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“The surprise of the holiday”
Review of Camara Oscura

Camara Oscura
Ranked #56 of 298 things to do in Seville
Certificate of Excellence
Type: Other
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed April 12, 2014

The tower is easily accessed by a lift and then a brief flight of stairs which can be a bit daunting as the stairs are mesh so you can see to the bottom.
You are given about 10 mins to wander around the 360 degree narrow walkway outside to take in the views before the real treat begins.
A periscope in the roof captures everything in real time and projects the image on to a concave, horizontal screen (about waist height). The clarity of the images are top class. You certainly get a different view of the city - washing on roof tops, workmen on buildings, roof top terraces and pools etc. and up to 8km away!
The very friendly guide spoke perfect English and went into great detail as to what we were viewing and its location in the city.
Absolutely loved it!
We had great food at the cafe afterwards.

4  Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 - 60 of 225 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2014

A bit off the beaten path, but worth a cab or bus ride. Something unique and enjoyable. The gentleman who runs it has infectious enthusiasm for what he is doing and is quite amusing. The presentation is in Spanish, but he speaks slowly and with gestures, etc. even a person with rudimentary knowledge will be fine -- plus he translates words/phrases into English when asked.

2  Thank penbelwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2014

This is a unique experience. From the outside the Camara Oscura looks like any other tall tower you'd see in European cities. And there is a fenced-in observatory that provides a view of the entire city. What makes it unique, however, is the use of a "periscope" like device at the very top of the tower than projects an image onto a large dish. The operator controls the periscope and you see multiple views of the city in all directions -- close up and personal. It's very different and fun to experience. Because it's in Macarena, the views are not as breathtaking as from Giralda Tower which is right in the midst of the historic city center -- but it's well worth the visit. It's a 30-minute walk from Triana.

3  Thank Philmf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

Because we like seeing the 'off tourist' areas of Spain, we tend to stay at the Melia Hotel that is out of the city centre, in the slightly scruffy but very real and fascinating Macarena district of Seville, around the Macarena church and its staggeringly beautiful interior and statue of Mary. (It is one of their TRYP groups of hotels, that are both excellent and offer good deals).
We love to sample the cafes and bars and restaurants we pass on our twenty minute walk from there, in and out of the city. All very local and incredibly friendly and well priced.
We have now learned a reasonable amount of Spanish which has made our approach more and more satisfying over the years (though it has taken us a typically British number of years to do).
On our last long weekend trip we decided to go up the tower – with its camera oscura advert on its wall - that is just up the road from the hotel, on our way down to the river.
We have passed it a few times, but going up any tower has never been high on our priority list, and we could not understand what the 'camera' thing was all about.
On Sunday though we needed to kill an hour before lunch and decided to take a look. On arrival we still were not persuaded, because nothing we saw at the old brick tower sticking up around 50/150 /yards/feet in the air with a wire fenced ledge, actually told us what is would be. and there was absolutely no indication that it would be breathtaking because of what was on the INSIDE..
My wife knew she had read good reviews about it, and so semi-reluctantly we gave it a go.
What a revelation, on a Susan Boyle scale!
The 4€ per head is paid at an adjacent cafe, and the 'camera' is shown at one hour intervals, leaving us with 20 minutes to wait.
A chap behind the door let us in and told us, in part Spanish/part English, to go a look at the view at the top whilst we waited.
At the top is a small room where all its incoming light can be extinguished, which has a door out to the caged in walkway around the outside, which is what it ‘says on the tin’.
A high place to look down on Seville, worth around 5 minutes, and a place to take very small photos from, of surrounding roofs.
We soon had that out of the way, and hung around until a couple more families joined us, followed by the congenial chap from the door downstairs, who turned out to also be the ‘periscope operator’, because that what this is.
In the dark room is what looks like a concrete sky dish, or saucer a yard or so across. Wire cables, with handles on disappear into the gloom above, which he uses to control the periscope, along the lines of a submarine.
Once he opens the mirrors an incredibly clear picture of nearby roads cascades down onto the dish, and the show is on.
First he followed cars down a road, and you are able to see the drivers, and the surrounding traffic signs, road signs, and brake lights etc. as clear as chrystal.
Then it was a swoop up onto the roof tops of buildings near and far, where the washing on the lines and the clothes pegs all some to life.
Then to the mountains on the horizon, and back to the rooftops over the road, and hugely spectacularly – the white pigeons flying around.
His commentary was in Spanish, and full of enthusiasm and fun.
He was slow and carefully and clearly spoken though, and so it was easy for us to follow everything, and would been pretty easy without any Spanish because he was referring to places and people and things involving many of those 3,000 words that are pretty much the same in either language fall into place.
So instead of Aristotle, camera, invention and periscope – he was saying Aristóteles, cámara, periscopio and invención. Not hard to follow.
When we needed to ask a question he turned out to have excellent English, though fell over when trying to tell us that there were 8 of these in the UK (they are made by a British company) with one on Constitution Hill Aberystwyth which is the biggest Camera Obscura in the World! Spaniards can not generally say Aberystwyth but nor can most of us Brits.
For half an hour or more we were able to look at every tourist attraction, bridge, church and building for miles all around Seville, along with a commentary that made this experience the highlight of our stay, and a ‘must do’.
It was simple superb at every level, including the fun and laughter all three of we groups had, watching the children reacting, and listening to each other.

5  Thank Simon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

I never saw something like this, it was amazing! Also the scenic view is stunning, I even liked it better than the one from the Giralda tower ... . It's only 4 euros and as mentioned in the other posts, the guide will tell you the tour is in Spanish and will end up in saying everything in perfectly english (at least for a Spanish guide!). A must do!!! But if you're afraid of heights I would skip the view and only check out the camera oscura ;). The tour is every half hour untill 5 o'clock and you have to purchase your tickets in the bar next to the tower. It's closed on monday.

2  Thank CharlotteBE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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