Friday, September 21, 2012

Plaza de Espana

Some of the Plaza Espana gardens
I had a lot of fun again on Sunday with Dianna and Lucca. We went to Plaza Espana where in 1923 the country built a large plaza, with exhibit halls, an artificial lake with arched bridges, and tiled displays for every conquest in Spain for an Exposition. Even then, it must have cost a fortune because nothing was done half way or like Disneyland, just for show with a completely different world on the other side of the wall. The area is now a popular family hangout and is surrounded by formal gardens with water fountains and sculptures. We rented a row boat and took turns rowing around in the lake for 35 minutes. That was the best 5 Euros I ever spent, just good wholesome family fun.

Rowing a boat in the artificial lake.
Included in the area of Plaza Espana are formal gardens, the anthropology museum, and the Museo de Artes y Costumbres that has a fine collection of furniture, clothing, lace and needlework. The Anthropology museum was free because so much of it was closed for remodeling. I missed out on seeing the really old stuff from the stone age in Spain, dating back 30,000 years. That was a huge disappointment, but the museum had many artifacts left behind by the Romans 1600 years ago. Whole mosaic floors had been transplanted into the museum, funery objects, sculptures of Diana the huntress, Mercury, Venus, and a number of sculpted heads of individual people, now mostly unknown.

The oldest part of Seville had been a Roman settlement for several centuries. As we walked about town, we saw giant ‘wheels’ in the walls that were actually fallen columns that had simply been cut off when they were in an inconvenient location and incorporated into the walls of the building. In one yard, three of them had been excavated to the base, at least eight feet down from the current street level, and then secured with steel framework so they wouldn’t fall onto the house next door. 

Roman columns, cut for a road and
incorporated into the wall of a building.

Three Roman columns excavated
and secured, right in
the middle of town.

Plaza Espana garden urn.

Dianna taking a photo
of the underside of a balcony,
where the architect's name was
written in tiles.