Villa Zorayda - St. Augustine, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 29° 53.507 W 081° 18.905
17R E 469577 N 3306835
Quick Description: Villa Zorayda (also known as the Zorayda Castle) is a scaled-down version of the 12th-century Moorish Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 4/19/2016 6:29:50 AM
Waymark Code: WMQZF2
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member the federation
Views: 5

Long Description:
According to the "Drive the Old Spanish Trail" (visit link) website, Zorayda Castle is one of several must-see stops on the OST.

Villa Zorayda was built by the eccentric millionaire Franklin Smith in 1883 as his private home in St. Augustine, Florida, USA. On September 23, 1993, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is presently owned by former St. Augustine mayor and local real estate investor Edward Mussallem (and family).

The villa contains luxurious interior details, including tropical hardwood furniture and the "Sultans Den" which includes a 2,300 year-old rug made from woven cat fur. One of the more notable features of the building is the windows, each window is a different shape and size, following the superstition that spirits would be able to leave the house but have difficulty finding their way back. Over the years, the building has been used as a speakeasy and a movie set.

A historical marker on the grounds reads as follows: "The Villa Zorayda was constructed in 1883 as the winter home of Franklin Smith, a Boston millionaire who was so impressed by the magnificence of the Alhambra Palace which he saw during a visit to Granada, Spain, that he decided to build his house as an exact replica of one wing of the palace at one-tenth of the original size. The 12th century palace had been built by the Moors who ruled Spain for six centuries before being expelled in 1492. Smith, a gifted amateur architect, designed the house himself, using the innovative technique of constructing the building with poured concrete reinforced with crushed coquina stone. Many other materials used in finishing the residence were imported from Spain. In 1913, the building was bought by Abraham S. Mussallem. In 1922, it became a nightclub and gambling casino which closed in 1925 when Florida outlawed gambling. In 1936, it was opened as a tourist attraction called the Zorayda Castle, exhibiting items fitting the architectural theme of the building. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993."
Submission Criteria:

Distinctive or Significant Interest

Website with More Information: [Web Link]

Address of Waymark:
83 King Street
St. Augustine, FL USA

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Markerman62 visited Villa Zorayda - St. Augustine, FL 9/18/2020 Markerman62 visited it
wildernessmama visited Villa Zorayda - St. Augustine, FL 6/24/2018 wildernessmama visited it
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