TORRE DEL ORO Seville

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The Torre del Oro may be Seville’s “other” tower (the most important being the Giralda) but it has nonetheless become a symbol of the city. The 36m (118ft) tall tower was built in 1220 AD by the Muslim Moors and was part of a fortified wall that surrounded the entire city. With its commanding position next to the Guadalquivir River, it has been tasked with guarding the docks throughout the centuries. Today, the tower houses a small naval museum but most people visit simply to admire its beauty and to enjoy the spectacular views from the top.

OPENING TIMES

Monday to Friday: 9:30am to 6:45pm
Weekend: 10:30am to 6:45pm

PRICE

Adults: 3€
Students, children (6-14), pensioners: 1.5€
Free: children (0-6), disabled
* Free for everyone on Monday

ADDRESS

Paseo de Cristóbal Colón s/n, Sevilla

VIEW MAP
Torre del Oro & Guadalquivir river – Sevilla, Spain
Torre del Oro & Guadalquivir river

WHY IS IT CALLED THE TOWER OF GOLD?

There are many theories about where the name Torre del Oro comes from. The most popular idea is that treasure, especially gold, brought from the New World was stored in the tower. This theory doesn’t have any basis though since the tower was already referred to as the Torre del Oro by King Alfonso X in the 13th century. In addition, the Almohads who built the tower named it “Borg al-Dsayeb” which referred to its gold shine that was reflected in the river.

Previously, it was widely speculated that the tower was covered in gold tiles but restoration works conducted in 2005 discovered that this wasn’t the case. The restoration experts concluded that the walls were covered in a mixture of lime mortar and pressed straw, which gave the tower a slight golden hue.

Top of the Golden Tower – Sevilla, Spain
Top of the Golden Tower

TORRE DEL ORO HISTORY

The 12-sided Torre del Oro was built in three phases. Each phase is easily identified from the exterior’s three separate sections. The bottom section was built in 1220 by the Almohad dynasty of Muslim rulers. The tower was the stronghold of the city’s defense and especially important because it overlooked the port below. In the event of an invasion, a giant link chain could be drawn over the water extending to the other side of the river, preventing any unwanted ships from entering the city.

However, less than 30 years after the tower was built, Christian forces captured Seville. In the 14th century, King Peter of Castile ordered the second level of the tower to be constructed. Rumor has it, that the king’s mistress, doña Aldonza Coronel lived in the tower and was under constant guard so that another one of the king’s mistresses, María de Padilla, would not kill her.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Torre del Oro was witness to Seville’s golden age. The port that it guarded became the main connection point to the New World. Several important historic voyages set sail from the tower, including Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world.

Torre del Oro among palm trees in Seville, Spain
Torre del Oro among palm trees

Due to river flooding and several earthquakes, the tower was damaged and restored many times throughout history. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 almost destroyed the tower and there were even plans to completely demolish it. However, it was decided to restore the iconic tower and in 1760 the cylindrical third level with its golden cupola was added.

Throughout time the tower has been used for more than just a defensive barrier to the city. It’s been a chapel, gunpowder warehouse and even a prison for the nobility.

Torre del Oro in 1844 – Seville, Spain
Torre del Oro in 1844

NAVAL MUSEUM

The interior of the tower houses a small but interesting naval museum. The first floor has some history about the tower and a model of the “Real Fernando,” the first steam boat built in Spain. The second floor covers Spanish naval history and includes old maps, models of ships and other maritime memorabilia.

The highlight of the visit is the roof terrace that offers spectacular views of the river and the city.

Views of the Cathedral and the Giralda from the Torre del Oro – Seville, Spain
Views of the Cathedral and the Giralda from the Torre del Oro

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