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Posts from the ‘Museums’ Category

Seville | Metropol Parasol

Most people who come to Seville for the sightseeing, and to absorb the unique atmosphere of the city have in mind its late mediaeval heritage sites, the Cathedral, the Reales Alcazares (Royal Palaces), and perhaps the Archivos de Indias. Throw in the Old Jewish quarter (Barrio Santa Cruz), Plaza España, and a quick visit to Triana across the river, and Bob’s your uncle – job done.

IMG_7554Plaza Encarnación and the Metropol Parasol

Or at least, almost. The Metropol Parasol, to give them their proper name (they’re also known as las Setas or the Mushrooms), are Seville’s contribution to modern, avant-garde architecture and can come as something of a surprise if you stumble upon them unexpectedly. The swooping umbrella shaped lattice structure comprises six parasols, and rises about 26 metres above the ground, and is, in fact, the world’s largest wooden structure. It was designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, who won the competition for a building to complete the redevelopment of the Plaza de la Encarnación, and after six years of work was completed in April 2011.

view metropol parasolView from the top of the Parasol

The shape was said to have been inspired by the vaults of the cathedral roof, and by the giant fig trees in the nearby Plaza Cristo de Burgos. Predictably, the design, location, delays and cost overruns made it a controversial project, but now it’s completed its eyecatching shape and open spaces have helped to restore the economic and social life of the neighbourhood.

1-038-mar182014 041The Parasols at Night

Like the city itself, the site of the Metropol Parasols is something of a historical layer cake. The name of the square, Plaza de la Encarnación, derives from the Convent of the Incarnation, an order of Augustinian nuns, which was located here from 1591 until its demolition in the early 19th century (the order then moving to its present home in the Plaza del Triunfo). In about 1840 the city’s central provisions market was established here, continuing in operation until 1973, when the building, by then in a ruinous state, was demolished as part of an urban renewal project. The stallholders were moved to “temporary” accommodation in the northeast corner of the square, where they were to languish for the next 37 years.

060-mar182014 019Roman fish salting works – Antiquarium

The site of the original market was left abandoned until 1990, when work on the construction of underground parking for a new market began, only to be halted shortly afterwards by the discovery of Roman ruins beneath. These can now be seen in the Antiquarium, the museum in the basement of the complex, and include a fish salting factory, esidential buildings and some well preserved mosaics. It’s well worth a visit, and is a nice contrast to the modern structure above. At ground level is the market, reinstalled in a modern market hall in its original location, and the main commercial hub of the neighbourhood. The roof of the market hall forms a plaza which holds various public events, such as small concerts and the christmas fair. From the basement take a lift up to the bar and walkways on the top of the structure for great views across the city.

IMG_7553Seasonal mushrooms in the market of the Mushrooms

Almost next door, our holiday apartments in Calle Laraña have views of the Mushrooms and are within easy walking distance of other sights and facilities.

Seville | Casa Pilatos

IMG_7174Main entrance on Plaza de Pilatos

With the obvious exception of the Royal Palaces of the Alcázar, the Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House) is the largest and historically most important of the grand palaces of Seville, and is still the family home of the Dukes of Medinaceli. It can be found in the eastern part of the old city, between the Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina, in the Plaza de Pilatos.

Construction of the palace (originally the Palacio de San Andrés) was begun in 1483, at the transition of the mediaeval to the early modern period, by Pedro Enriquez de Quiñones and his second wife Catalina de Rivera, and was continued by their son Fadrique Enriquez de Rivera, 1st Marquis of Tarifa. In 1519 Fadrique went on a pilgrimage to the holy places of Jerusalem, returning in 1520 by way of Italy, both of which experiences greatly influenced him. The following year he instituted the Holy Way of the Cross as a reproduction of the original in Jerusalem, starting from the palace (which became known as the Casa de Pilatos) and leading to the Cruz del Campo (the Cross in the Field), which can still be seen in the modern suburb of Nervion, and which lends its name to the local beer, Cruzcampo, which used to be brewed nearby.

IMG_7180Main courtyard with fountain and statuary

Entrance to the Palace is through an Italian Renaissance style gate of the early 16th century, which leads into the apeadero (a reception courtyard for carriages), and beyond that to the Patio Principal, a typical Andalusian courtyard paved with marble, an Italian marble fountain, and colonnades decorated in the Mudejar (Moorish) style. The courtyard is adorned with the busts of twenty four Spanish kings and Roman emperors, with four of the most important pieces of the Palace’s collection of sculptures in the corners.

