Seville Snapshots: The Battle of the Towers

My life has been lived next to rivers. Every home I’ve ever known has been in a city where the river runs through it, so it was no question I had to find a place blocks from the Guadalquivir when I moved to Seville. From the Triana side of the city, the commanding skyline had very few blips, just the spires of churches, the Giralda tower and the Torre del Oro, where gold was kept during the New World Exploration. Nowadays, the tower hosts a small naval museum (with free entrance every Tuesday) and is a reference point for the city.

But that may all change.

Further up river, the construction of the Torre Pelli has the UNESCO up in arms. In fact, this skyscraper will effectively change the city skyline the way the setas did a few years ago, and the organization is threatening to put Seville on their blacklist and strip the Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias of their world heritage status. During a visit in January, the organization effectively called for the construction to be halted, and even at only half its height, it makes a statement.

Do you think skyscrapers are right for Seville or small Spanish cities? Many thanks to Fiona for her insight via the Andalucía Blog!

If you’re new here, check out my first entry in a series on photogenic Seville, which will be posted every Monday. If you’d like to participate with your photos from Spain and Seville, please send me an email at sunshineandsiestas @ with your name, short description of the photo, and any bio or links directing you back to your own blog, Facebook page or twitter. Don’t forget to follow Sunshine and Siestas on its new Facebook page!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. andiperullo says:

    Looks oh so lovely!

  2. Thanks for the tag, Cat. It’s the effect on the Giralda specifically which UNESCO is concerned about, as it is the city’s tallest building, and has been for the last 1000 or so years.
    Love your idea of the weekly Seville photo series! I wish I had more time for my own blog, but your upping your game on yours, which is looking really good, is certainly making me think I should sort mine out. Just can’t face the neccessary late nights!!

  3. why on earth are they even building a skyscraper there? who’s it for? I love Sevilla’s beautiful skyline without a big blip on it :( It’s not like andalucia doesn’t have enough available real estate.

    • Therein lies the problem – the tower is across the river and down a ways, but the argument is that it disturbs the peace with the Giralda as the tallest building. It will house offices for Cajasol, and I imagine the rest will be rented out to other businesses.

  4. Why do they have to make it so tall, and such a sore sight? And why THERE? These crazy “modern” architects have no respect for beauty (did I sound like an old fart just there?). Anyway, I hate any Spanish architecture that’s from the 80s onward, it’s all just blippy and gross, and it’s destroying all the pretty quaintness!!

  5. I love Seville exactly as it is. No more strange modern building are needed in this great city… at least not in the historical center. they can do a modern center, far away if they want… as I guess you cannot stop progress.

    • I agree, Laura. I’ve always liked strikingarchitecture but believe it has its place. I feel the tower is just too close to the city center (I would have been able to see it from ym blacony at my old place…talk about an eye sore!) Further North in La Cartuja would have been a wiser choice.

  6. Great pic! I hate the new construction and really think it should have been stopped. I can see it from my room, and seems to be getting taller and taller :(


  1. […] and Archivo de Indias, forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site (whose status was threatened by the controversial Torre Pelli recently). Life buzzes in these parts, from the public meeting point in Puerta Jerez to Plaza […]

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