Torre del Oro, Seville
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The Torre del Oro in Seville

 

The Torre del Oro in the city of Seville was constructed at the end of the reign of the Taifa Kings in the first half of the 13th century. Today there is still a dispute over why it was called the Tower of Gold. Maybe it was because it was covered in golden tiles that reflected the sun or maybe it was because it was the emblem of the port where all the gold from the Americas was unloaded.

The tower is one of three in the south side of the city where the city wall linked the Alcazar to the river.

   

The tower served as an observation post and had the important job of sealing the entrance to the port by means of a thick chain that was slung across the river and attached to another tower on the other side, this tower has since disappeared. This is the chain that the sailors of the Ramon Bonifaz of the Reconquest fleet had to break in 1248.

The tower is dodecagonal in shape and is divided into three levels, the top level which is circular was added in 1760. The second level has a hexagonal ground plan and is built of brick. It has rectangular sections decorated with curvilinear rhombi and blind arches. On the lower body of the tower, three levels are superimposed, topped by groin vaulting. Lobed blind arcades with twin windows separate the intermediate level from the bottom level.

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In the 16th century the tower was in ruins and required important restructuring. The tower was also badly damaged in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and in 1760 when the top level was added, the repairs were undertaken. Shortly after this, the tower was in threat of demolition to make way for the widening of the road. Thankfuly it was saved by strong opposition by the people of Seville. In 1868 the tower was put up for sale as scrap but again the people saved it. In the 14th century people gave the tower more respect and restored it to a glorious state. Over the centuries the tower has been a prison and a chapel, and later a gunpowder store. Today it houses the city's naval Museum.

The two other towers in this set of three are the Abdelaziz Tower, a small construction named after the Muslim Prince and said to be the place for the first Christian flag to be flown during the Reconquest, and the Silver Tower dating from the 13th century. This was the last construction built for defence purposes by the Arabs in Seville. It is of octagonal shape and has hooded turrets and ornamental brick footings.

 

 
 
 
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