On the far side of the courtyard is the Palace chapel, known as the Chapel of Flagellation for its central statue of Christ being whipped. Built and decorated in the Mudejar-Gothic style, it’s possibly the oldest room in the palace. To the right is the Praetor’s room, which although a slightly later product of alterations to the courtyard, is notable for the mudejar decoration of its walls, and the beautiful caisson coffered ceiling with the coats of arms of the family line.

IMG_7222Ceiling of the Praetor’s study

Beneath the tower is the Praetor’s study, which connects the courtyard with the large garden. The walls are covered with ceramic tiles in a number of different patterns and there is a superb ceiling with a ten sided star in the centre.

The grand staircase is probably the most magnificent part of the building, connecting the more public space of the patio with the private family quarters on the upper floor. Sumptuously decorated with colourful tiles, its crowning glory is the mudejar honeycomb ceiling, modelled on the one in the Ambassador’s room in the Alcázar. The upper floor itself recreates the interior of the house palace with mudejar plasterwork and ornate wood ceilings and contains artworks by Francisco Pacheco, Goya and Luca Giordano, among others.

IMG_7229Grotto in the large garden

My favourite parts of the palace, though, are the two gardens. The large garden, originally the orchard, was created in the second half of the 16th century by an extension of the palace to enclose it. The layout and decoration are in the Italian renaissance style, complete with a grotto in one corner, and niches for the archaeological exhibits shown there. The small garden (el Jardin Chico) was created from two small gardens in the early 20th century, and has a pool that was once fed by water from the Roman aqueducts, a rare privilege enjoyed by few, and which made owning a garden a sign of social distinction.

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The charming Jardin Chico

Casa de Pilatos
Plaza de Pilatos, 1
Tel: +34 954 225 298
Website
Opening Times: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (7.00 pm Apr-Oct)
Price 8 euros including audioguide and guided tour of upper floor

Seville | Noche en Blanco (sleepless night) 2015

noche-blanco-sevilla

“Noches en blanco”, literally meaning Nights in White, but here used colloquially to mean sleepless nights, have become increasingly popular around Spain in recent years, including here in Seville, where the fourth annual Noche en Blanco event will be held on the evening of Friday, October 2, starting around 8 pm and continuing into the small hours of the morning. It’s organised by the Association Sevillasemueve in conjunction with many of the city’s monuments, museums and theatres, as well as tour companies and guides, with the purpose of promoting Seville’s rich cultural life to as wide an audience as possible.

The night visits and tours allow you to see monuments and museums in a different light (both literally and figuratively), and some will give access to parts of buildings normally closed to the public. Among this year’s top attractions are guided tours of the Cathedral, Los Venerables, the Archives of the Indies, the Antiquarium, Saint George’s Castle (headquarters of the Inquisition), and the Triana ceramics centre and museum, as well as exhibitions at the Casa de Murillo, Casa de la Provincia, Contemporary Arts Centre and Santa Ines Monastery.

noche blanco flamenco

Musical events include flamenco at the Casa de la Memoria and Casa del Flamenco, and a rock concert at the Mudejar Museum.

If you want to know more about Seville there’s a wide range of themed walking tours through the night time streets that will introduce you to aspects of the city you didn’t know existed.

The full programme of events can be found here.

If you’re coming to Seville on holiday, renting one of our apartments will give you the flexibility to stay out as late as you like. Have a good weekend.

Seville | Bellas Artes Museum

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Bartolomé Murillo – The Immaculate Virgin

It may not be as grand and prestigious as the Prado or the Pompidou, but Seville’s Fine Arts Museum still houses one of Spain’s most important collections of works of art (mostly paintings, but also sculptures and engravings), and does so on a human scale that can be enjoyed without having an in-depth knowledge of art.

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Statue of Murillo – Plaza del Museo

The Museum can be found about five minutes walk away from the commercial centre, not far from the river, in the Plaza del Museo, a charming formally laid out square with marble benches, orange trees, two giant Moreton Bay Fig trees, and a statue of Bartolomé Murillo, probably Seville’s most famous painter. On Sunday mornings there’s a local art market here. Come along for a browse, and maybe you’ll be able to buy an early work by the next Michaelangelo (well, we can all dream).

