The Golden Tower, along with La Giralda Tower, are without a doubt
the two most important monuments in the city of Seville from the Muslim era.
It was built by the Almohad Governor Abud el Olá in the 13th century.
The Golden Tower ( Torre del Oro ) is located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river.
It was part of the defensive system of the city during the time of the Almohads, being one of the most important elements since it defended the port of Seville.La Torre del Oro, bastion for the defense of the River and Puente de Barcas(pontoon bridge), was linked to the other part of the river with a chain which was attached to another parallel tower on the right bank of the river;this served to close the port from possible invasions.
The Golden Tower was separated from the walled complex but linked through a wall to the Torre de la Plata(The Silver tower), which is located on the current Santander Street.
Located in a strategic place, which served to defend not only the port but also the Shipyards and the entrance to the historic city, Barrio del Arenal( The Arenal quarter) and the Alcazar( the Royal Palace).
Its name could come from the Arabic translation “Borg-al-dsayeb”.
There are several legends about why it is called Golden Tower ( Torre del Oro ).
Known by this name since its construction by the Almohads. Also called this way during the period of Alfonso XII. It is believed that it could be due to a decoration of tiles that were reflected in the water. Nowdays the tiles do not exist and there are no documents that can prove it neither. It has even been said that the name was because, since Seville was the main port after the discovery of America, the gold and silver that arrived was kept in this Tower.Well, both of these two stories are false.
The most convincing theory of the origin of the name is the mixture of lime and straw that gave it the yellow color and that was reflected in the water.
The Golden Tower ( Torre del Oro ) has a height of 36 meters. Divided into three bodies(parts). The first two and the oldest have twelve sides. The last body was added in 1760.
It has been restored on numerous occasions.
It has been used as a chapel, prison, gunpowder warehouse, port captain’s offices …
Since 1944 the interior of the Golden Tower (Torre del Oro) houses a Naval Museum. with 400 pieces from the Naval Museum of Madrid.
In 1992, Year of the Universal Exhibition, the Torre del Oro was twinned with the Torre de Belem in the city of Lisbon. Union that is still in force today.
One of the most notable curiosities of this Golden Tower is that t you can see it represented in the shields of Santander and Cantabria’s states. The explanation for their presence comes from the Reconquest of Seville. King Fernando III ordered Admiral Bonifaz to expel the Muslims from Seville.
This feat was carried out together with his Cantabrian sailors, breaking the thick chain that linked Seville with Triana and prevented the entrance to the city through the Guadalquivir. Making possible its reconquest and return to Christian hands
Such was the historical repercussion it had, that to remember it, on both shields (Cantabria and Seville’s states)there is a Tower that symbolizes the (Torre del Oro) Golden Tower.