El Parque de María Luisa

As beautiful as they may be, most Spanish cities don´t actually enjoy a considerable amount of green space. While architectural ingenuity dazzles, natural escapes within urban areas have never truly become necessary public places. Even the most emblematic public parks in Spain’s two most important hubs — El Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid and Park Güell in Barcelona — were created for private use only (El Retiro essentially served as the Spanish royalty’s country playground between the 15th and 19th centuries before it was passed onto the city’s hands, and Park Güell was originally designed as what would have surely been the most psychedelic gated community in the world).

Such is the case of El Parque de María Luisa, most likely Sevilla´s most attractive and most popular public park. Originally belonging to royal heiress María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón at the end of the 19th century, the carefully manicured gardens still today feel like a special privilege for any visitor. Now, in a city where trees are noticeably scarce, a little jungle beckons — and your last name doesn´t have to be Bourbon or Hapsburg to take advantage of its offerings. Last Sunday, a regular guy like me was lucky enough to spend a 68-degree February afternoon in el María Luisa. I hope these photos express just how integral a public parks can be for the spirit of a city.

(Make sure to click on the photos for the detailed version of the image, for some reason the front page versions are pretty low resolution. This hadn’t happened with any of the photos I’d uploaded previously; if you know how to fix this, let me know…)

The park´s paths attract casual cyclists

Palm trees abound in the park

View of one of María Luisa´s many gardens

A dirt path in the park

Gazebo on the pond in el María Luisa

Horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs cruise the park´s main avenue

Cruising

maria luisa jungle

It´s like a jungle in here

maria luisa glorieta

One of María Luisa´s ¨glorietas¨ (circular plaza)

Typical scene in El Parque de María Luisa

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~ by lincolnbrody on February 10, 2011.

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