Seville – This is just the Plaza you’re looking for…
“I’d always feel better when I thought about the palace. The way it shimmers in the sunlight. The way the air always smells of flowers.”
So said Darth Vader when talking about Seville’s Plaza de España.
Or something like that – history gets so confusing.
What am I talking about? The impressively grand Plaza de España which doubles as Star Wars planet, Naboo, of course.
The semi-circular building is the backdrop for the arrival on Naboo of Padmé Amidala and a young Anakin Skywalker, still in his pre-Vader days, and features in the blockbusting film series’ Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
The scene was filmed in September 2000 and visitors to the site today can easily recognise the route taken by Anakin and Padmé.
Many Star Wars buffs even take the time to re-create the scene.
Back in the days before it was a Mecca for Star Wars fandom, Plaza de España was built as the centrepiece of the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929.
It was designed by architect Anibal Gonzalez to wow the Expo’s other exhibitors.
A canal, crossed by four bridges, lies in front of the building following the curve of its façade. In the centre of this is the Plaza itself.
Visitors can rent small boats to row in the canal, giving the area yet another identity: the ‘Venice of Seville’.
Coloured ceramics, featuring images from the 48 provinces of Spain, can be found around the outside of Plaza de España.
At one stage, these had fallen victim to children playing ball games against them, but in recent years they have been renovated and restored.
Based in the Maria Luisa Park, away from the hubbub of central Seville with its popular shops, bars and eateries, visitors to Plaza de España can spend hours relaxing in the sun, walking the courtyards and enjoying the smell of Seville’s distinctive orange trees.
In fact, young Anakin’s description is just about spot on…