Moorish Clock Tower of Guayaquil
If you choose to visit the beautiful country of Ecuador you will no doubt spend quite a bit of time in the country’s biggest city Guayaquil. Named after the legendary native chief and his wife who preferred to kill themselves rather than surrender to the invading Spaniards, this beautiful town has a rich history and great architecture. In fact it is now often referred to as the ‘Pacific Pearl’ – a reputation well deserved when you consider how beautiful and rich in culture Guayaquil is. Guayaquil has a number of great tourist attractions. The Moorish Clock Tower is one such attraction, but you might also consider visiting Bolívar Park, also known as the park of the iguanas, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Crystal Palace.
Although the tower itself is not as old as the clock it houses, the Moorish Clock Tower is beautiful to behold. The clock was imported from England using money that was loaned to the local municipality by Don Manuel Antonio Lizárraga – a rich Spanish merchant with the means and desire to do good for the people of his country. Initially the clock was housed in a small tower that was inaugurated in October in 1842. The inauguration came at a desperate time for the people of the town since they had just suffered the worst yellow fever epidemic that Guayaquil had ever seen. Still, the unveiling of the clock was greeted with open arms by the people of the city. In 1903 the decision was made to move the clock and its tower from the City Hall, which was slated for destruction, to the Town Hall. Unfortunately this meant that the clock’s toll could not be heard so clearly in the city which was important since the clock toll was not only used to indicate the hour but also the presence of pirate ships. Hence the decision was made to add on an additional two storeys to the tower. The addition to the tower was designed by N. Bordeline, an Italian engineer, and the three parts were to be made entirely of carved wood. Likely this tower was very beautiful but unfortunately it could not withstand the ravages of time and the washing of the waves which corroded the wooden base. Eventually the original tower and its many additions had to be completely demolished and a new tower was put up in its place.
Today the current tower is made almost entirely of brick and it is built in a beautiful Moorish style. It is situated right across the road from the beach and can be found near the elemental sculptures, the Guayaquil Yacht Club and the Naval Yacht Club. There is enough space for 120 cars to park as well as a security area, rest rooms and a first aid center.