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Exploring Algarve with a side-trip to Seville

Seville Cathedral

Many Canadians travel to Portugal these days. The Algarve resort region on the South Coast is particularly popular. For travellers who may have already visited Lisbon, Air Transat offers direct flights to Faro—the main city in the Algarve region. Otherwise travellers can fly to Lisbon on Air Transat, Air Canada or Portugal’s TAP airline.

If one is visiting the Algarve region (of which an article is pending), a very worthwhile side trip is to Seville, Spain. It is about two and a half Hours by car and about four hours by bus. Bus fare is about 30 Euros each way and they run frequently.

Interior garden at Alcazar

Seville is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. It’s architecture reflects its occupation by the Moors up until the 1300’s.  Highlights include a magnificent cathedral, the Alcazar-a royal palace, and the Plaza De Espana.

The latter is particularly interesting, as it was the centerpiece of the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 -1930. Countries in attendance of the exposition included: Portugal, the United States, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile, the Republic of Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Each Spanish region and each of the provinces of Andalusia were also represented.

Plaza de Espana–the centrepiece of the 1929 Iberian Exposition

Unlike expositions of this type (New York World’s Fair 1964, Expo 67) many of the pavilions built for the Iberian expo have not been dismantled.

Art Deco Poster for 1929 Expo

The Spanish Square (Plaza de España) is certainly one of the most emblematic testimonies of this event. Designed in a semicircle 170 meters in diameter, it was built between 1914 and 1928. On its rounded side, it is closed by a long building bounded at its ends by two monumental towers 80 meters high. Ceramic frescoes adorn the building and represent each province of Spain. The building now houses several administrations as well as a military museum. It is bordered by a canal overhung by four bridges, connecting it to a central square adorned with a huge fountain.

The Argentina pavilion benefits from a prime location, the country having responded first to the event. This building now houses the Flamenco School of Seville .

The Guatemala pavilion is a small square-shaped building decorated with gray and blue tiles. This building has also become a dance school today.

The pavilion of Colombia, whose facade is flanked by two towers 18 meters high, has become the consulate of this country.

The Brazil pavilion, originally in the Baroque style, was extensively modified in 1935 and today belongs to the University of Seville.

Next door is the Mexico pavilion, inspired by Mayan culture. This building was also ceded to the University and houses its headquarters.

The United States has also erected a pavilion within the grounds of María Luisa Park. Typical of the Californian colonial style, only one building has been preserved out of the three originally built; it is now the seat of a contemporary art foundation.

American Pavilion Seville
Torre del Oro Tower

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