There are many cities in Spain with spectacular squares. Either by its architecture styles, the arched patio or holding a cathedral, squares in Spain are worth visiting. However, do not miss the oportunity of visiting some of the most spectacular squares in Spanish towns.
Today we travel across Spain in order to find the most charming squares. How many of them have you already visited?
The majesty of the Plaza de España in Sevilla delight everybody who visits it. It is not only one of the most spectacular squares in Spain, but also a true masterpiece. Designed by architect from Seville Aníbal González, it was finished in 1929 on the ocassion of the Ibero-American Exposition held that year. The aim was to express the twinning between Spain and América. It has a semicircle shape and is accompaigned by a beautiful canal with four bridges.
Located in the María Luisa Park, the Plaza de España is full of unique nocks such as its 48 banks, although it should be 50. Nevertheless, when the square was designed, the Canaries just had a province. Furthermore, Sevilla already had lot of protagonosim in the square, so it does not have its own bank either.
Above these banks, 48 busts are placed in the same way. They represent the importance of different illustrious figures of Spanish society. Thus, some of those that appear are El Greco, Lope de Vega, Velázquez, Isabella I of Castile, Calderón de la Barca, Quevedo, Cervantes, Góngora and Goya, among others.
The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca must appear among the most spectacular squares in Spain. It is the nerve centre of the city and a very striking Baroque building. Moreover, it is a very beautiful square, specially when it lights up at night. Dating back from the 18th century, it was designed by architect Alberto Churriguera. However, some alterations took place at the beginning of the 19th century .
Its 88 round arches on which three-storey buildings and more than 400 balconies stand call everybody attention. The arches are alternated with repersentations of popular people from history of Spain. The square holds the City Council and the Royal Pavilion.
One of the most popular establishments in the Plaza Mayor is the Café Novelty, to which famous writer Miguel de Unamuno used to go.
The material used to build the square was mainly stone from Villamayor. This stone was also used to build other important buildings in Salamanca. That is why they all have that singular colour and texture.
The alignment of stlyes in the square make a special composition. Recently restored, it is believed that the square was built on some old islamic houses located near the Alcazaba wall. The market was settled there during Middle Ages. The Jewish quarter was in the vincinity. Its Mudejar arches and its bright colours stand out.
It is one of the most spectacular squares in Spain where two different areas can be observed. On one hand, on the north is the oldest part, influenced by the Medieval. On the other hand, on the south is the more modern part.
There are monuments and houses around the Plaza Alta such as the Alcazaba and Mudejar Houses, the Town Hall and the Tower of Espantaperros. Restoration of the square has meant the recovery of the commercial and tourist activity of it.
Also known as Plaza del Pilar, the Plaza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is one of the most crowded spaces in Zaragoza. There is located the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, one of the most important Marian temples in the world. The most outstanding characterisctic of the interior is the chapel of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, as it is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Spain.
However, the square holds two cathedrals, Nuestra Señora del Pilar and the Cathedral of Salvador o La Seo. It is a representative building of Mudejar in Aragón. Therefore the square sometimes received the name of Plaza de las Catedrales (Cathedrals square). The City Council, the Lonja, the monument to Goya, the Fountain of La Hispanidad and several courts are also located in this square.
In the heart of Madrid, a few meters from the Puerta del Sol, is the monumental Plaza Mayor. Thanks to its 129 metres long by 94 wide, it is not suprising that it is one of the most spectacular squares in Spain. Nevertheless, it has not always had that name. Plaza del Arrabal was its original name. Later on, it was also known as Plaza Real, Plaza de la Constitución and Plaza de la República.
It holds several outstanding elements. Firstly, the Statue of Philip III. It was built in 1616 as a gift from the Duquis of Florence to the Spanish King. It was moved at the middle of the 19th century from Casa de Campo, where it was located until that time.
Secondly, the Casa de la Panadería. It is the most important building of the square and the first one to be built there. It even was the first bakery of the town. From then on, it has been used as Town Hall, Municipal Library and Tourism Office (currently working). The Spanish painter Carlos Franco decorated its facade.
