Villa Zorayda Museum
The Villa Zorayda Museum was built in 1883 as the winter residence of Bostonian Franklin W. Smith utilizing his method of construction of poured concrete and crushed coquina shell. The beautiful architecture of the Villa Zorayda is influenced by Spain's famous Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The building of the Villa Zorayda set a precedence for architecture in St. Augustine and began the Moorish Spanish revival of architecture that is seen throughout the city today.
In 1904, the use of the Villa Zorayda changed and it became the Zorayda Club, where dancing, fine dining, and gambling took place. 1913, the building was purchased by Abraham S. Mussallem, an authority on Oriental rugs, fine arts and Egyptian artifacts. In the mid 1930's the Villa Zorayda opened as a museum featuring the priceless antique collections of both Franklin Smith and A.S. Mussallem which are still on display today.
The 45-60 minute audio guided tour that is included with admission gives an in-depth look at the historical significance of the building to the City of St. Augustine, the magnificent architecture, as well as descriptions of the exquisite art and antiques inside.