The Maria Luisa Park
is a public park that stretches along the Guadalquivir River in Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...
, Spain. It is Seville's principal green area.
Most of the grounds that were used for the park were formerly the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo
The Palace of San Telmo is a historical edifice in Seville, southern Spain, now the seat of the presidency of the Andalusian Autonomous Government. Construction of the building began in 1682 outside the walls of the city, on property belonging to the Tribunal of the Holy Office, the institution...
They were donated to the city of Seville in 1893 by the Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier
Infanta María Luisa Fernanda of Spain was Infanta of Spain and Duchess of Montpensier. She was the youngest daughter of king Ferdinand VII of Spain and his fourth wife Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies, the queen-regent, who was also his niece.-Biography:-Heiress-presumptive:When her elder...
, for use as a public park.
Starting in 1911, Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier
Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier was a French landscape architect, trained with Alphand and became conservateur of the promenades of Paris. He developed an arboretum at Vincennes and the gardens of the Champ-de-Mars below the Eifel Tower...
rearranged the gardens into their present shapes.
In 1914 the architect Aníbal Gonzalez
Aníbal Segundo González Espinoza is a retired Chilean footballer who played as a forward during his career...
began construction for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929
The Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 was a world's fair held in Seville, Spain, from the 9th of May 1929 until the 21st of June 1930. Countries in attendance of the exposition included: Portugal, The United States, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile, the Republic of Colombia, Cuba,...
, which was held partly within the park. The new buildings of the Plaza de España were used as the office of the fair.
In preparation for the exhibition, the entire southern end of the city was redeveloped into an expanse of gardens and grand boulevards. The centre of it is Parque de María Luisa
, a 'Moorish paradisical style' with a half mile of tiled fountains, pavilions, walls, ponds, benches, and exhedras.
There are lush plantings of palms, orange trees, Mediterranean pines, and stylized flower beds and with bowers hidden by vines.
The park serves as a botanical garden. Many plant species, native or exotic, are represented, along with educational panels to inform the visitors to the park.
Many birds make their home in the park, which is known for its large population of doves (for which a part of the Plaza de América
is called the Parque de las Palomas
, or Dove Park). There are also many green parrots living in the center of the park and ducks and swans in the fountains and lakes.
The park is home to many monuments, and to numerous ponds and fountains. Among the most famous are the Fountain of Lions (Fuente de los Leones
) and the lotus pool (Estanque de los Lotos
Monument to Gustavo Adolfo Becquer
The monument to Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
Gustavo Adolfo Domínguez Bastida, better known as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, was a Spanish post-romanticist writer of poetry and short stories, now considered one of the most important figures in Spanish literature. He adopted the alias of Bécquer as his brother Valeriano Bécquer, a painter, had...
is located in the north of the park, along the Avenida de Gustavo Adolfo Becquer.
It was constructed in 1911 by Lorenzo Coullaut-Valera, in collaboration with the architect Juan Talavera Heredia and Catalan sculptor Federico Bechini.
The monument consists of an octagonal base, surrounding a tree, which is built on a pedestal, the bust of the poet. To his right is Cupid as a child throwing arrows at three young women. To the left of the bust is Cupid as an adult, stabbed and dying. The two angels are in bronze, the rest of the work is in marble white. This scene is inspired by Becquer's poetry collection Rimas
Monument to Miguel de Cervantes
The monument to Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered the first modern novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written...
is located on the Plaza de America, near the Royal Pavilion.
It was created in 1913 by the architect responsible for the Ibero-American Exposition, Aníbal González, in collaboration with Ramos Rejano and Eduardo Muñoz.
The monument is a polygonal space decorated with tiles depicting scenes from the works of Cervantes.
Two statuettes, representing Don Quixote on his horse and Sancho Panza on his donkey, were found here for a long time.
They have now disappeared.
The Fountain of the Lions
The Fountain of the Lions (Fuente de los Leones
), based on a concept by the park designer Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, was sculpted by Manuel Delgado Brackembury in 1913. It consists of four stone lions, each carrying a shield, placed on four of the eight sides of the octagonal fountain into which they spit water. The fountain is decorated with tiles from the workshop of Manuel Ramos Rejano. The lions were installed in 1928.
Badly damaged by vandals, in 1957 they were replaced by copies made by the the Sevillian sculptor Juan Abascal Fuentes.
The fountain was restored in 1992.
The Plaza de España
Plaza de España may refer to:Spain** Plaça d'Espanya in Barcelona** Plaça d'Espanya in Palma de Mallorca** Plaza de España in Madrid** Plaza de España in Santa Cruz de Tenerife...
was a principal building built on the park's edge to showcase Spain's industry and technology exhibits. The Plaza de España
complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous beautiful bridges. In the centre is a large fountain. By the walls of the Plaza
are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. Today, the plaza buildings are mainly used for government offices.
The Queen's sewing box
The Queen's sewing box is a building constructed in the late nineteenth century in the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo, now the Maria Luisa Park in Seville, Spain....
(Costurero de la Reina
) was built in 1893 in the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo, as a retreat.
It is a unique building that takes the form of a small hexagonal castle with turrets at the corners.
It is the oldest building in Seville in the neomudéjar
Numerous other buildings were constructed in and around the park for the exhibition in a mix of 1920's Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...
and mock Mudejar
Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity...
Some of them were extravagant in their decor, built just before before the Wall Street crash.
The Guatemala building, off the Paseo de la Palmera, is an example of this elaborate style.
The largest mansions from the fair, near the south end of the park, now serve as museums, including the Archeological Museum of Seville
The Archeological Museum of Seville is a museum in Seville, southern Spain, housed in the Pabellón del Renacimiento, one of the pavilions designed by the architect Aníbal González...
Some of the original buildings have been replaced by more modern structures.
For example, the Seville Public Library
The Seville Public Library is a public library located in Seville, Spain....
was inaugurated in 1999 by the Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo
It was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 2001.
Beside the modern library is the Science Center
The Science Center in the city of Seville, Spain is a center for popularizing science.The Science Center is housed in the old Pavilion of Peru , a building of great beauty that was built in the Maria Luisa Park for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.For twenty years the building housed the...
(Casa de la Ciencia Seville
), housed in the original Pavilion of Peru.
Adjoining the Science Center is the Teatro Lope de Vega Sevilla
, a small baroque-style theatre that was also built for the exhibition.