Seville City - Torre del Oro

The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) Seville© Michelle Chaplow
The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), dominates the banks of the river Guadalquivir © Michelle Chaplow (click to enlarge).

la torre del oro

The Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), which dominates the banks of the river Guadalquivir next to the Puente San Telmo, is a remnant of the Moorish fortified walls which originally enclosed the city, with 166 towers and 15 gates. A watchtower designed to protect the docks, its iconic shape makes it one of Seville's best-known monuments, after the Giralda which was built just a few years earlier.

The tower dates from 1220; the 12-sided lower part was built in stone by the Almohades (a Moorish dynasty) and was originally decorated with golden tiles, while the upper brick mini-tower was added in the 18th century.

During the invasion of the Americas, stories say that the tower was used to house gold plundered from the Mayans and Incas; some say this is where its name originates, rather than from the tiles which covered its outside and flashed in the sun, looking like gold,

Inside the tower is a naval museum over various floors, with flags, maps, scale models of ships, diving equipment and other maritime memorabilia, as well as portraits of illustrious naval figures and documents related to overseas discoveries.

Most interesting are the prints of Seville in the late 16th century, with the Arenal port area in its original sandy state (arena means sand); Triana with its castle - Castillo San Jorge, seat of the Inquisition; and the docks bustling with ships.

It's worth the climb to the top for spectacular views over the river, the Arenal and Triana, from the different levels of the mini-tower.

River cruises leave from right in front of the tower, with the boats docked at the foot at the building, and you can stroll along the cobbled riverfront, looking across the Guadalquivir to Triana - or ride a bike along the tree-lined cycle line.

You can also find bars along the riverfront at the street level (Paseo de Colon) near the Teatro Masestranza, as well as nearby in the Arenal, with its wine bars, gastro-tapas bars, and lively night-time scene.

 


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