World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000245932
Reproduction Date:

Title: Plaza  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Olvera Street, Did you know nominations/Boljoon Church, Moundville Archaeological Site, Town squares, Baytown Site
Collection: Town Squares, Urban Design
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Plaza Mayor, Valladolid is a typical Spanish plaza.
Plaza de Bolívar is the largest plaza in Bogotá, Colombia, and home to one of the largest cathedrals in South America, the Cathedral of Bogotá.

A plaza is an open urban public space, such as a city square.[1]

Throughout Spanish America and the Spanish East Indies, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three closely related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be incorporated in a wing of a governor's palace, and the audiencia or law court. The plaza might be large enough to serve as a military parade ground. At times of crisis or fiesta, it was the space where a large crowd might gather. Like the Italian piazza, the plaza remains a center of community life that is only equaled by the market-place.

Most colonial cities in Spanish America and the Philippines were planned around a square plaza de armas, where troops could be mustered, as the name implies, surrounded by the governor's palace and the main church. A plaza de toros is a bullring.

In modern usage, a plaza can be any gathering place on a street or between buildings, a street intersection with a statue, etc. Today's metropolitan landscapes often incorporate the "plaza" as a design element, or as an outcome of zoning regulations, building budgetary constraints, and the like. Sociologist William H. Whyte conducted an extensive study of plazas in New York City: his study humanized the way modern urban plazas are conceptualized, and helped usher in significant design changes in the making of plazas.


  • Etymology of "plaza" 1
  • Examples 2
  • Buildings called 'Plaza' 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Etymology of "plaza"

Plaza (Castilian Spanish: ; or, Latin American Spanish: ) is a Spanish word, cognate to Italian piazza, Portuguese praça, Galician praza, Catalan plaça, Romanian piața, German Platz and French place (which has also been borrowed into English). The origin of all these words is, via Latin platea, from Greek πλατεῖα (ὁδός) plateia (hodos), meaning "broad (way or street)".[1]


The Zócalo (officially Plaza de la Constitución) has been the central gathering space of Mexico City since Aztec times.
Piazza De Ferrari in the heart of Genoa, Italy.
The plaza of Costilla, Taos County, New Mexico, United States, a plaza in a rural setting, 1943.



Buildings called 'Plaza'

The first purpose-built shopping center in the United States, opened in Kansas City, Missouri in 1922, knowingly took the name of "Country Club Plaza" and adopted Spanish architectural details.[2] More recently plaza has been used to describe a shopping complex, similar to a shopping mall, borrowing its connotations of a center of cultural life. The name is currently even applied to a single building with some semi-public street-level areas, often with a hotel or office tower above, while mall more often refers to multiple buildings or a street.

Examples: Pantip Plaza (Bangkok), Bintang Plaza (Miri), Kuching Plaza (Kuching), Plaza Las Américas (San Juan), Plaza de las Estrellas (Mexico City), Central Plaza (Hong Kong), Schiphol Plaza (Amsterdam), Plazas del Centro Comercial Santafé (Bogotá), The Plaza (Evergreen Park, Illinois), and Cityplaza, (Hong Kong).

Central Plaza, in Hong Kong, was for four years the tallest building in Asia, at 78 storeys, 374 m (1,227 ft).

See also


  1. ^ a b "plaza". Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Cole, Suzanne P.; Engle, Tim; Winkler, Eric (April 23, 2012). "50 things every Kansas Citian should know".  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.