An Evening by Gold Tower
Before it finally says bye for the day, the setting Sun makes sure that the river water turns golden. Its reflecting golden rays are doing magic to it. Looks like thousands of gold fishes make a bed just beneath the water surface. The river water is calm and I see a few racing boats paddling rigorously and a cruising ship. Not very far from the tower, San Telmo Palace is glowing to its glory.
I am at a riverside restaurant by the River Guadalquivir in Seville overlooking the Gold Tower. A gentle breeze caresses my face fondly, while it soothes the mood to a romantic one.
The Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold) is a historic watchtower that was built in thirteenth century. Located close to the city’s historic center, at a wide promenade near the river bank, it is one of Seville’s most photographed landmarks.
The tower is a legacy of the Almohades, a Moorish dynasty that controlled much of Southern Spain until the Christians reconquered it. After this re-conquest, the tower was first used as a chapel dedicated to St. Isidore of Seville and later it became a prison. The cupola shaped top of the tower was added later in 1760.
The tower was part of the city’s last wall of defense that ran from the Alcázar Palace to the river. It acted as a watchtower and was linked to an octagonal tower, the Torre de la Plata or Silver Tower, on the other side of the river. At that time it used to control access to the city’s port. A large heavy chain connected the two towers. When the chain was raised, it would block all ships from entering the city of Seville.
San Telmo Palace.
There are many theories for its intriguing name – Tower of Gold. Probably it came from the gleam of gilded ceramic tiles that originally decorated the outer surface of the tower and Sun’s reflection off them onto the water. Another explanation was that the gold that was unloaded and traded here during the time that Seville had the monopoly over the trade with the New World.
One more interesting story associates the Gold Tower with the hair color of a beautiful damsel who King Don Pedro locked up in the tower while her husband was away at war. 🙂
Seville at night…. by the River Guadalquivir
After the reconquest of Seville, the twelve sided tower was used as a prison. Legend says that it was even used as a shelter for the mistress of King Pedro I. Later the tower was used for a number of different purposes and today the Gold Tower is home to a naval museum which has a collection related to the city’s rich maritime history and its connection with the New World. It also displays the importance of the Guadalquivir River and the paths of numerous famous navigators.
As the evening set in, I am lost in the beauty of it, gazing at the golden water and promising myself another evening here.
Do you also feel so? 🙂
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