Torre del Oro Golden Tower Seville Attractions

For all the gold chasers out there, you are in luck. There is a tower of gold in Seville, Spain. Joking aside, tere is no gold anywhere on this lovely tower, but its sight by day and night is worth the time while you are visiting. It is a very interesting piece of architecture as it combines various geometric shapes in one. The main part is dodecagonal or twelve-sided, while the top is circular. One can only divine as to the purpose of twelve sides, but the Torre del Oro was part of a trio of towers built for defensive reasons in the XIIIth Century by the Almohad dynasty after they conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the late XIIth Century.

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The name "Oro", which traslates to gold originated from the fact that the structure was once covered in gold tiles. Sadly these no longer exist, as they were either stolen, destroyed or lost. It stands overlooking the Guadalquivir River close to the spot where boat tours of the city can be taken. Located near the Puerta de Jerez, the tower is an awesome sight. It has had a lively history, as there were a few attempts made to tear it down. The tower was restored in the late XIXth Century as the Nautical Museum displaying drawings and maps of the port of Seville.

Picture of the tower from the river with a river cruise boat

This was one of a trio of towers. They was this one, the Silver tower, which is octagonal, has turrets and is covered in ornamental bricks and the Abdelaziz. Sadly, the last of these no longer exists. The Almohads built them all to protect harbour. The Torre del Oro itself, was completed in 1220. A chain was placed between the Abdelaziz and Oro towers to prevent ships moving upstream. A very simple and effective form of defence. Haveing said this, in 1248, the Spaniards under the command of Admiral Ramon de Bonifaz broke it. This enabled King Ferdinand III of Castile to capture Seville. His military victories over the Moors completed most of the "Reconquista" of Andalucia, except for Granada.

The Torre del Oro has 3 levels. Each one is unique. The top circular level is the most recent addition having been built in 1760. The second middle one is hexagonal and is separated into rectangular apartments carefully decorated with arches. As to the lower one, three sections topped by groin vaulting can be seen defined by the kind of windows each one has.

The new rulers of Seville were not quite sure what to do with the tower. They used it as a prison, chapel or gunpowder store. It was partially restored during the XIVth Century. A more intriguing purpose, which might help us understand the name, was that gold imported from the Americas was left here for storage.
Picture of torro del oro when returning from a boat trip

By the XVIth Century, the tower was falling apart, so thoughts were given as to repairs, but sadly, the massive 1755 earthquake in Lisbon was felt in Seville and the tower was damaged. This event greatly motivated city officials to act by repairing it as well as adding the top level. Despite all this expense, plans were soon laid out to destroy it to make way for a wider road, but a respect for history among the locals saved the tower from that fate. In 1868, the city put the tower for sale as scrap, but local intervention saved it again. Discussions were soon held as to its future role and an agreement was reached for it to be the home of the new Naval Museum.

When lit at night, the Torre del Oro is simply beautiful. A gold-like sheen covers it. Make sure you stay at least a night in Seville, grab a seat and sit near it.

A walk down the river up to the tower is a pleasent way to spend a relaxing moment.

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