Villa Zorayda Castle in St. Augustine FL

Step inside a real St Augustine Castle and visit the Villa Zorayda! The Villa Zorayda St Augustine Castle or Zorayda Castle as it is sometimes referred to is a beautiful, historic mansion located in the old district of St Augustine FL. Built by Boston millionaire Franklin Smith in 1883 the Zorayda St Augustine Castle was designed to resemble a smaller version of a larger 12th century Moor palace, Alhambra Palace, located in Granada Spain. Smith had made his fortune selling hardwares and had moved to Florida upon hearing from a doctor that the warmer weather and leisure lifestyle might be a cure to his liver ailments. He had long been a dreamer and a follower of architectural design. Smith used his creatively and designed Villa Zorayda; he named the St Augustine Castle after characters from Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra and this is how the Zorayda Castle began. Today the Villa Zorayda St Augustine Castle is open for tours and is filled with unique antiquities from around the world.

In 1904 the Villa Zorayda became the Zorayda Club and, much like other clubs in the area at the time, it catered to the rich upper class that visited the city during that time. Today, visitors can see the original bone china that patrons to the club used during this time. In 1913 it was purchased by prominent St Augustine Fla citizen A.S. Mussallem and in the 1920s it became a popular resort for casino gambling. A decade later however, it had been transformed into the museum that it is today, and since then the St Augustine Castle has served as a resting spot for the collections of both Franklin Smith and A.S. Mussallem, and it has undergone extensive renovations. In addition to housing priceless items including Oriental rugs, fine art, Egyptian artifacts including a 2,400 year old "Sacred Cat Rug" that is made from ancient cat hair from Egypt the castle also offers guided tours of this interesting St Augustine Castle.

The Villa Zorayda St Augustine Castle is just one of many great St Augustine Attractions located in the historic district. Places like the St Augustine Old Jail, Old Towne Village St Augustine, and the Lightner Museum are fascinating St Augustine Florida Attractions that everyone should visit. All of the wonderful Attractions in St Augustine FL are nearby to the Saint Augustine Bayfront Hotels and Inns that are a part of our organization. Plan a fantastic St Augustine Florida Vacation and browse the information on our site.