Built in the 16th century to defend against pirates and brigands

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San Gabriel Castle

A doughty fortress on an islet

The archipelago of the Canary Islands over its many centuries as part of Spain spent many of those centuries the subject of raids by pirates and slavers - French, English, Dutch, Portuguese, North African. This spurred the building of a number of defensive installations - which on Lanzarote is this Castillo de San Gabriel, built toward the end of the 16th century on an islet just off Arrecife. It was put to the test in 1586, when Barbary Coast pirates set it to the torch, and its current incarnation dates from its 18th-century rebuilding. It saw action in the Spanish-American War of 1898, when the cannons we see here today were installed. The fort is accessed via a bridge, the Puente de las Bolas (Bridge of Balls), and inside you'll find the Archaeological Museum.

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