Golden Tower of Seville

Golden Tower of Seville

The Golden Tower of Seville is an important historical building located just to the left of the Guadalquivir River. It is also located in the current city of Seville, next to the Plaza de los Toros de la Maestranza. It has a height of 36 meters and its name refers directly to the golden shine that it acquires thanks to the brightness of the river. A place that, more than just for its brightness, stands out for the rich history it has to tell.

History of the Golden Tower of Seville

This tower in Seville began its construction on 30th of March 1220, and was designed to defend the then Almohade city. It was completed on February 1221 and turned out to be the most important point since it defended the port of the old city. It is worth mentioning that it was built by order of the then governor of Seville Abù l-Ulà and was part of the walls of Seville that defended the city and the Royal Alcazar.

From the time of the Almohade, this particular construction was already called as gold tower. Even though it may not seem like it, it has had several critical and decisive moments throughout history, one of them being the revolution of 1868, when these same revolutionaries took the canvases from the wall and demolished them and then put them on sale. Even so, the opposition of the people of Seville managed to prevent this tower from falling.

It has been restored several times, establishing in it in 1936, what is now the Maritime Museum. There, at present, there are several ancient navigation instruments and models worthy of being seen and admired. Its last restoration was in 2005, making this historic site of Seville something with much more history than can be memorized in a first attempt.

General characteristics of the Golden Tower of Seville

The tower is made up of three sections, the first of which is a dodecagonal one built in 1220 and 1221. The second part, on the other hand, is also dodecagonal in shape and was ordered to be built by Pedro I El Cruel around the fourteenth century. The last part, the upper, cylindrical in shape and finished in a golden dome, was finished in 1760 after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

A very interesting aspect of the tower is its foundation, which consists of a 5 meter thick lime concrete slab. It lies on a soft ground due to the proximity of the construction to the river, which forced the addition of pine wood to its foundation for greater consistency. However, this does not end here, since in 1760, after the restoration work due to the earthquake, the foundation was solidified right on the ground floor of the tower, which increases the foundation of the gold tower by 6 meters.

This means that the tower has a foundation of 11 meters.

Curiosities of the Golden Tower of Seville

The total height of the gold tower of Seville is 36 meters.

  • This kind of tower is known as the tower albarrana, which indicates that it is formed by a fortified enclosure.
  • The 13th of August 1992, this tower was twinned with the Belem tower in Lisbon in commemoration of the year of the Universal Exhibition in Seville.
  • This tower has to its credit some false legends that give mysticism to the whole tower. Among the most popular legends of the Tower of Gold are found:
  1. A thick, strong chain was laid from the ashlars’ base to the river bank, linking this tower to another tower in the same place, called the "Tower of the Fortress". In this way, the entrance to the port could be protected. This is totally false of course, since the second tower never existed.
  2. The name of the tower is due to the fact that there was a gold bullion warehouse in the tower, which was used to store gold ingots from America. This is false in its entirety since the gold and silver that came to this land was kept in the House of Contracting.

Curious no doubt

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