I haven’t forgotten that I was going to write up a post about the Feria, that is on its way once I sort my photos out (I insist on putting them all through Photoshop before I even consider sharing them). In the meantime, I thought I’d share my thoughts on another part of my trip I was looking forward to: visiting Seville’s new Metropol Parasol.
I have been periodically taking photos of the site during its construction for a little while now, making sure I take a look at the site on each visit to the city. As well as looking forward to the Feria, I was also quite excited to see what the completed structure would look like. Probably more excited than the people of Seville – who, apparently, have given it a mixed reception (my father-in-law is not keen on it at all!). I guess this perhaps unsurprising given that Spain is undergoing an economic crisis (the phrase ‘the crisis’ is often used by Spaniards to describe the current economic situation) and money would probably be better spent on other projects in the city.
The structure itself is pretty impressive. It is both the largest wooden structure in the world and the largest structure in the world held together by glue. Yes, the only thing that keeps it together is glue. Given the temperatures Seville experiences during the summer, the glue had to be tested thoroughly to ensure it was up to the job. It’s quite amazing to think a structure of this scale could be held together by glue. Particularly when you consider that there is a rooftop platform to enable visitors to take in a view of the city. I’m not sure I would feel confident enough to go onto the roof – and that’s not even taking into account my fear of heights!
Underneath the construction there is a small market offering a wide range of fresh food (I saw the most enormous fish I think I had ever seen on one of the stalls). There are also places to eat and drink dotted around as well, with a small tapas bar at one end of the market. Above the market on the main floor of the Parasol there is a fairly decent space that has been designed to enable live performances and, below the market, you can view the remains of an old Roman House (discovered a few years before the site was built).
I have mixed feelings about the Metropol to be honest. A part of me loves it for the photographic opportunities it provides and for the welcome shade it offers from the searing Sevillian heat. A part of me thinks it is a little out of place in a city such as Seville – an old, historic city with little in the way of modern architecture in the main centre (you can see where it is sited on Street View here). I remember commenting at the time that I felt it would be more at home in a city like Valencia. That said, it certainly provides an interesting talking point in the city and I’m sure it will divide people for many years to come.
If you want to find out more about the Metropol Parasol, this article provides more information about the structure as well as some fantastic photos.