The Castillo de San José (Castle of San José) is an historic fortress and art museum in Arrecife on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.
Built between 1776 and 1779 the fort was constructed to provide a defensive stronghold in case of pirate attacks, and as a public works project to provide much needed employment during a time of famine and poverty on the island. It became commonly known as the Fortress of Hunger (Fortaleza del hambre). The famine was caused by a number of factors including periods of drought, and the earlier eruption of Timanfaya between 1730 and 1736, which devastated most of the productive agricultural areas on the island. Charles III of Spain, who was concerned for the plight of the islanders, ordered that the fortress be built.
Situated on a cliff above the Port of Naos, the D shaped fort has semi-circular walls facing the sea. On the landward side, the rear wall is protected by two small turrets, with a moat crossed by a lifting drawbridge leading to the main gateway. The fortress is constructed of masonry and ashlar blocks of volcanic origin. The interior which is made up of barrel vaulted rooms was mainly used as a powder store.
International Museum of Contemporary Art
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