Seville City - City Walls and Gates

Seville city walls had 166 watchtowers and nine gates, the Torre de Oro can still be seen today. © Michelle Chaplow
Seville city walls had 166 watchtowers and nine gates, the Torre de Oro can still be seen today.

City Walls and Gates

As you arrive in the city, look out for remnants of ancient stone walls marooned in the centre of busy roads, plus an impressive, well-preserved 400-metre section in Macarena, near the Andalucian parliament building. These are the remains of the city walls, or murallas, dating from the 12th century - Seville was once the most strongly fortified city in Europe.

It was the Romans, probably under Julius Caesar, who constructed the first city defences. But the Almoravids, Moors who ruled Andalucia in the 11th and 12th centuries, were responsible for the simple but effective 6km-long walls. They were designed to defend the city against both enemy attacks and frequent floods from the river Guadalquivir.

The murallas had 166 watchtowers and nine gates, with a sentry path along the middle. Today only three gates remain: Puerta de Córdoba, Puerta Macarena and Postigo del Aceite, while towers you can see include the Torre de Oro (Golden Tower), by the river, the Torre de Plata (Silver Tower) and the Torre Blanca (White Tower).

Puerta de Córdoba is a typical Moorish horseshoe arch. St Hermenegildo was martyred there in 578 and his church is behind the gate.
Puerta Macarena, in front of the church of La Macarena, dates from the 2nd century AD. It was rebuilt after the Lisbon earthquake in the 18th century. Postigo del Aceite was where oil and fat entered the city. It was built in 1107 and reformed in 1573.

You'll notice other place names throughout the city where gates once stood: Puerto Osario (named after a cemetery), Puerta de la Carne (near a slaughterhouse), Puerta de Jerez (where the road to Jerez started; look for the inscription taken from the gate, in the corner of the plaza), Puerta de Carmona (named after the road to Carmona, also where the water channels from Carmona supplying the city arrived), Puerto Real (originally called Goles; latterly named after when either Felipe II or St Fernando entered the city), and Postigo de Carbon (c/Santander, related to the weighing of coal at the gate).