White pigeons scatter along the green fields; ducks, swans and peacocks flutter about, vying for visitor’s attention. Artificial fountains sprout their watery wings.
Bird of paradise spreads its bright orange leaves; deep blue spikes protrude within, affectionately held by the intense outer pink. Red carnations, Frangipani, Hibiscus, orchids, pink Spanish rose and Spanish poppy welcome spring in Maria Luisa Park.
Maria Luisa Park once home to some of the grandest mansions in Seville, now converted to Museums. Boasting to be one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, bordering Plaza de Espana.
One can easily be forgiven for thinking this is some fantastical made up location from a setting in ‘Game of Thrones’. Stretching along the vast expanse of the Guadalquivir River, cruising along viewing the Plazas that dot the landscape of the park.
Formerly the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo, generously donated to Seville in 1893. Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier began his invention of Maria Luisa Park in 1911. In preparation for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, the entire southern side of the city was redeveloped into a grand expanse of boulevards and gardens.
At the center of it all was Parque de Maria Luisa. The design played with the idea of
a ‘Moorish paradisiacal style’ composed of tiled fountains, walls, pavilions, benches, ponds and exhedras – a semi-circular recess replicating the Greek and Roman versions of a room opening up into a walkway, “ringed by curved high-backed stone benches”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exedra)
Home to Nature.
White pigeons and doves frequently flood this botanical garden, filled with native and exotic plants.
The large population of doves fills the part of Plaza de America, known as Parque de las Palomas – Dove Park.
Straddled by palms, orange trees, elms and Mediterranean pines. Fuente de los Leones – Fountain of Lions stands majestically as homage. Heads of lions sprout out water at each corner, with gazebos off to the side allowing visitors to sit awhile before continuing their exploration.
The trail takes you from fountains to green sanctuaries, climbing a small hill to admire the view that tries to encompass what the park offers. On one side, water stairs trickle back down to the green behemoth beyond.
Celebration of Human Accomplishment.
Monuments, fountains, and plazas dot themselves along the vast expanse. It is difficult to fully conjure up a worthy description of the imagery Maria Luisa Park contains.
34 hectares of land to explore. Strolling hand in hand with a lover, jogging along the many pathways that zigzag past nature’s artwork, or taking in the plazas on a horse-drawn carriage. Lost in a fairy-tale of Moorish buildings, fountains and pools.
Monte Gurgu, Pavilion of Alfonso XII, Literary monuments, Plaza de America where
you can buy food from vendors for the doves are just but a few amazing architectural marvels that boast of human ingenuity.
Amidst this entire splendor sits a little café, where supposedly the same family has been running it since the park opened in 1929.
Maria Luisa Park is an oasis, a gateway to popular tourist destinations, and a chance to immerse oneself in the spectacular marvel of when man meets nature and works together to bring about a masterpiece.
Maria Luisa Park and other locations in Seville sit center stage in my debut novel, Initiated to Kill, where a university student disappears every 6 days. Annabella Cordova finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy set to redefine history.