Our Hotel MONTE CARMELO is in the Los Remedios neighbourhood, near to the Torre del Oro.
Next to La Giralda, the Torre del Oro is the second most emblematic tower in Seville.
There are several stories and legends about its name: from the golden tiles on its façade which shone like gold; because King Peter the Cruel kept his treasure there; or because the tower was used to store coins from America.
In fact, its Arabic name possibly refers to its golden reflection in the river. During restoration works in 2005 it was shown that this shine was due to a mixture of lime mortar and pressed straw.
The Torre del Oro is a three-part construction. The first dates from the Almohad era, and was built between 1220 and 1221. The construction of the second part is not clear, but all evidence points to it being from the same era. The cylindrical finish with the golden dome was added in 1760 following the Lisbon earthquake by the military engineer Sebastian van der Borcht, who also built the Real Fábrica de Tabacos de Sevilla (now the main building of the University of Seville).
The Torre del Oro was a watchtower (separate from the defensive walls) which was joined to the nearby Torre de la Plata in what is now Calle Santander by a section of wall which blocked access to El Arenal and formed part of the ramparts which defended the Alcázar of Seville. It was a tower of great importance as it defended the port of Seville.
Another common legend is that the Torre del Oro was joined to another similar tower on the opposite bank of the river in Triana by a large chain to stop ships from passing. There is no record of this and even Alfonso X the Wise in his chronicles only mentions a chain that joined a group of barges, which were used as a bridge joining Seville and Triana near Castillo de San Jorge.
The Torre del Oro is depicted on the coat of arms of Cantabria due to the contribution of Asturian and Cantabrian sailors, who, sent in their squadron by admiral Bonifaz at the service of the Castilian navy, managed to destroy the bridge which joined both banks of the Guadalquivir river while King Ferdinand III of Castile besieged the city. This historic feat has also been immortalised in the coats of arms of Avilés and the Four Cities of Cantabria: Laredo, Castro Urdiales, Santander and San Vicente de la Barquera.
The Torre del Oro has experienced many ups and downs throughout its history, and has been on the brink of demolition on many occasions, saved from this fate by the people of Seville.
It has undergone various restorations, the latest in 2005.
It currently houses the Naval Museum and contains historical documents, engravings and naval charts which relate Seville to the river Guadalquivir and the sea.
The Torre del Oro is a 10-minute walk from the hotel Monte Carmelo. It is worth visiting for its history and the contents of its museum, and is a good starting point for visiting El Arenal and its historical remnants.