Seville, Spain – Two

Two world fairs reshaped Seville. The Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 was held in Maria Luisa Park. For the 1992 Universal Exposition, the Isla de la Cartuja was converted from an isolated island into a peninsula. Enjoy seeing some of the fabulous architecture built for these international events.

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1 Expo Sevilla 1929 in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

In 1893, María Luisa d’Orleans, the wife of the Duke of Montpensier, donated the gardens of the San Telmo Palace to Seville. The 170 acres adjacent to the Guadalquivir River became an ideal location for the Ibero-American Exposition during the summer of 1929. Numerous pavilions were constructed to represent various countries. Master designer Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier also orchestrated the creation of ponds and fountains among the trees and flower gardens. The resulting Parque de María Luisa was a spectacular setting for Expo Sevilla 1929. As evident from this view of Plaza de España, María Luisa Park continues to be a must-see location when visiting Sevilla.

Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
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2 Plaza de España in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

Several of the pavilions for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 were designed by architect Anibal González. His crowning glory is Plaza de España. The stunning building combines three architectural styles: Renaissance, Mudéjar and Art Nouveau. The square in front of the crescent-shaped structure is reach by crossing the 1,640 foot canal on one of four bridges representing Spain’s ancient kingdoms. Notice the couple sitting on the bench. There are 58 of them, one for each of Spain’s provinces.

Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
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3 Plaza de España Torre Sur in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

Plaza de España is anchored by two glorious towers. Take a few minutes to appreciate their design. This is Torre Sur. Decorating the red brick are ceramic tiles that have been glazed and intricately painted. They are called azulejos, derived from an Arabic word meaning polished stone. Seville has been a famous manufacturer of these tiles since the 13th century. They are a common element in Spanish and Portuguese architecture. The façade of the South Tower is also beautified with Corinthian columns and pilasters, dentil molding and spires.

Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
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4 Archeological Museum in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

The Antiques Museum was established in 1835 with items found during excavations led by Francisco de Bruna in the late 18th century plus valuables confiscated from Spanish monasteries. Since it was renamed the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Sevilla in 1867, the museum has been housed in several facilities. After the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, the city gifted to the museum the former Pabellón de Bellas Artes (also called the Palace of the Renaissance) located at Plaza de América in María Luisa Park. The extensive collection requires 27 halls to display such items as the Treasure of El Carambolo, a cache of jewelry from the 8th century BC, plus Roman, Moorish and Visigoth artifacts. The Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla also offers educational programs and restoration workshops.

Plaza América, s/n, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
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5 Museum of Arts and Traditions in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

Mudéjar Pavilion was designed by Anibal González to showcase art during the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. In 1973, the former Palace of Decorative Arts became a wing of the Museum of Fine Arts. After an extensive renovation, this elegant pavilion at Plaza de América reopened in 1984 as the Museum of Arts and Traditions. The exhibits of the Museum of Popular Arts are as interesting inside as the outside is beautiful. Displays include costumes, clothing, furniture, musical instruments, crafts and reflections of Spain’s history.

Plaza América, 3, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
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6 Pavilion Real in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

The Royal Pavilion is the third building anchoring Plaza de América within María Luisa Park. Each of the structures were designed in different architectural styles by Anibal González for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. This façade exhibits Neo-Gothic elements. The former Pavilion Real now serves Juventudes Musicales de Sevilla. The Musical Youth of Seville has promoted the growth, talents and performances of young musicians since 1954.

Plaza América, 51, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
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7 Lope de Vega Theatre in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

Architect Vicente Traver y Tomás integrated a theater and casino into the Pabellón de Sevilla for Expo Sevilla 1929. This Brogue façade crowned with a ceramic dome was the casino entrance from María Luisa Park. After a checkered past of physical disasters and renovations, Lope de Vega Theatre is now a venue for concerts and plays. The theater’s namesake was one of Spain’s most prolific and famous playwrights who lived from 1562 until 1635.

Av. de María Luisa, s/n, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
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8 Portuguese Consulate in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

Many World Fair structures are designed to be temporary. In contrast, the planners of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 decided early to build country-related pavilions they hoped could later become embassies. A good example is the former Portugal Pavilion in María Luisa Park. This Neo-Baroque building with a dramatic, red tile roof now serves as the Consulate General of Portugal in Seville.

Av. el Cid, 1, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
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9 Alfonso XIII Hotel in Seville, Spain

Alfonso XIII Hotel was built to accommodate the world’s leaders and dignitaries who attended the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Architecture José Espiau y Muñoz designed the Neo-Mudéjar façade. This Moorish motif is maintained in the lavishly appointed interior. Alfonso XIII, the property’s namesake, attended the opening ceremonies along with his wife, Queen Victoria Eugenia. Now you can stay in a room fit for a king.

