On one of my recent strolls home from Goldenmac (computer service) in the neighborhood of Los Remedios followed by a stop at the Foreigners Office (travel papers) in the Plaza de España, I walked most of the way along the river. This walk took me past the Torre del Oro (the Tower of Gold), a beautiful historic landmark. The tower was built as a defensive lookout in 1220 by the Almohad Dynasty, the Moorish ruling dynasty of the time.
|HEADING NORTH WITH THE “SKYSCRAPER” ACROSS THE RIVER IN THE BACKGROUND.|
There was a companion tower across the river and a gigantic chain was said to be stretched between the two to prevent enemy ships from sailing upriver. That only lasted 28 years when, during the Reconquest, a powerful ship was able to break the chain and isolate Sevilla from Triana, which caused Sevilla to soon surrender to the Christian invaders (led by San Geraldo’s 22-Greats Grandfather Fernando III). Although I’ve read many times about the solitary chain said to be stretched from tower to tower, I’ve found information recently that explains it was really a string of boats. The boats were attached by a chain between the towers and used as a defense and, more importantly, as a bridge between Sevilla and Triana. Either way, it didn’t stop Great-Grandpa.
|LOOKING SOUTH AFTER PASSING THE TOWER ON MY WAY HOME.|
The narrower (but still 12-sided) top to the tower was added some time in the 1300s and the capped dome was added in 1760. The other tower is thought to have collapsed during the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 (more than 400km/250 miles away). The tsunami and fires that followed almost completely destroyed Lisbon.
|EARLIER IN THE DAY. CROSSING THE RIVER FROM LOS REMEDIOS.|
During the Middle Ages, the tower was used as a prison. There are a couple of different stories about how the tower got its name. But the most likely is the fact that the tower had a golden glow that reflected on the river. It is still said that the reason for the glow was because the tower was possibly originally covered with gilded ceramic tile. But, during restoration work in 2005, it was determined that the golden glow was produced by the mixture of lime mortar and straw. Another story often repeated is that the name came from the fact that the tower was used to store the precious metals
plundered, oops, I mean brought from the New World. But that appears to be another legend not based in fact (especially since the name in Arabic was Golden Tower long before Spain began to bring its plunder, I mean treasure (I don’t know what I could possibly be thinking), to Sevilla.
|STATUE IN MURILLO GARDENS TO MASTER PLUNDERER/EXPLORER CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.|
BACK TO SAN GERALDO’S HEAVENLY SINGING
As we settled ourselves into our seats this morning at our usual table at Emperador Trajano, San Geraldo beamed at me and said, “Listen to what’s playing!” Fred Astaire was singing “Heaven, I’m In Heaven.” But Fred wasn’t singing about Patatas Bravas.
San Geraldo began to sing quietly along, and he finished the phrase with what he thought were the correct lyrics “… When we’re out together dancing in the street.” I explained to him that the real words were, “When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek.” He told me it didn’t matter; he liked his original version better anyway — the one with patatas bravas.