Layers Of History At The Metropol Parasol, Seville

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When construction workers in the old quarter of Seville unearthed a number of hitherto unsuspected Roman and Moorish buildings they were faced with a dilemma: preserve the ruins, or carry on with their building work. Luckily for us they chose to excavate the buildings and turn them into a museum, then build an extravagant structure on top. The result was the Metropol Parasol, an extraordinary piece of contemporary architecture.

Building The Metropol Parasol

The ruins beneath the ground turned out to belong to buildings spanning a huge period from the first century CE to the 12th century. The German architect Jürgen Mayer was brought in to redesign the site, creating a multi-purpose complex. The award-winning design combined an archaeological museum with leisure facilities and an eye-catching rooftop walkway.

The Metropol Parasol is a contemporary landmark in the heart of Seville. The distinctive design has led to it being known locally as Las Setas de Sevilla (the mushrooms of Seville).

Roof of an ultra modern structure looking out over the city.
The Metropol Parasol, a unique urban space

The Ancient Houses Of The Antiquarium

The ruins from the archaeological excavation site were incorporated into the foundations of the new structure. Today they form the basis of the Antiquarium in the basement of the building. Here you can see seven houses from different eras, from the ancient Roman period to the Moorish occupation. The site includes restored mosaic floors, original columns and wells, as well as parts of the old streets and even some fish salting vats.

Roman mosaic with a central face in a central circle.
One of many reconstructed mosaics in the archaeological site

The Central Market

The second layer of history is the Central Market, on the floor above the museum. This floor includes shops, restaurants, and the city’s new indoor food market, the Mercado de la Encarnación. The modern market hall occupies a purpose built space and is worth a visit just for its colourful displays of fruit, vegetables and other fresh foods. It also incorporates two small cafés.

Above this is the Plaza Mayor, a huge public space designed for entertainments, or just for sitting and meeting friends on a warm day.  

Metropol Parasol

The whole lot is topped off by the Metropol Parasol. A massive parasol in the shape of six giant mushrooms, this is supposedly the world’s largest wooden structure. What is startling about this is not just the weird design, but the fact that you can actually walk over the Parasol. Strolling along the strangely undulating pathways towards a viewpoint, you can take in spectacular views of the city before stopping in the rooftop café for tapas and a drink.  

Walking on the Metropol Parasol.
It is a bit like walking on a roller coaster!

Visiting The Metropol Parasol

  • The Metropol Parasol is in the Plaza de la Encarnación.
  • A lift is available to take you up to the top level.
  • There is an entrance charge for the Antiquarium and the Metropol Parasol.
  • It is possible to book a guided tour of Las Setas, with a visit to the rooftop and a VR presentation of the city in Roman times.
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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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