Calle San Fernando, 2, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
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10 Puente del Alamillo Connecting Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Puente del Alamillo is an elegant, cable-stayed bridge by Santiago Calatrava, a gifted Spanish architect known for his elegant designs. The 820 foot span over a canal of the Guadalquivir River was commissioned for the 1992 Universal Exposition. Alamillo Bridge connects to the Island of the Carthusians where Expo ’92 hosted over 42 million visitors during the six-month event.

Alamillo Bridge, Sevilla, Spain
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11 Puente de la Barqueta Connecting Cartuja Island, in Seville, Spain

Attendees of the 1992 Universal Exposition crossed the 652 foot length of Barqueta Bridge to reach the international festivities on Isla de La Cartuja. The bowstring steel, split arch design was a collaboration between Juan Arenas and Marcos Pantalerón. Bridge of Barges is also called Puente Mapfre, named after a major Spanish insurance company headquartered in Madrid. Across the river is Isa Mágica. The Magic Island amusement park features rollercoasters, water rides, a 16th century Spanish theme plus “Fun without Limits.”

Puente de la Barqueta, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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12 Cartuja Monastery on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

In 1248, an image of the Virgin Mary was unearthed by workers digging for clay along the Guadalquivir River. The discovery named Virgen de la Cuevas (Virgin of the Caves) inspired a Franciscan monastery to be built on the site in 1399. The most famous resident was Christopher Columbus. He stayed at Monasterio de la Cartuja while planning his second voyage to the New World. The navigator’s body was also interred here for three decades. This historical background on the Island of the Carthusians was celebrated during the 1992 Universal Exposition. Expo ’92 marked the 500th anniversary of Colón’s initial discovery. The Monastery of the Cartuja is now the Museum of Contemporary Art of Andalusia. The smokestack is the remnants of a pottery factory. Cartuja de Sevilla produced premium ceramics and porcelain here from 1841 until the 1980s.

Americo Vespucio, 2, Cartuja Island, 41092 Seville, Spain
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13 Morocco Pavilion on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Although most of the Expo ’92 buildings only hint at their former glory, the Morocco Pavilion is a beautiful exception. The façade features horseshoe arches with artfully carved, geometric patterns. These elements are characteristic of the architectural impact the Moors had on Spain beginning with their occupation in 711. Similar designs can be found on the façade of the Giralda next to the Cathedral. The pavilion was designed by Michel Pinseau and gifted to Seville by King Hassan II.

Calle Max Planck, 2, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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14 Pavillion of the Future on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Pabellón del Futuro was one of five themed pavilions used during the 1992 Universal Exposition. Among the subjects featured in this building was the universe, hence the display of this satellite dish bearing the logo of Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. IAC is an astrophysical research center headquartered on the Canary Islands. Since 1982, the institute has specialized in solar, stellar and interstellar physics plus planetary and galactic evolution. The Pavilion of the Future lay fallow after Expo ’92. In 2017, it was repurposed as the General Archive of Andalusia.

Calle 8, Camino de los Descubrimientos, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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15 Arian Four Rocket on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Arian Four Rocket is visible on Cartuja Island from the main city of Seville across the Guadalquivir River. The sleek replica from the European Space Agency suggests an exciting environment must lay at its feet. Although some entertainment events occur here, most of the surrounding land – vibrant during the 1992 Universal Exposition – is an eerie landscape of deserted buildings. Of the 100 countries represented at the event, a few relics remain such as the Hungary, France, Chile and Mexico pavilions plus the colorful Tower of Europe.

Camino de los Descubrimientos, 17, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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16 Torre Triana on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Since 1993, the biggest administrative offices for the Board of Andalusia, the governing body of the Autonomous Community, are located in Torre Triana on Isla de La Cartuja. The circular, Post-Modern design by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza was inspired by the 2nd century Castle of Sant’Angelo along the Tiber River in Rome.

Torre Triana, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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17 Mirador Tower on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Mirador Tower on Cartuja Island resembles a rocket launch pad. The former Navigation Pavilion was the Schindler Tower when Guillermo Consuegra designed it for the 1992 Universal Exposition. It is now an observation deck. An elevator ride to the top of the 213 foot structure takes only 24 seconds. You can go down the same way or some people descend by rope. At the base is the Pabellon Museum of Navigation. The exhibits highlight Spain’ maritime accomplishments from Columbus’s discovery of the New World through the 17th century.

Edificio Torre Shindler I Cartuja, 1, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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18 Sevilla Tower on Cartuja Island in Seville, Spain

Sevilla Tower is the beacon of the Island of the Carthusians and also the tallest building in Andalusia. Construction of the 592 foot office complex began in 2008 as the headquarters for a bank that fell victim to the financial crisis. Although the curved, red façade designed by César Pelli is handsome, the skyscraper has generated controversy in a city priding itself on elegant and historical buildings.

Calle Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada 2, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
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