Torre del Oro (Gold Tower)

The Torre del Oro (Gold Tower) is a military watchtower located by the Guadalquivir River and was constructed by the Moors during the Almohad dynasty, in the 13th century. Its purpose was to control access to the city from the river. There was a chain that was connected to another tower (no longer in existence) across the river and the chain could be pulled so that no enemy ships could pass through. During its time, the tower's dome was covered with tiles that were enameled in gold, so that is how the tower got its name. Another story is that when the New World sent its gold to Seville, the ships unloaded it next to this tower and may have stored it in the tower.

The tower is made of stone and is dodecagonal (has twelve sides) with a central staircase that is hexagonal. The walls have slits and windows to let in light. The crenellations on top of the tower are shaped like pyramids. There is a smaller tower made of brick on top of the bigger tower, and it also has twelve sides. This is topped with a lantern from 1760, constructed by Sebastian Vander Borcht. Today it is a Naval Museum.

The Naval Museum is a small museum that has models of some famous ships, such as the Santa Maria (used by Columbus when he discovered America), and the Juan Sebastian Elcano (used by Magellan when he tried to circumnavigate the globe). There are maps, engravings, letters, antique navigational instruments and historical documents. There is information about Seville’s naval history and the Guadalquivir River and the routes of various famous navigators. 

At the top of the tower, there is a viewing platform that has very good views of the river and the city.