Torre de Baños or Casasola (Casasola or Baths Tower)
• Period: Modern Age Edad Moderna (medieval Christian period): Islamic remains.
• Construction system: Masonry
• Style of architecture: Simple
• Architectural elements: Slender horseshoe-shaped layout, 2 levels, machicolation remains.
• Condition: Good state of repair
• History: As a result of the renovation undertaken in 1565 to make it more resistant, no artillery could be installed.
• Access to the Coastal Path: Yes
• Geolocation: 36º 27’ 42’’ N 5º 0’ 45’’ O
• Surroundings: The tower sits by the Atalaya Hotel gardens. Despite seeming to be public grounds, the area is not large enough for cultural activities. It is, however, only a few metres from the beach.
Evidence proves it to be a Muslim construction, for it is included in the list of castles and towers on the coast of Granada that was made under the rule of the Catholic Monarchs. Muslims must have kept watch from this tower over the western part of Marbella’s waters. Torre de Baños was, thus, an essential part of their defensive mechanism.
It is named after the Roman thermal baths located nearby. Its slender aspect and horseshoe shape turn it into a singular building. Featuring a limited surface area, some 5 m in diameter and a height of about 12 m, it would swing in the wind back in the day. Later corrections were implemented by adding a pyramid-shaped reinforcement to its base. It is the slenderest watchtower on the Andalusian coast.
Estepona’s 21-km coastline boasts seven watchtowers of Muslim and Castilian origin that now serve as evidence of a defence system that lasted until the 19th century. Following the Castilian conquest, Turkish and North African pirates raided the Andalusian coasts very frequently, capturing villagers to sell into slavery and looting properties. Hence, the people did not want to help repopulate the area. To combat such pirate landings, the Christians set up a defence system consisting of a series of shore-based towers that, when under enemy attack, would give warning by using smoke signals during the day and light signals at night. In Spanish, such kind of tower is called torre almenara, torre atalaya or torre vigía (watchtower). Estepona preserves six towers of Christian origin and one of Muslim origin.