Thirdly, the Arco de Cuchilleros. Of the nine access doors in the Plaza Mayor, this arch is the most popular. Its name comes from Cuchilleros Street, to which it opens.
At Christmas, the Plaza Mayor becomes a huge Christmas market filled with small shops where buying handicraft, toys and local products.
The Plaza del Obradoiro is a must-see in Santiago de Compostela. It is believed that its Galician name comes from the workshops of the stonemasons who worked on the construction of the Cathedral’s facade. Thus, the Santiago Cathedral stands as a temple that greets the more than 320 thousand pilgrims who walk the Way to Santiago every year.
Thus, the buildings and monuments surrounding the square are a sample of different architectural styles that have occurred in its more than 700 years of construction. This gives the Plaza del Obradoiro a particular charm.
The Romanique Cathedral, the Gothic-Renaissance Cloister of the Cathedral, the Late Gothic and early Renaissance Hostal of the Catholic Monarchs, the Renaissance Colegio de San Xermoe with its Late Gothic facade and the Neoclassical Raxoi Palace. Moreover, the Medieval towers of the facade have Gothic finishings.
The rectangular patio of the Plaza de la Corredera in Córdoba stands out for its lenght and its porticoed with three level buildings. This type of construction is unique in Andalusia, as it is usually more typical of Castile.
Its function have changed over the years and since its construction in the 17th century. At the beginning it was used as bullring, then a place for religious events. It was even a place where the executions took place during the French invasion. Then, it became the current square.
It is believed that the Plaza de la Corredera is located on an old area occupied by the Roman Circus since some mosaics have been found in the area.
Located in the Gothic neighbourhood, the Plaza del Rey is one of the squares that could easily be classified as a gem. Its Gothic and Rennaissance style make it stunning. Most of the buildings there are part of the Palacio Real Mayor (Grand Royal Palace), the former residence of the Counts of Barcelona as well as the Kings of Aragón.
Thus, there is the Salón de Tinell, on which the tower of the view point of King Martin was built. Although the Gothic style predominates, at the base of the building there are Roman and Visigothic remains.
On the other hand, the palatine chapel of Santa Ágata. It was built on the old Roman wall and dates back from 1302. Inside is the altarpiece of Peter, Constable of Portugal. Morover, the Palace of Lloctinet, that is to say, the Palace of the Deputy built in 1549 is also part of the complex. It also has a beautiful Rennaisance patio.
Lastly, the Casa Padellàs, from 16th century. It was originally located in the Mercaders street, but it was later moved to this square. Remains of the old Roman wall were found during the relocation. As a result, the History Museum was created.
The Plaza Alfonso II El Casto, also known as Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral square), is one of the most beautiful squares in Oviedo. It is home to the Gothic Cathedral of San Salvador.
The Garden of the warrior-kings and the Baroque Palace of Valdecarzana and Heredia (declared a Historic Artistic Site). The Palace was built in 1627, although it was later renovated. There lived the marquisis of Valdecarzana-Heredia, as it is proven by the coat of arms placed in the central part of the facade.
In addition, there is an sculpture that commemorate the writter Leopoldo Alas Clarín and it represents Ana Ozores, the protagonist of its book La Regenta.
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento is one of the most significant spaces, where three of the most relevant buildings in the city are located. They are Town Hall, the seat of the city council, the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. The construction of the City Hall had the aim of establishing a relationship with the most representative buildings, it was not a coincidence. In order to find out about the origin of this square, we must go back to the year 1339.
Although the layout of the square is irregular, the buildings there are impressive. Firstly, there is the beautiful Cathedral of Toledo, a jewel of the Gothic. However, from the square only a part of the temple can be seen, specifically a tower composed of eight bells that dates from the 15th century. The Archbishop’s Palace, on the other hand, has an elaborate facade dating from the Renaissance, although it was renovated in the 18th century.
Finally, the City Hall of Toledo, an original design by Juan Herrera, in which architects such as Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli, El Greco’s son, and Vergara del Pozo also participated.
*Main photo: JMBADAJOZ
By: María Jesús Colombo