At any time of the day, the “Plaza de España” in Seville is ready to welcome all those who visit it with a big hug. Perhaps, that semi-elliptical shape that stands out in the structure, can be considered as the embrace of Spain to its American territories and the Ibero-American people during the 1929 Exposition.
The “Plaza de España” is a large architectural complex located in the Maria Luisa Park, measuring 50,000 square meters and 170 meters in diameter. It was designed by the architect Anibal Gonzalez and its construction took place between 1914 and 1929, being one of the main buildings of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is the largest building of all those erected in the city during the 20th century.
Of the 50,000 square meters occupied by the Plaza de España in Seville, 31,000 is open space. The remaining 19,000 consists of built structures.
Among the materials that we can observe in the construction of the buildings is the exposed brick and the colorful “Triana” ceramics that beautifully decorates the structure, becoming the protagonist of the square. The backs of the benches and some lampposts are made of wrought iron.
It has a central building, two curved wings with intermediate buildings that compensate for its long dimensions and two towers of 74 meters at the ends. The ceilings of the gallery of the square have wooden coffered ceilings supported by marble columns.
Seville’s “Plaza de España” is bordered by a canal that runs 515 meters, crossed by four bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain: Leon, Castile, Aragon and Navarre.
One of the symbols that Aníbal González wanted to represent as a tribute in the 1929 Exposition was to orient the “Plaza de España” towards the Guadalquivir river, the gateway to the Americas.
What is most striking in the “Plaza de España” are the 48 cubicles / benches that represent the 46 peninsular provinces of Spain, in alphabetical order, plus the Canary and Balearic Islands. Many visitors take the opportunity to have their picture taken on the bench corresponding to their province, or one of the provinces they have most enjoyed visiting.
Each cubicle / bench in the “Plaza de España” has its own coat of arms, map and images of historical events represented with a tiles. The cubicles are divided into four sections, and at the beginning and at the end of each one, you can see a tile panel related to the province of Seville. In addition, the benches have at the sides, two small towers with shelves that have been used to place books.
Between the arches of the square, we can find a series of busts in relief that represent illustrious characters in the history of Spain. Among them are: El Cid, Christopher Columbus, Charles V, El Greco, Goya, Velázquez, Quevedo, Cervantes, Murillo, Zurbarán, among many others.
In addition, the central fountain, the work of Vicente Traver, adds to the beauty of this great square.
Once the Ibero-American Exposition concluded, it became the seat of the military government, where the General Captaincy was located. Later it housed the delegation of the Central Government of Andalusia and, in turn, the Military Museum of Seville. Currently, it houses the sub-delegation of the Spanish government.
The “Plaza de España” in Seville has been used by the world of cinema as an ideal place for the production of films. In fact, the European Film Academy chose this square as a Treasure of European Film Culture. This distinction is awarded to spaces and film locations of great historical value for cinema. Some of the productions that have been filmed in the “Plaza de España” include: Lawrence of Arabia (1962); The Wind and the Lion (1975); Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones (2002); The Dictator (2012); the Spanish film Manuel and Clemente (1986) and the Bollywood production Akhil (2015).
In short, the “Plaza de España” in Seville, is the square that welcomes in a friendly manner all those that visit it.