de Espana is a plaza in the Parque de Maria Luisa, built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929. It is a landmark example of the Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival styles of Spanish architecture.
Measuring 50,000 square metres, it is the size of 5 football ovals.
The Plaza has been used over the decades as a location for filming several movies, Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia and the latest Sasha Baron-Cohen film.
Today the building houses government offices. During the peak of summer the centre fountain area can reach up to 45 degrees C, while inside the building can reach 65 degrees C, as no air conditioning is available.
Beautiful ceramics surround the building, bridges, walls and balustrades.
All along the wall by the canal are 48 alcoves with benches, one for each province of Spain, each with a relevant tableau and map. All are designed on colourful azulejos (painted ceramic tiles).
By lunchtime the temperature had reached 37 degrees C and was rising. We spent a few hours after lunch in our room under the air con before exploring the opposite side of the river for dinner.