Espana Square, Seville

Espana ‘Square’

This astonishing construction in Seville is actually a semicircle 200 metres in diameter with two huge stylised towers at each end, like the skeleton of a Roman amphitheatre but without the seats.

Beneath the balustrades of the colonnades that line the inner walls are large square niches decorated with beautifully designed and sumptuously coloured tiles.

These niches are arranged in alphabetical order and graphically represent Spain’s 54 provinces. Each province is identified by its shield and provincial map, and in their arches are medallions with the busts of famous figures from Spanish history.

Provincial niches

There’s an esplanade and fountain at the centre which are spectacularly lit up at night. The Spanish love promenading in the evenings and whole families are to be seen wandering around Espana Square well into the early hours, toddlers and all, throughout the working week.

Apparently Spain is stubbornly resisting calls to work set EU hours and forget their siestas and relaxing evening walks, and quite right too. Let the Germans do all the work.

I bought an attractive painting here a few years back, a still life of oranges and a tankard by a local artist called Jose. He is extremely prolific and can knock out anything up to 25 paintings in a single day, made to order whilst you watch. When you consider that the likes of Rembrandt and Caravaggio frequently took weeks or even months to paint just one picture you start to appreciate what a treasure the residents of Seville have in Jose.

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