Bury al-Dahab. This is the name that the builders gave to the Tower of Gold when they built it back in 1220. You can get there by walking along the River Guadalquivir or strolling through the narrow streets of the old part of Seville. This second option has the advantage that you can stop to recharge your batteries in many places that you will find on your walk.
Either way, in the end, you will get to one of the few remains of what was once the Arab wall of Isibiliya, that is, Seville. As with almost all of the other walls in the cities in Europe, what happened was that in the nineteenth century the population grew and needed widening, sweeping away the old fortifications, which weren’t appreciated nor practical in those days.
A good theory holds that at its base an enormous chain was anchored which crossed the Guadalquivir River to block the passage to possible invaders. But with or without a chain, the idea was to defend the river, and do not think that the Arabs of the time lacked reasons to worry about that matter. Twice in the ninth century, from far away Northern lands, bloodthirsty men with yellow manes had arrived, and although their awful mess would be taken as a legend in the Seville of the thirteenth century, the Rumi army was a real danger.
Those Christians were getting closer and closer, and it would take towers, walls and helicopters full of missiles that were still to be invented, to stop their advance. It took just over a year to take the city which gives us an idea of how hard it was, but in 1248 it ended up being taken.
You might be wondering if that was when the tower began to be used as a gold store. Well, we are sorry to disappoint you… it was not then nor later, because the monument is not called like this for having saved any treasures, but from the golden reflections that gives when receiving the sunlight. The gold from the New World was, in fact, unloaded at the nearby Casa de la Moneda.
And to finish, we will tell you a couple of anecdotes. The first one is that in this building the extravagant Pedro I the Cruel ordered to build a small apartment for Aldonza Coronel. One of his many lovers, while keeping his wife locked up in a castle in Avila.
The second one is that during the eighteenth century, the tower almost disappeared, twice: once because of the Lisbon earthquake, and another because some Marquis decided that it would be great to knock it down so he wouldn’t have to take a diversion on his horse and carriage trips. A substantial and logical reason, we are not going to deny it. Good thing they didn’t give a damn about his complaint.