Plaza España was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 as part of a redevelopment of the adjoining Maria Luisa Park. The plaza is a mash-up of different Spanish architectural styles, combining Art Deco, Mudéjar1and Neo-Mudéjar2styles. As befits its origins, it is loaded with symbolism: each bridge represents the four ancient kingdoms of Spain, and each tiled alcove represents a different province of Spain. So striking is the plaza that it has been used in multiple films, including Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars Episode II.
At night, we come upon this open plaza after walking through a densely planted park and it feels like stumbling upon a palace from a fairy tale: imposing towers, lighted arcades, delicately-arched bridges, and an actual moat. The sound of hooves on cobblestones nearby indicates the presence of horse-and-carriages, ready to whisk us away like the royalty we never knew we were. Night always heralds the witching hour in fairy tales, and it feels like if we so much as blink the clock will strike and the entire scene will disappear. So we stand by the painted balustrades facing the buildings, eyes open, the better to savor the fantasy.
Photo: Seville, Spain / May 2016
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