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Bertan > Bertan 18 Fortificaciones en Gipuzkoa: siglos XVI-XIX > Ingeles bertsioa: Holy Cross castle

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Holy Cross castle

41. Plans of the Holy Cross Castle in 1850:O) Main platform; A) First floor; B) Second floor.1-Holy Cross Chapel; 2-Northern access stairway to the castle; 3-Dining area; 4-Sentry box (in ruins); 5-Natural rock; 6-Underground accommodation; 7-Sentry box; 8-Main stairway; 9-Kitchen; 10-Corps de garde; 11-Artillery Barracks (first floor); 12-Infantry Barracks (first floor); 13-Lower cistern; 14-Latrines; 15-Banquette; 16-Sentry box; 17-Parapet; 18-Cannon emplacement; 19-Sergeants' quarters; 20-Duty officer's quarters; 21-Governor's quarters; 22-Orderlies; 23-Look-out post; 24-Officers' quarters; 25-Upper cistern; 26-Flagpole; 27-El Macho artillery platform; 28-Offices of the governor's assistants; 29-Kitchen; 30-Dungeon; 31-Stairs from gun platform to dungeon; 32-Natural rock; 33-Artillery barracks (second floor): 34-Infantry barracks (second floor).© Juan Antonio Sáez
41. Plans of the Holy Cross Castle in 1850:
O) Main platform;
A) First floor;
B) Second floor.1-Holy Cross Chapel;
2-Northern access stairway to the castle;
3-Dining area;
4-Sentry box (in ruins);
5-Natural rock;
6-Underground accommodation;
7-Sentry box;
8-Main stairway;
9-Kitchen;
10-Corps de garde;
11-Artillery Barracks (first floor);
12-Infantry Barracks (first floor);
13-Lower cistern;
14-Latrines;
15-Banquette;
16-Sentry box;
17-Parapet;
18-Cannon emplacement;
19-Sergeants' quarters;
20-Duty officer's quarters;
21-Governor's quarters;
22-Orderlies;
23-Look-out post;
24-Officers' quarters;
25-Upper cistern;
26-Flagpole;
27-El Macho artillery platform;
28-Offices of the governor's assistants;
29-Kitchen;
30-Dungeon;
31-Stairs from gun platform to dungeon;
32-Natural rock;
33-Artillery barracks (second floor):
34-Infantry barracks (second floor).© Juan Antonio Sáez

The fortification erected on Mount Urgull consisted of a main platform in the shape of an irregular nine-sided polygon, with access through two gates to the north and west and a door, each with its own staircase.

The platform is entirely surrounded by a parapet surmounted by a banquette (or tier from which the defenders could shoot). These each have twenty cannon emplacements. Two of the original three sentry boxes are still extant. The northern parapet contains the small chapel of the Holy Cross.

42. Holy Cross Castle. Aerial view. The ravelin and the northern entrance are in the foreground. In the background, on the left, the eastern entrance. In the centre, the 'Macho' on which stands the statue of Jesus.© Paisajes Españoles S.A.
42. Holy Cross Castle. Aerial view. The ravelin and the northern entrance are in the foreground. In the background, on the left, the eastern entrance. In the centre, the 'Macho' on which stands the statue of Jesus.© Paisajes Españoles S.A.
48. Mount Urgull. Present-day aerial view.© Paisajes Españoles S.A.
48. Mount Urgull. Present-day aerial view.© Paisajes Españoles S.A.
43. Holy Cross Castle. Eastern entrance from the upper platform of the Macho. A sentry box and bell post can be seen.© Gorka Agirre
43. Holy Cross Castle. Eastern entrance from the upper platform of the Macho. A sentry box and bell post can be seen.© Gorka Agirre
44. Bridge and base of sentry box at the eastern entrance to Holy Cross Castle.© Juan Antonio Sáez
44. Bridge and base of sentry box at the eastern entrance to Holy Cross Castle.© Juan Antonio Sáez

In the centre of the platform stands the "Macho" (abutment), a mediaeval fortification concealed by various sixteenth and seventeenth century reforms. It contains two vaulted rooms used in the nineteenth century as dungeons. Above these stood the premises of the governor and officers of the castle, together with a semicircular platform for artillery and an aljibe (a cistern for gathering rain water). The top level has since been altered with the addition of chapels and the erection of a monumental statue of Jesus (1950).

On the main platform, adjoining the Macho, there is a two-storey barracks (c. 18) formed by two perpendicular bays of different lengths with a small parade square at the intersection, with the mouth of the underlying cistern.

