Torre del Oro
Standing on the eastern bank of the Guadalquivir River is the Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), a military watchtower that was part of the fortified walls that once enclosed the city. The 12-sided structure was built in 1221 to protect the docks from attacks, and during the course of its long history has been a chapel, prison and gunpowder store. Today, Torre del Oro houses a maritime museum.
There is some debate about the origin of the name of the 118-feet (36-meter) tower. Some say it refers to the building’s reflection in the river, while others believe the name is from the precious metals that were stored within its walls.
Learn about Seville’s naval history and the importance of Guadalquivir River at the museum, which is spread out over two floors. Look at models of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus for his 1492 voyage to the New World, the Americas. See a replica of the Santa Maria, the ship that the Italian explorer captained.
Study portraits of great Spanish naval figures. Look at the 16th-century cannon and see navigation tools, flags, maps and documents related to the discovery of foreign lands.
Torre del Oro has three levels. The circular level at the top was built in the 18th century. Climb the spiral stairs to this level to enjoy elevated views of the river and city.
The tower and museum are open every day except Mondays and public holidays. Admission fees apply, with discounts for children between the ages of 6 and 14, pensioners and students. Children under 6 years of age and people with disabilities get in for free.
Torre del Oro is near the center of Seville on the Paseo de Cristóbal Colón and is close by several public transportation options. There is some metered parking within walking distance of the tower. While you are here, go for a stroll along the waterfront avenue, one of the most attractive thoroughfares in the city.