Metropol Parasol

Pl. de la Encarnación, s/n, 41003 Sevilla, Spain

Spaniards may be divided in their opinions on the design of this four-level, five-pillared, wavy honeycomb structure, but few miss the grim parking lots it replaced. Now, in addition to much-needed shady plaza space, the Metropol Parasol houses a market and restaurant, as well as elevated terraces and walkways along the undulating top which offer amazing views. Underground, the recently reopened Museo Antiquarium incorporates into its collection extensive Roman ruins uncovered during construction.

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A Mushroom-Top View of Seville

For a different perspective on Seville, Spain‘s fourth-largest city, wander off the main tourist path to Plaza de la Encarnación, where you’ll find one of the city’s most bizarre-looking landmarks, the Metropol Parasol, opened in April 2011. More popularly known as Las Setas de la Encarnación or just Las Setas (“The Mushrooms”), it’s a waffle-patterned complex of six connected wooden structures that do indeed rather resemble mushrooms. Like the parasol it is officially named for, the building provides shade in this often sweltering city - unless, of course, you’re up on the roof strolling along the winding observation pathway, which offers interesting views of the city. To the south, Seville’s massive Gothic cathedral dominates the horizon, while to the north Santiago Calatrava’s distinctive Alamillo Bridge is visible in the distance. When construction began on the Setas project workers uncovered ruins from the Roman and Moorish eras. Much of the archaeological site has been preserved as a museum beneath the new structure.

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