Here’s a closer view of the Plaza De Espana, which I’ve posted on this site before. The moat is semi-circular and runs the length of the buildings in the plaza. People were renting row boats to travel from one end to the other. I think I even saw a small motorboat which seemed a little like overkill.
Wandering around the completely over the top Plaza de Espana it’s pretty obvious why so many movies (from Star Wars to The Dictator) have used this structure as a backdrop. This is the view looking out from the central entrance. It took me quite a while to figure out how to get the towers, light posts and fountains framed up under the archways. It involved sitting on the floor and ignoring the strange looks.
The Plaza de Espana has been used in a lot of movies. The one most referenced is Star Wars. However, I watched “The Dictator” a few weeks ago and felt like his palace was strangely familiar. Then, it cut to a close in view of the facade and I realized that they were using the Plaza De Espana, but had added a load of globes and towers on top of it with CGI.