Torre del Oro

Seville, Spain

The Torre del Oro ('Tower of Gold') is a dodecagonal military watchtower erected by the Almohad Caliphate in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river.

Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed hay).

The tower is divided into three levels, the first level, dodecagonal, was built in 1220 by order of the Almohad governor of Seville, Abù l-Ulà; As for the second level, of only 8 meters, also dodecagonal, was built by Peter of Castile in the fourteenth century, a hypothesis that has been confirmed by archaeological studies; The third and uppermost being circular in shape was added after the previous third level, Almohad, was damaged by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Rebuilding of the third level was made by Brusselian military engineer Sebastian Van der Borcht in 1760.

The Torre de la Plata, an octagonal tower, is located nearby, and is believed to have been constructed during the same era.

The tower was badly damaged by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, and the Marquis of Monte Real proposed demolishing it to widen the way for horse-drawn coaches and straighten access to the bridge of Triana; however, the people of Seville objected and appealed to the king, who intervened. In 1760, the damage was repaired, with repairs to the bottom floor of the tower, reinforcement with rubble and mortar, and the creation of a new main access via the passageway to the path around the wall. That same year, the upper cylindrical body was built, a work of the military engineer Sebastian Van der Borcht, also architect of the Royal Tobacco Factory of Seville. These works changed the appearance of the tower as compared to what is seen in engravings from the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.

The Revolution of 1868 brought another crisis to the tower as revolutionaries demolished the decorative facing of the walls and put it up for sale. Opposition from the citizens of Seville kept the tower from being destroyed, and in 1900 it was again restored, this time by engineer Carlos Halcón. On April 10, 1923, King Alfonso XIII visited the tower, and on March 21, 1936 the Maritime Museum was installed in the Tower by order of the Admiralty. In September 1942, more restoration work began. The appearance of the facade was improved, two floors were set up for museum display, and the third floor was prepared to house researchers. The museum held its grand opening on July 24, 1944, for which occasion 400 museum pieces were brought from the Naval Museum of Madrid.

On August 13, 1992, the Torre del Oro was made a brother to the Tower of Belem of Lisbon to celebrate the Universal Exposition in Seville. As of 2008 the museum displayed a variety of old navigational instruments and models, as well as historical documents, engravings, and nautical charts, relating Seville to the Guadalquivir River and the sea. The tower was again restored in 2005.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jamie Lee (2 years ago)
Great tour with a very knowledgeable and friendly guide. I dont support the slaughter of 100s of innocent animals in the name of sport. The stadium however is impressive and has a lot of history. It evokes the barbarian / gladiatorial arenas of our Roman ancestors and the tour gives you a good history lesson on how bull fighting came about so is worth a visit.
dan ruget (2 years ago)
Cool place! It costs only 3 Euros to visit (for an adult) and it also includes a small naval museum. Very nice views from the top. Definitely worth it. The visit would take around 30 minutes.
Sandra Cerdeira (2 years ago)
Good price for the view and an exhibition inside. It's worth the effort, but the top of the tower is interdict so you can only reach the level below. But for the price I would recommend it.
Ian Pearce (2 years ago)
A few steps to get to the top but great views. Easy to find down by the river. 21 bus from railway station stops right outside. Lovely river to walk along. Great restaurants. Well worth a visit.
Andrea Massoud (2 years ago)
Very organized as museum, shop and tour. We loved the architecture and mixture of Byzantine and Catholic Spanish styles and the great t view of the city. The naval Spanish history is well portrayed there through maps and miniatures and historical facts . We loved it all
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