On the edge of Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville lies Parque de María Luisa, a large green space originally built for Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Within the park, Plaza de España was built to showcase technological innovation. Since the fair, it has been used for government offices, and as the set for the odd film or two.
The Plaza was first used in Lawrence of Arabia, which I’ve forgotten more about than I’ve remembered. Movie fan friends will give me grief for this admission. Especially since the film shot at places I’ve visited in both Spain and Morocco.
Moving on. In recent years, the Plaza was used as Naboo in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Admittedly, this is another film I’ve forgotten more about than I remember, but I did know about the location before visiting, and it was particularly exciting for me to walk the same path where R2-D2 was added with CGI.*
Having seen it in real life, the Plaza was CGIed to the point it was almost unrecognizable.
This is a shame, because the Plaza is equally strange and beautiful, and definitely otherworldly without Hollywood effects. It was meant to reflect Art Deco and Neo-Mudéjar, an early 20th century interpretation of more traditional Moorish-style architecture. The Plaza is embellished with tiles from Triana, across the Guadalquivir River known for its pottery, ceramics and flamenco.
The building is a semi-circle, framed with these ceramic-covered alcoves, one for each province in Spain. It was a hot, hot day when I visited, but I spent about 90 minutes going from alcove to alcove, taking in the amazing detail in each site.
While there isn’t a lot to do other than look at the building and explore the alcoves, the building and grounds are simply stunning. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you too can walk in R2-D2’s footsteps, or wheelie paths.
*Bonus: This video is too wonderful leave it unshared. It’s a side-by-side remake of the same scene from Star Wars, but shows the Plaza in its natural state… in a manner of speaking.