Many Spanish cities compete with each other in claiming the most beautiful plaza (square) in Spain. Most people however agree that the winner is Seville with its incredible Plaza de España.
Translating literally to “Spanish Square” it forms part of the Parque de María Luisa, and was laid out in 1928 in preparation for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. The exhibition was an attempt to improve relations between Spain, its former colonies and the United States of America. Preparations took 19 years with exhibition buildings being constructed in the Maria Luisa Park, a park Princess Maria Luisa donated to the city in1893 as they formerly formed part of the gardens of the San Telmo Palace. 10 of the countries represented had a pavilion built which they used to showcase their country, history and people. Today many of the pavilions have been converted in to Consulates, museums and schools. In the end the exhibition never reached the grand heights that were hoped, mainly due the depression beginning the U.S the same year. What was left behind however is one of the most iconic images of Spain, Plaza de España
The plaza was designed by Aníbel González and was the principle building in the park, showcasing Spain’s industry and technology exhibits. González managed to fuse several styles including Art-Deco & Neo-Mudejar. Mudejar is a style of architecture where arab and Christian influences combine. The square is actually a huge semi-circle with a continuous run of building around the edge which are guarded by a moat which is crossed by several bridges, 4 in-fact representing the ancient kingdoms of Spain.
Built into the walls, facing the moat, are a series of tiled alcoves representing each of the provinces of Spain that existed in 1929. Many tourists use the alcoves with their colourful tiles as a backdrop to many portrait photos. The centre of the square is a fountain designed by Vincente Traver.
Today, Plaza de España mainly consists of government buildings pertaining the administration of Seville. The Town Hall of Seville or the Casa Consistorial de Seville is not located here.
Plaza de España has been used in several films including the 1962 “Lawerence of Arabia” as well as in”Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom menace” in 1999 and “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” in 2002 in which it featured in exterior shots of the city of Theed on Planet Narbo. It also was used for scenes in the 2012 film “The Dictator”