At the beginning of the 16th century, the city of Logroño was a well-fortified enclosure as it was the main Castilian stronghold on the border with the Kingdom of Navarre. Along the city wall, the master stonemason Lope de Insturizaga built a drum-shaped artillery tower, El Cubo del Revellín, in the north-western corner between 1522 and 1524. Arranged on three levels inside the tower, there was a bailey and two shooting galleries with arrow slits used to defend a section of the city moat. Over the years, the wall disappeared and little remains today. The fascinating Cubo de Revellín is an exception and a must for tourists.
The ‘Cubo’ and surrounding area is the best-preserved part of the sixteenth-century walled city of Logroño. Undoubtedly, it is also where the strongest fortifications were built. Given its characteristics and when it was built, the Revellín tower is a good example of what scholars term a ‘transition-style fortification’, in other word, a fortified building with both medieval and modern features capable of withstanding cannonballs and ever more destructive weapons of warfare.
Over the centuries, the walls of Logroño fell into decay. However, some isolated sections have managed to survive. The best-preserved and most interesting part is the section that overlooks the Ebro River: the imposing artillery tower and the old city gate, adorned with the shield of Logroño and the coat of arms of Carlos V.
The exceptionally good state of conservation of the old tower and city gate is not only due to how well it was built – the quality of the construction was far superior to the rest of the old city wall – but to issues related to the expansion of the city in the 19th century. As the wall was under military jurisdiction, the city planners were obliged to develop and expand elsewhere, thus saving it from the ravages of the city’s turn-of-the-century building bonanza.
Farewell to the wall
Despite this apparent good fortune, the Cubo de Revellín Tower was not left completely unscathed. Once the adjacent section of city wall was demolished, a fronton court was built on its eastern side in 1884. In 1940, the fronton was turned into cinema. More egregiously again, in 1952, an apartment building was built on the tower structure. Its current aspect is the result of a refurbishment project undertaken by Logroño Town Hall in 2006. The former military building with an outstanding role in the history of Logroño is now a magnificent tourist attraction and witness to the importance of the city in days gone by.
Guided tours can be booked in advance by calling 941 503 116, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at the tower. Tours are also available in English and French.
All visits, including the guided tours, are free of charge.