As I mentioned in my last post, Seville hosted the 1929 Ibero-American Expo for Spanish-speaking peoples around the world. Each country was invited to exhibit, and they each built a showcase pavilion for the purpose. Spain’s showcase is the Plaza de España. Our tour guide told us it was one of the most spectacular plazas in Seville and even in Spain, and I admit to being skeptical. I mean, tour guides say stuff all the time and throw around adjectives. So my expectations were low going in. But when we walked into the plaza, I was seriously speechless for several minutes, struck by the beauty and detail on display.
The Plaza is both an homage to Spain’s history, geography and culture and a downright beautiful space. It’s a half-circle promenade with 48 little alcoves for each of the Spanish provinces. Each alcove includes a map of the province and one noteworthy scene hand-painted in ceramic above the map. The four bridges in the square represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain: Castille, Aragon, Navarre and Leon. The detail of the ceramic work is magnificently colorful, and the scale of the place is impressive. The buildings house government offices now. You can even get a horse-drawn carriage ride around the square.