The Plaza de España is hands down one of the most iconic and photogenic places in the city of Seville. It was built in the middle of María Luisa Park in the city center by the Sevillian architect Aníbal González for the Latin American Expo in 1929.
Measuring 50,000 square meters, the Plaza de España in Seville has the size of five football pitches. It is overlooked by a semi-circular brick building, in a Renaissance/neo-Moorish style, with a tower at either end, both of which are visible from the whole town of Seville. In front of this building, which also has a ground-level portico and first-floor balustrade with balconies stretching along its length, there is a 500-meter canal crossed by four bridges, and in the center of it all is the Plaza itself. The square has a fountain in the middle, rounded for a small lake and a building behind it that gives a traditional style to all the place. There are also four bridges that represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain: Castille, Aragon, Navarra, and Leon.
The Seville City Council invested 9 million euros in the restoration of the Plaza de España from 2007 to 2010. The idea was to recover the original monument as the architect Aníbal González conceived it. The restoration team worked to recover pieces like the ceramic streetlights, benches or even pavements, and the reproduction was made based on photographs and postcards from the municipal newspaper library. The challenge of bringing back to life the Plaza de España was finally achieved.
The square is undoubtedly a major tourist attraction and the finishing point of the popular horse-and-carriage rides. The visit to the main building is free. All along the wall by the canal are 48 alcoves with benches, one for each province of Spain, each with a relevant tableau and map and designed on colourful ‘azulejos’ (painted ceramic tiles). Spanish tourists love taking photographs of themselves on their home province’s bench.
The balconies are also a great spot for taking photos, reached by staircases, as you can get the whole sweep of the building. The magnificent central balcony is especially impressive. It is no surprise that this is one of the favourite spots for Sevillanos (natives from Seville) to have their wedding photos taken.
Another activity you can enjoy in Plaza de España, Seville, is renting a boat to row along the 515 meters canal, that’s why this part is also known as the Venice of Seville. A truly romantic experience!
The whole area is surrounded by impressive buildings that represent the city’s glorious past. Many of them blend elements of the region’s Moorish and Christian heritage, with the grandest mansions on the square now serving as museums and government offices.
A combined of Maria Luisa Park and Plaza España lasts approximately two hours, so you can spend the rest of the day visiting the city center.
The Plaza de España has caught the attention of many national and international film directors. It has been seen in internationally famous films such as “Lawrence of Arabia” or “The wind and the Lion” and, more recently, in Episode II of “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” and “The dictator”.
For the shooting of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, the Military Headquarters building was turned into General Allenby’s headquarters in Cairo. Moreover, in the basement of the Peruvian consulate, in Avenida de María Luisa, they located the map room of the Arab Office, where Lawrence started his military career.
For this reason, the square was designated a couple of years ago as ‘Treasure of European Film Culture’ by the European Film Academy (EFA), so it wouldn’t surprise us if the number of films shot in this location grows in the next few years.