47. Principal fortifications on Mount Urgull:1-Bardocas Battery; 2-Bardocas Stores; 3-English Cemetery; 4-Shooting range; 5-Mirador Battery; 6-Sarmiento Platform; 7-Corps de garde; 8-Lower Prince's (or Governor's) Battery; 9-Upper Prince's (or Governor's) Battery; 10-St. Gabriel's Battery; 11-Holy Cross Castle; 12-Ravelin; 13-SW platform; 14-Napoleon Battery; 15-St. James' powder magazine; 16-St. James' bomb-proof barracks; 17-Queen's (or St. James') Battery); 18-Upper St. Claire's Battery; 19-Powder magazine (in ruins); 20-The Ladies' Battery; 21-Lower St. Claire Battery; 22-Bardocas spring; 23-Spanocchi wall.© Juan Antonio Sáez
47. Principal fortifications on Mount Urgull:
1-Bardocas Battery;
2-Bardocas Stores;
3-English Cemetery;
4-Shooting range;
5-Mirador Battery;
6-Sarmiento Platform;
7-Corps de garde;
8-Lower Prince's (or Governor's) Battery;
9-Upper Prince's (or Governor's) Battery;
10-St. Gabriel's Battery;
11-Holy Cross Castle;
12-Ravelin;
13-SW platform;
14-Napoleon Battery;
15-St. James' powder magazine;
16-St. James' bomb-proof barracks;
17-Queen's (or St. James') Battery);
18-Upper St. Claire's Battery;
19-Powder magazine (in ruins);
20-The Ladies' Battery;
21-Lower St. Claire Battery;
22-Bardocas spring;
23-Spanocchi wall.© Juan Antonio Sáez
45. Holy Cross Castle. Rim of the lower cistern.© Gorka Agirre
45. Holy Cross Castle. Rim of the lower cistern.© Gorka Agirre

The other fortifications on Mount Urgull consist of various buildings, walls (by Villaturiel and Spanocchi) and batteries along the sides, built at different times and armed, disarmed, abandoned or rehabilitated depending on the military needs of the time.

46. Vault in Holy Cross Castle. In the nineteenth century this area was used as a dungeon.© Gorka Agirre
46. Vault in Holy Cross Castle. In the nineteenth century this area was used as a dungeon.© Gorka Agirre
49. Model of the upper (Mount Urgull) and lower fortification of San Sebastian, showing the breach opened by English and Portuguese troops in 1813.© Gorka Agirre
49. Model of the upper (Mount Urgull) and lower fortification of San Sebastian, showing the breach opened by English and Portuguese troops in 1813.© Gorka Agirre

A number of batteries were erected at the base of the castle. These were the Prince's (or Governor's) Battery, The Queen's (or St. James') Battery, and Napoleon's Battery. The south-western platform, the magazine and St. James' Barracks (now in ruins) were also erected here. There are other constructions on lower levels: the batteries of the Upper and Lower St. Claire's Watchtower, The Ladies, St. Teresa, Bardocas, the Vine Shoot Platform; the shooting range, the stores and the Bardocas magazine (now demolished), etc.

50. Upper St. Claire's Battery, opposite the island of Santa Clara.© Juan Antonio Sáez
50. Upper St. Claire's Battery, opposite the island of Santa Clara.© Juan Antonio Sáez
51. Entrance to the Mount Urgull fortifications beneath the Mirador Battery (c. 18).© Juan Antonio Sáez
51. Entrance to the Mount Urgull fortifications beneath the Mirador Battery (c. 18).© Juan Antonio Sáez
52. Sentry box near St. James' powder magazine (1864) on Mount Urgull.© Juan Antonio Sáez
52. Sentry box near St. James' powder magazine (1864) on Mount Urgull.© Juan Antonio Sáez

The last two periods of fortification came with the abandonment of the lower walls in 1864 and the reinforcement of the coastal batteries during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Most of the barracks, guard posts, powder-stores, etc. still standing or in ruins date from this period.

The fortifications were bought by San Sebastian City Council in 1921 along with the rest of the hill, and partially demolished immediately thereafter. Important restoration work was carried out in 1963 and work was renewed on specific sections in the 1990s.

54. Las Damas Battery with its four 7.5 cm Saint-Chamond steel cannons (1897 model) which was to act as the final line of defence. The guns were formerly fitted with two large wheels.© Gorka Agirre
54. Las Damas Battery with its four 7.5 cm Saint-Chamond steel cannons (1897 model) which was to act as the final line of defence. The guns were formerly fitted with two large wheels.© Gorka Agirre
53. Las Damas Battery (Urgull) ca. 1898, armed with muzzle-loading 12-cm cannons.
53. Las Damas Battery (Urgull) ca. 1898, armed with muzzle-loading 12-cm cannons.
56. Bronze cannon (1576) in a gun emplacement in Holy Cross Castle, with banquettes on either side.© Juan Antonio Sáez
56. Bronze cannon (1576) in a gun emplacement in Holy Cross Castle, with banquettes on either side.© Juan Antonio Sáez
55. Lower Governor's Battery. Corps de garde (1866) and ramp to the Upper Battery.© Juan Antonio Sáez
55. Lower Governor's Battery. Corps de garde (1866) and ramp to the Upper Battery.© Juan Antonio Sáez
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