After visiting the world famous bullring, the Plaza de Toros, the next stop on our first afternoon in Seville was decidedly less steeped in history and tradition. In fact, Sevillanos are split in their opinion of the newest architectural icon in the city: contemporary artistic landmark or unsightly blight crammed in alongside traditional centuries-old buildings. Me? I loved it.
The Metropol Parasol is known locally as Las Setas de la Encarnación: the “mushrooms of Encarnación” on account of the six parasols of the structure resembling giant mushrooms. Back in 2004 the city of Seville decided to redevelop a public square which had sat dormant since the mid 1970s. Designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer, one of the main design ideas behind the structure was to create shade, a precious commodity in Seville. The structure is the world’s largest made of wood to be held together by glue. Yes, glue.
For me, the allure of visiting the Metropol Parasol at the Plaza de la Encarnación was the ability to walk around the top of the structure to take in the panoramic views over Seville. Putting out of my mind that this waffle like structure is held together by glue (super, super strong glue), we took a quick elevator ride to the top and walked out to breathtaking views:
Looking out over the city was a study in juxtaposition. Standing on an undeniably modern edifice, we looked out over buildings with centuries upon centuries of history:
The most striking view was due south over two of the city’s most beautiful and famed churches – the Seville Cathedral and its striking tower furthest in the distance and the Iglesia del Salvador just in front and to the right of the cathedral.
While on top of the Metropol Parasol, it was hard not to immediately think “waffles”. The walking path over the top of the structure winds in and out of the undulating parasols. The structure itself is quite something to behold from this perspective.
From a vantage point just a touch under 100 feet above the ground, there are unique views down onto the Plaza de la Encarnación and narrow alleys leading off of it. I enjoyed watching the ebb and flow of daily life in Seville from this perch.
As much as the view of Seville from this perspective is the draw, I found myself almost equally enthralled by the structure itself. The walkway seemed to be designed in such a way that every view contained at least a slice of the parasol/waffle/mushroom.
This was a wonderful place to wrap up our first day in Seville (at least the part before a meal and some wine!). By my smile in the picture below, you can tell I’ve already fallen for the city, something that would only deepen over the days ahead.