Seville – Casco Antiguo – Las Setas in Plaza de Encarnacion

Regina is a central neighbourhood of the Casco Antiguo, north of Calle Imagen and its continuations.

Map of the barrio here. My interective map of the city here.

At its heart is Plaza de Encarnacion (ex Plaza Major, a former carpark) where we can see another famous symbol of the city, the Espacio Metropol Parasol, popularily known to Sevillanos as Las Setas (The Mushrooms)

Considered the world’s largest timber-framed structure, Las Setas are an example of Blobitechture, a post-modern style where buildings take on an organic, amoeba-shaped form. Other examples are the Guggenheim in Bilbao (post here) and the Selfridges Building in Birmingham city centre.

It’s a multi-level building housing a food market, the Mercado De La Encarnacion, on the ground floor and restaurants on the upper level. You can also walk across the roof in the day time (entrance €5 in 2020). I went as soon as it opened in the morning as it can get quite busy. With the roof to myself I could enjoy a peaceful 360 degree panoramic view of the city. Video here. The Giralda is the only other building in the Casco Antiguo where you could get such a good view. That said, there’s not much to see on the skyline, so maybe sunset would be a better time to go.

In the basement is an an ‘Antiquarium’ displaying the Roman ruins that were discovered during the construction of Las Setas. The outlines of the old buildings are mildly intriguing, and there is a nice mosaic, but as a former archaeologist I’m more interested to know what is under the Roman layers. We know more than enough about the Romans already so it would be more useful to find out what lies below. But then iron age buildings were generally built in wood so there wouldn’t be as much to see. Such are the conundrums of balancing commercial and scientific interests.

They’ve stuck a small modern art room in as well to make the entrance fee more palatable (only €2 in 2020).

So there’s lots going on here in this unique multi-purpose building even if none of it is particularly practical. But then it only cost €100 million (twice its budget) so what do you expect. I do quite like its blobbiness though.

Next, some places to eat nearby…

Leave a Reply