The place you have to visit if you ever go to Sevilla, has to be Plaza de España! It´s one of the most incredible places in Spain in my opinion.
This amazing place contains many visible secrets, that you will understand if you know a little bit of the history.
What to expect in this article:
Why do I know so much?
I know so much about Sevilla and Plaza de España, because I was a (bicycle) tour guide in 2019/2020. I shared a lot of articles about my time here.
Every tour I ended at this place and every time I was amazed and was enthusiastic to tell the tourists about the secrets this square has. Now I am excited to share it with you!
I was a tour guide at BajaBikes/Andalucía Tours and Discovery and loved it! If you are planning to go somewhere and want to do a bicycle /walking tour, make sure you book through them!
Plaza de España was created due to the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. This was held to welcome the former colonies of Spain, which means most of South America and even Portugal and the United States were invited.
If you check the square, you can see it is shaped half-round, which stands for the welcome sign. They were basically welcoming the former colonies back to Spain.
This is one of the many secret elements of this amazing place that not many people know about.
Unfortunately, this exposition wasn’t the biggest success. This was all because traveling wasn’t that easy yet at that time. Besides that, they were happy to not be colonized anymore by the Spaniards.
Shape of the square
Then let’s talk about the shape of the square. I just told you it’s a welcome sign.
If you look from the outside, you can see the two towers on the most outside, are the thumbs. Then the 2 buildings left and right is supposed to be the shoulders and lastly, the building in the middle is the head. So in that way, they are giving a big hug to the colonies.
It could be possible that this is just a joke of my tour organization, but it’s a nice symbol if you think of it.
Aníbal González Álvarez-Ossorio is an architect I talked a lot about during my tours. He was a Spanish architect and created the most beautiful buildings, including the Plaza de America and of course the Plaza de España. He has a very recognizable style and whenever you are walking through Sevilla, you can notice it was made by the same guy.
Yet there is one ‘ugly’ thing that you can find on this square. Which thing might this be? To find the answer, scroll to the end of this article.
Most important thing; the benches!
Let’s continue with one of the most important things about this square. The benches!
There are 48 benches on this square, which represents one of every province of Spain.
It’s in alphabetic order and starts on the left with ‘Alava’ and ends with ‘Zaragoza’ on the right.
In 1929 there were 49 provinces (now 52), but Sevilla is not represented, why do you think?
If we go back to the reason why every province is one bench, we can find the reason for it; is to get information about that province. On every single bench you can see:
- A map of the province
- One moment in history which was important for that province
- Painted by a painter from that province
- The Province’s coat of arms
Isn’t that cool? This whole square with all the benches is a unique piece of art. You can spend all day at the Plaza de España to understand what is important for every province of Spain.
The reason Sevilla is not represented, is because the constructors thought ‘why should we make one? You can just walk for 15 minutes towards the center and you will get all the information you need.’ It’s true on one side, but a pity for me, I would have loved this particular bench about Sevilla.
The four bridges
Even the four bridges contain secrets. The reason there are 4 bridges, is because every bridge represents one of the 4 old kingdoms of Spain – León, Castilla, Aragón, and Navarra.
The water body represents the river Guadalquivir, which flows through Sevilla. It symbolized the way forward to America.
Now you can row with a boat to have a cool experience.
Did you know that a couple of movies were shot here? Examples are Star Wars 2, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Dictator.
What can you find inside?
Besides a lot of tourists, inside the building, there is not much to find.
Except for locals, they can find some offices, including the immigration office, where I had to go often when I moved to Seville. You can also find a military museum on the left side, which I have never entered.
The 'ugly' part of the square
So, what is that one ‘ugly thing’ according to Aníbal González on the square?
It is the fountain! González never created this and did not want it here.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on if you like it), Sevilla did want it here and eventually put it here even on the day he died.
To please his loved ones, Sevilla placed a statue of Aníbal, at the entrance of the square, but with his head turned away from the fountain…
Of course there are many more details about Plaza de España, but for me these were the most interesting and important ones. I always loved to end my tours at this magnificent spot and tell these facts to the tourists. What were you amazed by to hear and have you seen the Plaza de España with your own eyes?
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