Torre del Oro
Museum and Tower in Seville
The Torre del Oro, one of Seville’s most recognizable landmarks, means the gold tower because it was originally covered in golden tiles. It served in the defense of the city by being one of two anchor points for a large chain that would have been able to block the river. The other anchor-point has long since disappeared, possibly collapsing during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The Moorish fortified walls which originally enclosed the city had 166 towers and 15 gates.
It dominates the Guadalquivir river banks and it’s probably one of the most photographed sights of the city. Its iconic shape makes it one of Seville’s best-known monuments, after the Giralda which was built just a few years earlier. It’s worth the climb to the roof terrace for spectacular views over the river, the Arenal and Triana, from the different levels of the mini-tower.
The Torre de la Plata or Tower of Silver, is an octagonal tower, and is located nearby, and is believed to have been constructed during the same era.
The History of the Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro was built between 1220 and 1221 during the reign of the Taifa Kings – independent Muslim principalities of the Iberian Peninsula. The main body has a 12-side floor, whereas the upper part has a 6-side floor and was an addition of Pedro I of Castile. The circular top end was added at around 1760.
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.
What to see inside the Torre del Oro
Inside the tower is a naval museum which opened in 1944. It spans 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; Triana with its castle – Castillo de San Jorge, seat of the Inquisition; and the docks bustling with ships.
Outside the Torre del Oro
There are a number of river cruises which leave from right in front of the tower – the boats dock at the foot at the building. There is also a nice stroll along the cobbled riverfront, looking across the Guadalquivir to Triana.
You can also find bars along the riverfront at the street level on 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.
Other names of Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro has the following names: Gold tower.
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Visiting Torre del Oro
Monday – Friday: 9:30 AM to 6:45 PM
Weekend: 10:30 AM to 6:45 PM