The Modern Metropol Parasol and Strolling through this Ancient City
Updated: Aug 7, 2020
In the old quarter of Seville in the barrio of Encarnación Regina in the Plaza de la Encarnación is a new architectural addition ...
Opened in 2011 is the Metropol Parasol, popularly known as the 'mushrooms of Seville' ('Setas de Sevilla') due to their shape which is representative of... mushrooms 😊.
It is said that the structure was built with the intention of it being a Guggenheim Bilbao - type landmark, to put Seville on the contemporary architecture map; this extraordinary, flowing structure consists of six huge linked parasols made of waffle-type inter-weaving wooden beams (said to be the world's largest timber-framed structure). It also has two concrete columns that hold the access elevators that go to the viewpoints on the second and third levels.. It measures 150 x 70 metres and is approximately 26 metres high. It was designed by the German architect Jurgen Mayer who said
‘The form of this building was inspired by the vaults of Seville's expansive cathedral – I wanted to create a "cathedral without walls" that would be "democratic" – and also by the handsome trees already in the square.’'
This sculptural wooden structure has an
archaeological museum at the underground level where Roman and Moorish remains discovered on site are displayed in a museum;
a market and a public events space at the street level and shaded by the parasols;
and on levels two and three are cafes, a restaurant and a rooftop walkway with several viewing points.
High above the city it was surprisingly peaceful to meander along the rooftop walkway and take in the beautiful panoramic views from both the designated view-points and by looking down and peeking through the holes in the waffle structure.
1 Panoramic view from the structure's highest viewpoint.
2 View from below showing the 'mushroom' stems and heads
3 Peeking through the waffle structure
4 Views from the top - the Seville Cathedral dominates the panorama and is very impressive
5-6 Anunciación church from top of Metropol Parasol
We strolled through the streets in the old quarter on several Saturday afternoons and early on a Sunday morning, when the sky was incredibly blue and the streets were very quiet .
We wandered along the Calle St Vincent early on a Sunday morning and came across the lovely church of San Vicente. This church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries over the remains of a Visigothic temple. It is supposedly built in the Gothic- Mudejar style although only the Gothic doorway is evident of this from the outside.
While strolling along the narrow streets of this ancient district we stopped at the Plaza de la Concordia in Seville where we rested for a while next to a rather lovely fountain.
On another Saturday we ambled along the Avenida de la Constitucion - with the picturesque horses and carriages lined up to take the tourists for the quintessential Sevilliano buggy ride. The entire avenue is beautiful, especially on a Saturday afternoon when you come across a lot of Sevillianos all dressed up and on there way to a wedding at one of the many churches in the area. Or the Seville City Hall which is shown below in the pictures taken in the Plaza Nueva.
The Plaza Nueva (completed as a plaza in1856) became very familiar to us as it was close to the school where we had Spanish lessons and where Alan began his CELTA (before Covid-19 stalled it) and during our break each morning we would walk to one of the cafes in the Plaza and order dos cafe con leche, por favour... and then stand outside the cafe to drink our coffee and people watch in this large tree-lined plaza - just like the local Sevillianos!
1-4 The church of San Vicente on Calle St Vincent
5,7 Plaza Fernando de Herrera where we we stopped for a coffee in the sun after visiting the Metropol Parasol.
6 Plaza De la Concordia
8-11 Plaza Nueva
12 Calle de Placentines
13 Avenida de la Constitucion