Visit Seville - More Places to Visit
Just outside the historic centre there are still lots of monuments worth visiting. Top among them are the beautiful Plaza de Espana and the other buildings in the Parque Maria Luisa and Seville's wonderful new addition; the Metrapol Parasol, an enormous mushroom like structure that soars above the Plaza de la Encarnacion.
To the South of Seville, a short walk from the centre, is the Parque Maria Luisa. This park was donated to the city of Seville by Princess Maria Luisa and it became the venue of the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. The fabulous Plaza de Espana, one of Seville's most popular monuments was built for this as were the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares and the Museo Arqueologico.
Plaza de Espana
The Plaza de Espana is a huge semi-circular building with various towers with huge staircases that you can climb to get views from above. There is a large plaza in front of the building and a semi-circular pond big enough to go boating on. This is crossed by a number of ornate bridges with a very venetian feel.
Take a walk around the base of the building and you can admire the pictures made from tiles which represent each of the provinces of Spain.
It is hard to believe walking around the Plaza that it was built in the 20th century - it has a Mudejar appearance and a scale rarely seen in buildings of more modern times.
Sadly the exhibition for which it was built was not a huge success because of the Wall Street crash which happened at that time. However it more than makes up for it now as one of Seville's most popular attractions.
The Plaza de Espana has also featured in various films including the Star Wars blockbusters where it is the scene for the 'Palace of the Kingdom of Naboo' in Episode 2 'Attack of the Clones'. It also features in 'Lawrence of Arabia'.
Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares and Museo Arqueologico
Walk through the park with its gardens laid out in a fairly Moorish style to the Plaza de America with the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares and on the other side of a pond and formal garden the Museo Arqueologico.
Both of these were also built for the exhibition and afterwards turned into museums. Again they have a Mudejar style and are beautiful buildings.
The Museo Arqueologico is free for EU citizens and very cheap for everyone else and it houses Andalucia's main archeology collection including Roman mosaics from nearby Italica.
The Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (Popular Arts Museum) is also free to EU citizens and displays arts and crafts and items from the April Feria festival.
Close to the Parque Maria Luisa is the Universidad of Seville. This huge building is the largest in Spain after the huge palace-monastery complex of El Escorial near to Madrid.
The Universidad was built in the 18th century as a factory for processing the tobacco brought back from the Americas. By the 19th century three-quarters of the cigars produced in the world were produced here.
The cigars were rolled by female workers called cigarreras and these were the inspiration for Carmen in a novella by Prosper Merimee. This same heroine then inspired the famous opera by Georges Bizet.
The Universidad was surrounded by a moat and even has watchtowers. This is because of the enormous wealth this cigar-making industry produced.
The building is now home to the faculties of Literature and Philology, and of History and Geography. Seville is one of the top-ranking universities of Spain.
Nearby the Palacio de San Telmo has an interesting entrance. It was once a university built to train ships pilots, navigators and other maritime jobs and its entrance is topped by statues of figures from the Sciences and the Arts. The Palacio is now the seat of the Andalucian government
Opposite the Palacio is the hotel that you must book if you want to treat yourselves. The Alfonsia XIII Hotel was built in the 1920s and is beautiful. It has a lovely tower on one side built in a distinctly Moorish style and has a large patio with a fountain. When we were in Seville Audi were organising a rally from the hotel and its entrance area was full of different models of high-spec Audis - all very in keeping with the surroundings!
To the north of Seville is Seville's newest monument - the spectacular Metropol Parasol.
The Metrapol Parasol is a huge umbrella or mushroom like structure which is built over much of the Plaza Encarnacion. It looks rather like a group of huge wood and concrete mushrooms towering over the surrounding area.
Designed by Jurgen Mayer-Hermann it is predominantly built of wood and is the largest wooden structure in the world. Its design is apparently inspired by the vaults of Seville's cathedral.
The six enormous 'mushroom' are all linked and flow into each other. On the top there is a walkway allowing you to see the structure up close and get some great views of the surrounding area.
Designed to incorporate 4 distinct levels the basement houses a museum , the Antiquarium, displaying Moorish and Roman remains that were discovered on the site in a modern building surrounded by glass and with walkways around the excavated remains.
On ground level there is a market area shaded by the 'mushrooms overhead. There are also steps up to an open area and the steps form something of a gathering point for people relaxing and enjoying the view of the structures.
The next two levels are up on top of the mushroom with a terrace and restaurant (great place to enjoy a meal with views) and the walkway.
Also to see in the north are the Iglesia de San Pedro with a mix of Mudejar and Baroque styles and the Basilica de la Macarena with a painting above the altar by Luisa Roldan. This church is home to the Virgen de la Esperanza Macarena which is paraded in the streets during the Easter celebrations. You can see the processional gowns and jewels in the church museum.
Also visit the Casa de Pilatos, a fine palace with Mudejar architecture and pretty gardens.
Seville is of course also a great city for shopping, eating and enjoying a vibrant night scene.
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