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Photograph of the Coastal Fortress taken from the northeast

Coastal Fortress Information

The Coastal Fortress is a square stone building of perfect North-South orientation, surrounded by a main enclosure wall measuring 51.5 meters on each side. The building is equipped with three-quarter-circular towers in the Northwest, Northeast and Southwest corners (the Southeast corner has been destroyed), as well as semi-cylindrical towers in the middle of each facade. On the middle on the East wall are two quarter-circular towers flanking the entrance of the fortress. The interior of this fortress was symmetrically laid out around a central square courtyard of fairly modest dimensions (12.5 x 12.5 meters). From the corners of this paved courtyard, walls divide the interior of the building into four architectural quadrants, separated by four circulation areas, shaped as cross-arms, and converging towards the central open space. Each of these quadrants appears as a dwelling ensemble set around an individual small square courtyard. The rigorous symmetry of the building layout is striking. The inner area of the Coastal fortress covers a total surface of ca. 2,260 square meters. This surface area is divided into approx. 1,900 sq. meters of originally roofed areas and approx. 360 sq. meters of open spaces (courtyards, cross-arms alleys), representing some 20% of the inner surface. The building structure reveals both its defensive and residential functions. The defensive function is essentially represented by the enclosure of the building. This construction, 2.35 meters thick, is transpierced by a line of loop holes with either simple or double embrasures (20 to 25 along each fa├žade). The entrance to the West was defended by two flanking towers; additionally, a security postern opening onto the beach was concealed at the base of the North tower. The fortress was protected on the South and Southeast (the inland side) by a dry moat 7 meters wide and more than 5 meters deep. The fort's residential function appears equally obvious. Its narrow entrance (1.5 meters) would not have allowed carts to enter, as well as its small courtyards that acted primarily as shafts for bringing in daylight and assuring proper ventilation, it seems the essential function of the fortress was to lodge a small garrison. With an interior surface around 2200 square meters it could accommodate roughly 50 soldiers. Archaeological research has centered on the construction of the dwellings (small courtyards with porticos, for example), confirming this monument's residential function: most likely the residence of an important personage on the island.



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