Watchtower


Watchtower is a term that derives from the Arabic word “aṭṭaláya” whose meaning is a watchtower, referring to a high-rise fortification, whose main use was focused on the military branch, since said fortification served as a shelter for those individuals to Those who were designated to carry out surveillance over the areas adjacent to the watchtower, in order to prevent their allies from the presence of enemy troops in that place, that is, their main function was to prevent a surprise attack.

Throughout history these structures have been very useful, especially in times of war, a clear example of this is demonstrated when the Arabs and Christians maintained a warlike conflict in the Iberian Peninsula, the watchtowers being one of the fundamental tools for provide protection to the different territories, which were located in merely strategic areas surrounding a city or town. In the event that there was an alert, those in charge of surveillance used different forms of communication, to be able to send the alert message to the allied troops, using smoke signals, with torches, among others.

Later its use expanded to other sectors, since there are prisons where these watchtowers were installed, but unlike those used on the battlefield, the surveillance had to be focused inside the site, in order to avoid that the prisoners managed to escape from there. With the passage of time and the emergence of new technologies, the use of watchtowers was relegated. One of the most emblematic watchtowers is that of Valmojado, which is located at a height that exceeds 600 meters above sea level, built in the 15th century.

Similarly, other uses for the term indicate that a watchtower is any site that has a strategic location, in order to provide a unique view, that is, elevated areas such as mountains can be taken as watchtowers. In the religious sphere, the term is used to refer to prophets who were God’s emissary in order to guide man on the right path.