After the Cathedral, Plaza of Spain it is the most majestic building in Seville. Whether you like it or not, on your trip to Seville you shouldn't miss a visit here.
Plaza de Espana is located within the Maria Luisa Park, near Avenida Isabella La Catolica, a pedestrian avenue from which you can access the park. It was built during theIbero-American Exhibition of 1929 and was recently modernized in 2010. It is a classic example of local architecture, being a mix of elements related to the Renaissance and Moorish art.
In 1929, the Parque de Maria Luisa was chosen as the site of the Universal Exposition, which is why it was at the center of a major renovation and development project. Plaza de España, built by Anibal Gonzalez, was to be the centerpiece of the park and of the whole event.
The square, which can be accessed freely, was in fact to host theexhibition of Spanish industry and technology. The architect Gonzalez combined elements of Art Deco and Neo-Mudèjar style in his project. In fact, there are ceramic elements and objects in the square, in the typical style tiling.
The square consists of a immense semicircle with a continuous succession of buildings along the perimeter, which have a long portico on the ground floor, while on the first floor they overlook the whole square with a series of balconies. Do not miss the central balcony, from which the view of the square is very impressive.
The square extends over 50.000 square meters and there are two towers at both ends, which are high enough to be visible from all over the city; they are among other things two of the main symbols of Seville.
You enter the square by crossing one of the four bridges that represent the four ancient Spanish kingdoms: Castile, Aragon, Navarre and Leon. There is in fact a canal over 500 meters long, which follows the semicircle shape of the square, which divides it from the rest of the Park, where among other things it is possible to rent small rowing boats and have fun navigating the canal: Plaza de España is known for this as the "Venice of Seville".
The rental of rowing boats costs 5 euros for 45 minutes, while for motor boats, the cost is 9 euros.
At the center of Plaza de España I saw the Vicente Traver fountain, while on the walls surrounding the buildings there are a series of niches, each of which represents a different province of Spain, with a bench, the city coat of arms and a map.
The tradition is that Spanish visitors take a souvenir photo at the niche representing the Spanish province of their origin.
Nowadays, the buildings of the Piazza host numerous government offices: the various government departments are located right here, while other buildings house museums.
What it had been at the time of the Universal Exposition the Pavilion of Fine Arts is today the archaeological Museum, while the Mudejar Pavilion was transformed into Museum of Folk Art and Customs. For both museums, admission is free for citizens of the European Union.
Plaza de España has been used as a filming location for many films. We remember the scenes shot here of the feature film Lawrence d’Arabia from 1962, but it was also used as a set for an episode of the Star Wars Saga, the Attack of the Clones, and for the film Il dittatore with Sasha Baron Cohen, in which she was transformed into a huge mansion and adorned with golden domes with the help of computer graphics.