took its name from Prince Krak or the Krak bird (at the time this was the name of the raven). But where did the name of the city of Torrevieja come from?

Torrevieja means “Old Tower.”

Just in this case, the explanation is the simplest possible. Literally translated, Torrevieja means ‘Old Tower’ (torre + vieja).

In this case, there is no point in going too much into the hitoria of Spain, but let us realise that until the 1500s, the Mediterranean was ruled by pirates from France, Italy or even distant England. Later, the Ottoman Empire held sway over Spain and pirates from Turkey and Algeria, known for their cruelty, appeared. No coastal settlement was safe and each was subject to looting, murder and the kidnapping of its inhabitants, who were later sold as slaves.

The next Spanish ruler, Philip III, decided to crack down on the invaders and expelled more than 500,000 Moors to Africa, but many of them decided to take revenge and joined the pirates. The king had no choice but to focus on the defensive insfrastructure of the coast. Dozens of defence towers were erected from the French border to Cadiz and became part of the network of fortifications already in place. One of these was the tower at Torrevieja.

The towers operated on a very simple principle. If enemy ships were spotted from one of them, a fire was lit, which in turn was spotted by the coastal defenders on the next tower. It is estimated that such a notification system was able to alert all posts from Cadiz to the French border within three hours. And this meant almost immediate readiness for military defence.

Until 1802, Torrevieja existed on the map of Spain only as a reconnaissance and defence tower and just a few huts manning it.

In 1803, King Charles IV signed a decree whereby it was the town of Torrevieja that was commissioned to oversee the extraction of salt in nearby La Mata, and it was then that the settlement began to grow.

In 1829, the town was destroyed by an earthquake. The historic tower also collapsed, but its then inhabitants rebuilt their homes, as well as the water reservoirs from which salt began to be extracted again.

In 1931, King Alfonso XIII granted Torrevieja municipal rights.

Today, the tower that gave the city its name no longer exists. But because its foundations existed, the city decided to restore the monument, today known as Torre del Moro on Avenida Alfred Nobel.

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