Balboa Park: Candy for your eyes amid a painful controversy!
If you are an out-of-towner, when you get here, you instantly become jealous. "Why can't they have a park like this in my hometown," you ask yourself.
But unless you live in San Diego, you are out of luck! There is only one majestically beautiful, Spanish-motif Balboa Park.
Walking around this park - with its "Spanish colonial revival" architecture, its gardens, its wide promenades, its fountains, its many museums and cultural centers, its outdoor cafes, its art galleries, its impressive equestrian statue - truly makes you feel like you could be in Spain.
Just when you thought San Diego couldn't be more Spanish, Balboa Park makes you think again.
It's bigger than New York's Central Park, so big that it also houses the renowned San Diego Zoo. But when you get to the main promenade - an area built and rebuilt to host two major world expositions - you feel like you are rewarding your eyes with Spanish candy.
The park's original design and construction were completed in 1919 for the World's Fair Exposition. But many of it's amazingly beautiful buildings have since been reconstructed by the city's park and recreation department. Outstanding!
you are surrounded by 16 museums, beautiful gardens, several performing arts venues - all in "Spanish colonial revival" architecture.
In the center of the most prominent promenade, you come up to an impressive equestrian statue where the
If you don't know better, since you are in Balboa Park, you naturally might assume that the rider must be Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, the park's namesake. And you would be terribly mistaken!
I knew it right away, because many times I have photographed and admired the original version of this statue in New York, outside of the Hispanic Society of America museum on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
From a distance, before I could read the inscription under the monument, I knew it was unmistakably El Cid Campeador, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, the legendary Spanish warrior of the //th century. By the way, I must say, the replica in San Diego is displayed much more prominently than the original in New York.
But if El Cid is here, I asked myself. Where is the statue of Balboa, the 16th century explorer who discovered the Pacific Ocean?
And that's where The Great Hispanic American Tour steps into a painful controversy.
Some historia: This park or the land allocated for public use - was created in 18?? However, it was known as City Park until the //// commission decided to name it after Balboa in 19??
They chose his name because, already having a Spanish motif park, they wanted a prominent Hispanic name. Besides, of all the conquistadors, Balboa was still recognized and honored in Latin America for being much more compassionate than other conquistadors who followed him.
The 23-foot tall statue represents the hero of Spain's war against the Moors, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, known as El Cid.