Last updated on July 29th, 2023
Visit the Torre del Oro in Seville
The Torre del Oro has been watching over the waters of the river of Seville for 800 years (it dates back to the thirteenth century, Almohad period). It has witnessed the history of the city, including the departure and arrival of the Magellan and Elcano Expedition. It has been assigned to the Spanish Navy since 1870.
5 keys to the Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro was a defensive fortress for the surveillance of the entrance to Seville by the river.
The origin of its name is unclear. There are several theories.
It comes from Islamic Seville. It was an external tower to the walled complex.
Today it is a naval museum and a beautiful viewpoint of the river.
We recommend you see it from the river, with a boat trip on the Guadalquivir. Cruise ships depart below it.
Visit the Torre del Oro
The Torre del Oro is one of the most emblematic monuments of the city, a fantastic example of Islamic construction and one of the last buildings that the Almohads built in 1221 in Isbiliya, enlarged in 1369 by King Pedro I, and restored in 1760 with the construction of the third cylindrical body.
Located next to the river, Paseo del alcalde Marqués de Contadero.
It is an albarrana tower, separated from the walled complex but linked to it by a wall stretching as far as the so-called Torre de la Plata, a thirteenth-century octagonal tower located behind the Real Casa de la Moneda(Royal Mint) on Calle Santander. The Torre del Oro is located on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River, next to the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza.
The Torre del Oro was a fortification to protect the city’s entrance from the river. It has had many uses in history: watchtower, royal chapel, noblemen’s prison, gunpowder store, royal wharf, port captaincy and today it is a naval military museum.
Witness to trade with the Indies and Magellan’s voyage on the first round-the-world voyage. Its name comes from the shine of its tiles in the sunlight.
What the Torre del Oro is like
It is a tower formed by three bodies, made of stone ashlars with a height of 36 metres and a width of 15 metres.
The first body, dodecagonal, was built between 1220 and 1221 by order of the Almohad governor of Seville, Abù l-Ulà, a defensive tower linked to the wall by a rampart for the defence of the port and shipyards of Seville. The second body, also dodecagonal, was added by Pedro I the Cruel in the 14th century. The upper cylindrical body, topped by a dome, dates from 1760.
Origin of the name of the Torre del Oro
It was called the Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) from Almohad times. Despite this, there are several theories about the name of the building, although the most likely seems to be due to the tiled roof that shone in the sunlight. It may also be due to the fact that King Peter I kept treasures of gold and silver in the tower.
During restoration work in 2005, it was suggested that this gleam was due to a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed straw.
Uses of the Torre del Oro
Its original use was to defend the city and the port. It was later used as offices, a chapel, a prison and a refuge for the ladies courted by King Pedro I the Cruel, the best known being Doña Aldonza, sister of Doña María Coronel, who lived here, in the Torre del Oro.
It has been abandoned on several occasions on the verge of being lost and finally saved by the people of Seville.
In 1944 the Naval Museum was inaugurated inside, for which 400 pieces were taken from the Museo de Madrid.
The museum is distributed over two floors, with displays on the history of the tower and the port of Seville in Arab times, its importance in the reconquest of the city, the port as the gateway to the New World, the decline of the port and contemporary Seville.
The upper floor shows illustrious sailors, navigators, various antique navigational instruments and models of emblematic ships, as well as historical documents, engravings and nautical charts related to the discovery of America, the first voyage around the world, the port of Seville and the river Guadalquivir.
From the roof terrace, we can contemplate a magnificent panoramic view of the river, the historic centre of the city, dominated by the Cathedral, the Giralda and on the other side Triana.
Visits and activities
Paseo de Colón s/n Telephone: 954 22 24 19 Visiting hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 to 14.00 h. Sunday and holidays from 11.00 to 14.00 h. (check the official source) Prices: Adults: 3 euros, Children from 6 years old, accredited students and pensioners: 1.50 euros.