Torre del Oro through jacaranda...


Rego Park (New York), United States

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Thinking about Carmen I’ve been in a hurry to get in Seville but was stopped by purple explosions of jacaranda. These trees almost without leafs and scattered with tender-purple flowers were everywhere… It was a wonder I never seen before. Even the embankment of Guadalquivir river with world known Tore del Oro (Gold Tower) was slightly visible through the tangles of jacaranda. They say that jacaranda was found primarily in southeastern Brazil including the Paraná River valley, now spreads to different places of the world… but I saw this magic first time here in Seville…

The octagonal Moorish “Gold-Tower” was originally part of the town-walls along Guadalquivir river. Its name comes from the golden ceramic tiles which originally covered its front. The Torre del Oro was built by the Almohad dynasty as watchtower and defensive barrier on the river. A chain was strung through the water from the base of the tower to prevent boats from traveling into the river port.In the Christian epoch the tower served as seat of the marine’s administration. Today Torre de Oro is real symbol of Seville and used as Museum of Navigation.

Seville certainly is one of the most beautiful places in Spain, it’s more than 2,000 years old. The passage of the various civilizations, instrumental in its growth, has left the city a distinct personality. Although today Moorish influence is architectonically most evident – Andalusia was occupied by Moors for about 800 years – it has been a cultural center long before. Phoenicians and Carthaginians settled here. Later came Romans, like almost to any place in Europe, and two of their emperors, Trajan and Hadrian, in fact were born here. After successive conquests of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica by the Vandals and the Visigoths during the 5th and 6th centuries, the city was taken by the Moors in 712 and renamed Isbiliya, derived from Hispalis, from which the present name “Sevilla” is derived.

Seville was the home of famous and infamous figures of history and literature, the legendary Don Juan started from here to conquer the hearts of women across all Europe, while Columbus started from a port close to Seville to discover a New World – America, and of course Prosper Merimée’s Carmen was a worker in Seville’s old tobacco factory. By the way, this factory serves today as University… so education system is growing up…

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