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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

The Lovers Bench
13 January 2021 @ 11:01

 

 

The beautiful "Parque de la Alameda" Santiago de Compostela is reminiscent of a country estate, anchored at the centre by the 17th-century Baroque chapel of Santa Susana. There are lush gardens, historic statuary, elaborate tiered steps, and an unassuming stone bench: a “banco acústico” that holds a hundred years of secrets and whispers.

The granite seat is known as the Bench of Whispers, or sometimes the Lovers Bench. Its semicircular design and physical orientation give it an unusual acoustic characteristic. If you sit at one end and place your head up against the back of the seat, and speak even in the softest tones, your voice travels all the way across to the other end just as loud or even louder than it started out, if that's possible..!

 

The bench was added to the park around 1916, and its special properties were soon noticed by courting couples. The spot became a well-known destination for innocent dates during the Franco years when an emphasis on strict social behaviour included regulating young unmarried couples. Touching in public, or even speaking, was against the rules. So suggesting an innocent walk in the park, where maybe your partner just happened to be walking too, might end up with a secret romantic word or two.  

The nature of sound travel at the bench is similar to the phenomenon of the Whispering Galleries at the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral or at Grand Central Terminal. 

 



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