PLAZA DE ESPAÑA Seville

Button for Hotel Search Hotel Search

Built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exhibition, the Plaza de España is a monumental building that radiates with Sevillian & Andalusian character. Renaissance & Neo-Moorish elements are found in abundance – impressive tile work, exposed red brick, porticoes and elaborate balustrades. The colossal semi-circular structure along with the square occupy 50,000 m2 (12 acres), equal to that of almost 8 football fields. Besides exploring the square on foot you can also rent a row boat to paddle around the canal or even hop in a carriage pulled by Andalusian thoroughbred horses.

Opening Times icon indicating when the monument is open
OPENING TIMES

From November to March:
Everyday from 8am to 10pm

From April to October:
Everyday from 8am to 12am

Admission icon indicating price of monument
PRICE

Free

Location icon indicating the monument address
ADDRESS

Plaza de España,41013 Sevilla

VIEW MAP

History of the Plaza de España, Seville

Plaza de España (Spain Square) & fountain in Seville, Spain
Plaza de España & its fountain

Seville hosted a huge world fair in 1929 known as the Ibero-American Exhibition. The aim was to improve relations with all of the countries in attendance. No expense was spared for the event’s preparation. For 19 years, Seville went through a modernization phase where streets were widened and hotels were built. In addition, most of the fair’s lavish pavilions were actually meant to become embassies and consulates for their foreigns guests once the exhibition ended.

The Plaza de España was the centerpiece and crown jewel of the entire Ibero-American Exhibition. It’s located in the corner of the Maria Luisa park while the rest of the pavilions are found scattered through the park and along the river.

The local architect Aníbal González (1876-1929) was the chief designer for the exhibition and contributed to many of the pavilions. However, the Plaza de España is his most emblematic work.

Poster for the Iberoamerican Exposition of 1929 celebrated in Spain
Iberoamerican Exposition Poster
Poster for Spain's General Exposition within the Iberoamerican Exposition of 1929
Spain's General Exposition Poster

The plaza’s building has an open semi-circular shape that was meant to symbolize a welcoming hug from Spain to its Latin American guests. The structure is also positioned looking towards the Guadalquivir River – the same river that ultimately connected the New and Old Worlds together.

The long construction of the square was not without its fair share of problems and setbacks. There was opposition to the height of the towers that many thought would rival the Giralda tower. The 515m long canal was also controversial. Since Seville experiences a very dry climate, the canal was seen as a waste of water.

Sunset at Plaza de España – Seville, Spain
Sunset at Plaza de España

Even with many objections, construction commenced in 1914. The estimated budget of 600,000 pesetas ended up ballooning to 17 million before it was all said and done. Aníbal Gonzalez fought for more money to be used for the project’s completion, but in 1926, he resigned due to budget cuts. He was replaced by Vicente Traver y Tomás (1888-1966) who added the fountain to the center of the square (which was also heavily criticized) and saw the project through to its completion in 1929 – more than a decade after it began.

When the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII first saw the Plaza de España after its completion, he reportedly said “Gentlemen, I knew it was going to be beautiful... But I did not know it would be this beautiful!”

What to see in the Plaza de España

Detail of the building in Plaza de España – Seville, Spain
Detail of the building

The Plaza de España’s building is a celebration of the entire country of Spain. The building can be accessed by four different bridges that span the canal – each bridge represents one of the four ancient kingdoms of Spain: Leon, Castile, Aragon and Navarre.

At the base of the building is a collection of 48 alcoves – one for each province of the country (excluding Seville). The alcoves are decorated with tiles made in the local Triana neighborhood and feature depictions of important historical events. Among the alcoves are a collection of busts of famous characters from Spanish history such as King Charles V, writer Francisco de Quevedo and painter Diego Velázquez.

INTERESTING FACT

Plaza de España has appeared in several movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, the second episode of Star Wars (Attack of the Clones) and, more recently, The Dictator from Sacha Baron Cohen.

Walkway that appears in Star Wars, Plaza de España – Seville, Spain
Walkway that appears in Star Wars

After the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, it was planned that the building would be used by the University of Seville. But instead, it became the seat of the military government before eventually coming under the control of Andalusia’s central government.

Besides being used for government offices, there is a section that houses a Military Museum. It is located next to the Aragon Gate and is spread across 3 floors and 10 rooms. Entrance to the museum is free and it is opened Mon - Fri 9:30AM - 2PM, Sat 10AM - 2PM. It is closed Sundays, Holidays and for the month of August. For more information visit their official website.

Canal with row boats in Plaza de España – Seville, Spain
Canal with row boats

Maria Luisa Park

The Plaza de España is situated in a corner of the Maria Luisa Park, the largest and most beautiful park in the city. Originally, the park belonged to the private gardens of the San Telmo Palace which was owned by the Duke of Montpensier Antoine d’ Orléans and his wife, the Infanta María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón. In 1893, three years after the duke’s death, Maria Luisa donated most of the gardens to the city.

Restorations of the gardens started in 1911 in preparation for the Ibero-American Exhibition. The renowned French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, whose works can be found in Paris, Havana and Buenos Aires, was chosen to fashion the remarkably large green space. Instead of imposing his characteristic French classic style, Forestier took inspiration from the gardens of Alcazar de Sevilla and Granada’s Alhambra. There is a distinct Sevillian touch found throughout the park’s tile work and water features.

Archeological Museum in the Maria Luisa Park – Seville, Spain
Archeological Museum in the Maria Luisa Park

The Plaza de España is not the only space in the park with amazing architecture. There are several over noteworthy buildings scattered throughout the 34 hectares that were constructed for the Ibero-American Exhibition:

Top Hotels in Seville

arrow to scroll to top
CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE OF THE BEST HOTELS IN SEVILLE!
Wait, don't close me!

Has España Guide helped plan your trip?

If so, please consider booking your hotel through the links to booking.com found on our website or use the following link:
https://www.booking.com/index.html?aid=1802409

That way, you get the best rates on your hotels and at the same time, it helps us to continue contributing to this site. Everyone wins!