Torre del Oro

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The Torre del Oro.

The Torre del Oro (English: "Gold Tower") is a dodecagonal military watchtower in Seville, southern Spain, built by the Almohad dynasty 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, with the third and uppermost being circular in shape and added in 1769. The Torre de la Plata, an octagonal tower, is nearby and is believed to be built in the same era.

Military function[edit]

Top of the tower at sunset.

It is one of two anchor points for a large chain that would have been able to block the river. The other anchor-point has since been demolished or disappeared, possibly from collapsing during the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. The chain was used in the city's defense against the Castilian fleet under Ramón de Bonifaz in 1248 Reconquista. Bonifaz broke the river defenses and isolated Seville from Triana. The besieged Muslim city soon surrendered to the Christian forces.

Historical role[edit]

Torre del Oro by night

At one point in the last two centuries the tower was fairly damaged after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and its demolition was suggested to widen an adjacent road, but this idea faced a strong opposition from the locals and was dropped.

Today the tower, having been restored, is a naval museum containing engravings, letters, models, instruments and historic documents. The museum outlines the naval history of Seville and the importance of its river.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°22′56.79″N 5°59′47.28″W / 37.3824417°N 5.9964667°W / 37.3824417; -5.9964667