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Villa Zorayda Museum, St. Augustine

#12 of 25 in Museums in St. Augustine
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Specialty Museum
The Villa Zorayda Museum has undergone an extensive renovation and is once again open to the public as a museum. On the National Register of Historic Places it was built in 1883 as the winter residence of Franklin Smith utilizing his method of construction of poured concrete and crushed coquina shell. It is built 1/10th the scale of a section of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. This building set precedence for St. Augustine and began the Moorish Spanish revival of architecture that is seen throughout the city today.

In 1913, it was purchased by Abraham S. Mussallem, an authority on Oriental rugs, fine arts and Egyptian artifacts. In the early 1900s, the Zorayda was leased out and turned into a club. In 1922, the Zorayda Club became one of the most fashionable places for casino gambling.

In the mid 1930s, it 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 minute audio guided tour (available in English, Spanish, and French) gives an in-depth look at the historical significance of the building to the City of St. Augustine, the magnificent architecture, and descriptions of the many exquisite antique pieces, which are original to the home.

Please call 904-829-9887 for hours of operations and prices.

Besides being a museum, we also hold wedding services and private parties.

Wedding photos are located on our website; please email us at for more information.

During the Holiday Season, the museum opens its doors during the evenings. Our Candlelight Tours are on select dates. Please visit our website for more information about our Candlelight Tours.
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Villa Zorayda Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
449 reviews
  • Fun building.... the exterior does not do the interior treasures justice. Self guided tour with well working listening equipment. If you like things from the Gilded Era, this will be a good...  more »
  • Although this is advertised as a miniature replica of the Alhambra if you've been to the real thing this will be very disappointing. That having been said, the museum is very interesting with some...  more »
  • No photos permitted inside the museum which was a little disappointing but enjoyed the self-guided tour. You have to go just to see the famous cat rug and all the other acquired antiques, statues, paintings and photographs. This is the house that forever changed St. Augustine architecture!
  • Pretty cool place with a lot of things to look at. Audio tour you can take at your own pace. You could spend a half hour or if you wanted to, two hours depending on how in depth you wanna go.

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