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Courtyard – Bellas Artes Museum

The building itself is stunning, and is almost as much a reason for coming here as the artwork. It originally belonged to the Convent of the Order of the Merced Calzada de la Asunción, founded on the site by Saint Peter Nolasco shortly after the reconquest of Seville by the Christians in 1248, but the building we see today, with the galleries arranged on two floors around three quiet courtyards and a central staircase, dates back to the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and was largely the work of Juan de Oviedo. The garden courtyards are a great place to just sit and relax a while before or after seeing the collection.

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Alonso Vazquez – The Last Supper

The Museum was founded in 1839, following La Desamortización (Ecclesiastical Confiscations – the Spanish version of the English Dissolution of the Monasteries), and many of the artworks in the Museum originally came from religious buildings seized by the government at that time. The emphasis of the collections is on Spanish, and particularly Sevillano, painters and sculptors, from the late Mediaeval period to the early 20th century, including the Golden Age of Seville in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the wealth generated by trade with the New World encouraged the flourishing of arts and the intellectual life in general. The Museum has works by over a hundred artists, including such luminaries as Murillo, Zurbarán, Valdés Leal, Goya and the Herreras.

If walking’s not your thing, you can rent a holiday house or apartment in the next street. Relax and enjoy!

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Monsalves Town House

Malaga Update

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View from San Nicolas apartment

I haven’t written anything about Malaga recently, so following a short visit there I thought it was time for an update on things to do, where to eat, and a quick look at some of our new apartments.

First up are three museums, which while not new, I’ve just recently visited. The Museum of Glass and Crystal is a fascinating exhibition with around 3,000 pieces spanning some 2,000 years of the art of glass making, set on the first two floors of a charming 18th century private residence (the owners live on the upper floors), complete with paintings, period furniture and a typical courtyard. In an hour-long visit you will be taken on a guided tour by one of the owners, whose enthusiasm and knowledge make this one of Malaga’s best small museums.

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Beautiful decorated glass from the Glass and Crystal Museum

Next was the Interactive Music Museum. For anyone, of any age, with an interest in music and musical instruments this is a must-see, with more than a thousand exhibits from around the world and through the ages. Unlike the “please don’t touch” rules of most museums, the slogan here is “please play them” (in Spanish tocar means both to touch and to play a musical instrument, so it’s a kind of pun), and each section of the museum has a space where you can experiment with some of the instruments and watch videos of others in use.

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Paco de Lucia and Robert Johnson – Interactive Music Museum

My personal favourite though, was the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. This can be found in the 17th century Posada (coaching inn) de la Victoria, which has been lovingly restored to preserve most of its original appearance. From the moment I went in I was completely charmed, and spent a happy hour wandering through rooms devoted to the daily working life of a Malaga house, the kitchen, bakery and dining room, and others to local crafts and industries, notably fishing, wine making, and olive oil production. Upstairs is a complete change of style, with rooms showing the family life of the 19th century bourgeoisie, and exhibitions of ceramics and religious objects. The friendly greeting from the receptionist also helped to make this a really enjoyable experience.

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Olive Mill – Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions

On the eating front I can hardly believe that I had never been to legendary churro outlet Casa Aranda. You have to have breakfast here at least once during your stay, and follow it with brunch at one of the bustling bars in the Atarazanas Market. Also new and worth going to are the Croqueteria Añil (more than just croquettes of course), Café Estraperlo, La Luz de Candela (Candlelight) and Óleo, the Sushi-fusion bar in the Contemporary Arts Centre (not new, but new to me). Our top rated new find was the El Señor Lobo café, essentially a burger and sandwich joint in the Soho barrio. Genuinely new (it’s only been open a few weeks) I really wish it every success. With good food, humourous wall scrawlings, and a wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic owner it certainly deserves it.

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the “Kevin Bacon” sandwich at Sr Lobo

We are also pleased to announce that Veoapartment has several top quality new one and two bedroom holiday apartments available for rent in Malaga. Los Alamos and Madre de Dios 2 are both near the famous Plaza Merced in the historic centre with easy access to monuments and beaches. San Nicolas, in the Malagueta (one of the central beach neighbourhoods), has stunning views of the Alcazaba and the harbour. The San Lorenzo and Martinez Campos complexes both feature 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and are located in the Soho neighbourhood, the triangle of land between the harbour, the historic centre, and the Guadalmina River, which has become famous for its street art.

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Apartment Martinez Campos 2