The María Luisa Park is one of the main lungs of the city of Seville and the first urban park. With 34 hectares in size, it is a perfect place for locals and visitors to rest under the shade of a grove, walk with friends and family on the trails or sit and enjoy the birds chirping in a hidden gazebo. But, what is the History of María Luisa Park?
It is necessary to go back to the XIX century, in the year 1849, when the Dukes of Montpensier, Antonio de Orleans and María Luisa de Borbón, decide to settle in Seville and turn into their residence the old Seafaring School, nowadays San Telmo Palace. To beautify their palace, they decided to commission the French gardener Lecolant to create a large garden on the grounds adjoining his residence. Lecolant designed a park in the style of the moment, the English landscaping, but also gave it oriental touches, decorated it with archaeological remains owned by the dukes and, of course, helped with the French formalism.
But it was already in 1893 when the Duchess, now a widow, decided to donate a large part of her gardens to the city of Seville. And it is the town hall that asks him to trace transversally a junction between the riverbank and the grounds of the old convent of San Diego, giving the current Paseo de María Luisa. But the future of the old private gardens of the dukes would begin to change a few years later.7
In 1909 he began to devise the realization of the Ibero-American Exhibition and the City offered the grounds around the park including it in the plans. Finally it was accepted and the main architect of the Exhibition was Aníbal González. Not only the city received a great reform but also the park itself. The person in charge of this was Jean-Claude Nicolás Forestier, a French engineer and conservator of parks and gardens in Paris.
The park was inaugurated on April 18, 1914 and Forestier takes as a center of the whole composition a large part of the core of the previous garden designed by Lecolant, constituted by the axis that joins the islet or pond of the ducks and the mound of the Gurugú. Respecting the walk of Maria Luisa, Forestier reinforces that axis with the execution of the lotus pond, in one of its headwaters, and with that of the fountain of the Lions at the foot of the Gurugú, reconditioning the pond of the ducks. As an articulation of the entire available surface, it creates two large parallel avenues: the so-called Pizarro avenue and the Hernán Cortés avenues, in addition to one that crossed them, the so-called Rodríguez Casso Avenue, which planned to open the park towards the Prado de San Sebastian. The construction of the Plaza de España, turned it into a privileged axis of access to it.
In addition, among the French landscaping, its adaptation to the South and the typical regional environment of that time, made the roundabout the basis of its composition. Its marked local character despite the origin of the one who designed the park, reflected, for example, in the use of traditional materials such as brick and ceramics, makes it a significant exponent of what were the first decades of the 20th century for art and architecture in the city of Seville, whose greatest exponent is the Sevillian regionalism and its greatest ambassador was Aníbal González.
As we spoke at the beginning of this article, it is a park full of corners with their respective secrets, which any person should discover in his visit to Seville. María Luisa's park schedule is: Every day, from 8:00 am to 12:00 am.
Therefore if you want to know more about it come to our free tours of the Historic Center of Seville, where we end with the icing on the cake of the visit that are the Plaza de España and the María Luisa Park. You can make your reservation through the web freetoursevilla.es. We wait for you at 11:00 every day in Plaza Nueva.
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María Luisa Park schedules
Sevilla Free Tours
Desde 2013, Sevilla Free Tours es la empresa líder de las visitas guiadas en la ciudad, más de 40.000 clientes han disfrutado de nuestras rutas, la gran mayoría de ellos repiten en nuestros diferentes tours guiados por la ciudad. Esto nos ha llevado a convertirnos en una empresa referente en la ciudad y la popularidad de nuestro trabajo nos ha llevado a la excelencia en Sevilla.