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A new view of Sevilla

May 9, 2011 – 1:41 pm

View of curving walkways, to bottom-most parasol, and Giralda and cathedral behind.

It’s finally open – the pasarela (walkway) on top of the Setas, otherwise known as Metropol Parasol, the mushroom-like amorphous structure of six linked shades in the centre of Seville. This is a building which has caused more controversy than anything since the Expo 92. It is claimed by the architect, Jurgen Meyer H, to be the largest wooden structure in the world, and also the largest structure held together by glue.

Get a close-up view of how the thousands of pieces were fitted together.

So was it worth the wait? Well, the view are stupendous. The walkway takes you around five of the six parasols, with 360-degree views of the city – you can easily spot the Giralda and the Cathedral, the Alamillo and Barqueta bridges, the Torre de los Perdigones, various churches, and old Expo 92 buildings, and the vista even stretches right up to the Aljarafe, the high area west of the city where I live.

Classic Giralda view from Metropol Parasol.

View from northern side of building, to calle Regina.

Every section of the walkway is gently curved, part of the whole structure’s trademark looping shape – even the benches on the plaza under the setas and the flower beds in the original square opposite have the same curvy design. It is on two levels – the first is where you get out of the lift, and where the panoramic restaurants will be, and the second, at the highest point of the entire structure, is the Mirador.

The two levels of walkway - the restaurants (below, not yet open), and the mirador above.

Seville old and new: traditional terracotta-tiled rooves contrast with the super-modern wooden structure of Metropol Parasol.

It’s a gently inclined walkway, sloping up and down with shallow steps on the steepest bits. The crowning glory, literally in this case, is the mirador (viewing point), a large circular area at the very top of the structure. This is the main photo spot, and this morning when I visited, thoroughly over-excited to be seeing it at last, there were more Canon SLR cameras with zoom lenses than at a press call with Sr Monterseirin, our soon-to-be ex-mayor, the driving force behind this project.

The Mirador, with spectacular panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Metropol Parasol has been slowly rolled out, so to speak; the ground floor market was inaugurated in December; the scaffolding was removed in April, allowing us to see the structure in its full glory; Plaza Mayor, the first-floor concert space, was opened soon after; now it’s the Skywalk (although I haven’t seen this name, from the original design proposal, used in the advertising), which, together with the Antiquarium archaeological museum, opened last week. Next, the ground-floor shops and restaurants next to the market, then finally the restaurants below the Mirador, though from what I could see when I peeked through the window, they’ve barely even started yet.

This will be one of the restaurants with the best views in Seville.

This walkway and mirador has been open for a week now, since last Tuesday, and my ticket was number 3672. With Feria last week, the visitor numbers have not been high, although it was claimed that 1000 visitors arrived on its opening day. Being English, I arrived just before 10am, when it opens (10am-2pm), and there was no queue. Weekends and evenings (hours are 5-9.30pm) will be much busier, and there are only two small lifts to accommodate those wishing to enjoy the marvellous views. So my tip would be: have an early breakfast and get there when it opens. Having said that, sunset from up there must be quite a sight.

And finally, if you do live in or near Seville, or are in the city this week, it’s still free for a few days more (staff refused to confirm how many exactly, this being Spain). After that, Seville residents (ie with a city address on their DNI, or ID card) can get in gratis, and the rest of us have to pay 2 euros. Well worth the price – get thee to Plaza de Encarnacion now, and be uplifted to the pasarela - it’s lovely and breezy too, perfect for a hot day.

Next up: the Antiquarium, which is closed Sundays and Mondays, so I couldn’t visit it today. Although they have thoughtfully made the walls of glass, so I got a decent look at it while I was walking down the stairs to get to the lift.

Antiquarium, the archaeological museum under the Parasol.

  1. 16 Responses to “A new view of Sevilla”

  2. Great photos, Fiona. What a new view. Must be a super clear day in Sevilla today.

    By Bert Selby on May 9, 2011

  3. Thanks, Bert, yes I was lucky enough to have perfect shooting conditions. I hope you’ll be able to see the pasarela and mirador for yourself soon!

    By fiona on May 9, 2011

  4. Gives me vertigo just looking at the photos! But looks amazing – and the sun’s shining :-)

    By Mic on May 9, 2011

  5. Wow! Absolutely love it. Fabulously amorphic.

    By Sally on May 11, 2011

  6. We’re hoping to visit the south of Spain next summer! So excited! This looks like something we’ll have to visit!

    By Sonja on May 11, 2011

  7. Looks amazing! Will be going there next week so will definitely go to see it!

    By Adventure Spain on May 12, 2011

  8. I went last Friday evening just in time for sunset and I really enjoyed it. It’s great to see the city from a different angle. Definitely somewhere to take visitors.

    By Clare on May 18, 2011

  9. Great idea, did you take any snaps? What time was sunset, as I would like to see it from there one day.

    By fiona on May 18, 2011

  10. We got there about 8.30, queued for a bit and I think we got up to the top bit about 9. We came down about 9.30, there are signs up asking people to only stay up there for 20 minutes! When we got to the bottom there was still a queue and the security guard was shutting the gate, so I hope everyone in the queue got to go up too, and weren’t turned away.

    We took a couple of photos on our phones, not too bad considering!

    By Clare on May 19, 2011

  11. I know, I saw the signs too, but paid no attention. I fancy going up at 9pm with some booze and having a discreet botellon. Until the restaurants open.

    By fiona on May 19, 2011

  12. Great photos. This looks absolutely extraordinary… and bizarre. How does it look from a distance? Does it blend in at all?

    By Vida London on May 19, 2011

  13. Thanks. You can’t see it from a distance, as it’s in an enclosed plaza. Only way to get view of whole structure is from the air – as in my earlier post. Or else, from the other side of the square, like in this post, but even then you can’t get all six parasols in. And no, it doesn't blend in at all. The architect said something about the concrete bases of the parasols being inspired by the trunk of an ancient ficus tree which was removed to make way for the building – pish posh. But it has its own identity now, apart from the buildings around it, as it's where people from Democracia Real Ya are meeting, so it really feels part of the city.

    By fiona on May 19, 2011

  14. Fiona: brilliant photos, stunning views. I still have to go up!!

    By Jo on May 22, 2011

  15. Thanks Jo – enjoy, when you do!

    By fiona on May 23, 2011

  16. We were in Seville for the first time in May and this was stunning. Our tour guide never mentioned it so we were very surprised when we saw it. The Roman remains were beautifully displayed too. They were getting ready to close when we arrived so we were not able to go up in the lift to the high walkways – a good reason to have another visit to this beautiful city. People in Seville away from the tourist areas were lovely and so helpful. Can’t wait to return.

    By chris webster on Jun 9, 2011

  17. Great to hear that you had such a good experience here – the walkways are certainly worth it, and might almost be more rewarding when you know the city a little better, so you can spot landmarks.

    By fiona on Jun 9, 2011

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