In 1928 Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition. Many participating countries built pavilions to house their exhibits. These buildings remain today and are now used for other purposes. Spain’s contribution to the exhibition, the Plaza de España, covers 11 acres and is the largest and most famous of the pavilions.
Seeing Plaza de España for the first time with no background information is a bit confusing. Constructed in a mix of 1920s Art Deco and ‘mock Mudejar’ and Neo-Mudéjar styles, the complex gives the impression of a palace courtyard or the plaza mayor of a large city. It seems historic. At the same time, the location of Plaza de España, away from the center of town and on a park, doesn’t fit a historical purpose. In this sense it is a little like a visit to a country pavilion at the World Showcase in Disney’s Epcot. In both places the buildings look right from the distance but the location doesn’t fit. For the Plaza de España, it is even more perplexing as the Disney-esque Spanish-looking structures are actually in Spain.
Real or faux, Plaza de España is striking. Indeed, with the help of CGI, the surreal plaza was used a location for two Star Wars movies, The Phantom Menace and the Attack of the Clones. The plaza can also be seen in Lawrence of Arabia and The Dictator.