Sunday, January 29, 2017

Facts about Spain


The Flag of Spain

Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church.

The Royal Palace

The Prado

The Alcázar

An Ancient Roman Aqueduct

The Sagrada Família Church.

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Madrid is the capital city of Spain with a population of 3.2 million.

The population of Spain is 46.77 million (2014).

The currency of Spain is the Euro.

The official language of Spain is Spanish.

Spain is also a constitutional monarchy. Officially, it is called the Kingdom of Spain and the head of state of is King Felipe VI.

King Felipe VI

With a GDP of $1.3 trillion, Spain is the 13th largest economy in the world.

With 410 million native speakers, Spanish is the second most popular language in the world. It is the official language of Spain and (hold your breath) Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Equatorial Guinea. (English is the most spoken language world-wide.)

Islamic Moorish armies conquered nearly all of Spain between 711 and 718 CE.

Throughout its history, Spain has been an important cultural and art center. Both Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, two of the most important artists of the 20th century, were Spanish. Their contemporary, Juan Miro, had an equally profound impact of 20th century art.

Pablo  Picasso

Salvador Dali

Juan Miro

Real Madrid, the Spanish football club based out of Madrid, is the most valuable sports team in the world. They boast an annual revenues of $650m and a brand value of $3.3 billion.

71% of Spain’s population identifies itself as Roman Catholic.

Despite being one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world, Spain did not officially participate in either the First or the Second World War.

Prostitutes in Spain are required to wear reflective vests so they aren't hit by cars or bikes at night.

La Tomatina is an annual festival held in Spain where people throw thousands of tomatoes at each other.

In Spain, there is one bar for every 129 people.

When your car is towed away, a message left on the street so you know where it was taken.

Spain has a very low birthrate. Most attribute this to high unemployment, low wages and steep housing costs.

If ever you are in Spain, do not be alarmed by a dirty floor in a bar. It is completely acceptable and normal to throw things on the ground in bars. Most of the time a dirty floor means a good bar!

The Spanish have lunch at 2 pm and dinner at around 9 to10 pm.

Tortillas in Spain are not the same as tortillas elsewhere. You will not find corn or flour tortillas  in Spanish dishes.

In Spain, tortilla española refers to a very popular and delicious egg and potato dish. Spaniards use the word “tortitas” to refer to flour/corn tortillas.
Most households buy fresh bread every day. Traditionally, they are long baguettes called barras  or pistolas. Bread is present (and required) at almost every meal.

The Spaniard Catherine of Aragon married Henry VIII of England. She was the first of his six wives and the mother of Queen Mary I.

Queen Catherine of Aragon

Gibraltar, was ceded by Spain to Britain in 1713, at one time controlled the entrance to the Mediterranean.

Gibraltar

In 1588, the Spanish Armada, consisting of one hundred and fifty ships, sailed to England to invade, but it was defeated by the English navy and stormy weather.

Euskera, spoken by the Basque population in northern Spain and southern France, is one of the oldest living languages in the world.

Football/Soccer is the country´s most important sport. Spain won its first World Cup football title in 2010, which made the country the 8th country to have ever won.

The Gold Cup

For 40 years, between 1936 and 1975, General Franciso Franco ruled Spain as a dictator. After his death, the rightful King Juan Carlos had a key role in returning the country to a democracy with a new constitution.

Franciso Franco 

Same-sex marriage in Spain became legal on July 3, 2005.

Tomatoes, potatoes, avocadoes, tobacco, and cacao (for chocolate) were all imported into Europe by Spain.

Though Spain is more famous for its red wine than white, the majority of its vineyards have white grapes. The fortified wine sherry comes from the city of Jerez in Andalusia. In Spanish, sherry is simply called 'vino de Jerez' (Jerez wine).
Spanish Wine and Spanish Sherry

The Spanish (in particular those from Cadiz) claim that they invented fried fish. In the 18th century, Britain had ties with Cadiz and therefore it is believed that the English took the idea of fish 'n' chips from Spain. However, other sources claim the Portuguese and Belgians invented it.

Spain is one of the world's biggest producers of saffron, an important ingredient in paella.

The Madrid-Barcelona is one of the city pairs with most flights per week in the world!

The Madrid subway is the second largest underground system in Europe and the sixth largest system in the world. It has 141 miles of track and is still growing.

Spain is the third country in the world, after the US and Brazil, with the most plastic surgery interventions per capita in the world.

Spain is the number one country in regards to organ donation in the world.

Mahou-San Miguel is the leading brand of Spanish Beer.
Spanish Beer

Seat is the only Spanish car brand.

A Seat Automobile

Presenting oneself at a party before 12 is early; Spaniards normally start the night around 12:30-2:00 am.

When meeting someone in Spain, male or female, it is customary to give one kiss on each cheek.

There are a lot of holidays and vacation days in Spain and Spaniards really respect their free time and siestas. They often talk about the “quality of life” which has a lot to do with how much free time one has.

The Spanish Empire was once one of the world's most powerful.

It is actually illegal to drive a car while wearing flip-flops in Spain.

On May 15th of each year, many single women visit the Ermita de San Isidro, where they prick their fingers and put their blood in a container. The idea is that doing so will help them find a husband.

Spain has the world's highest per capita cocaine consumption of any other nation in the world.

 

There are two 1900 years old Roman dams in Spain that are still in use today.


An Ancirnt Roman Dam in Spain

 

There are no laws against public nudity in Spain.


Public Nudity in Spain

Spain is the third most visited country in the world. France and the United States are number one and number two. 

 

Spain has the lowest age of consent for sexual activity in the world: 13 years old.

 

The Sagrada Familia Church in Spain has been under construction for over 130 years. It is expected to be finished in 2026.

 

There is a Spanish New Year custom called Twelve Grapes, where you eat a grape at each strike of the clock while wearing red underwear.

 

The world's oldest existing lighthouse is the Tower of Hercules in Spain. It is still operational today.


                                                             Tower of Hercules in Spain


43% of the world's olive oil production is done in Spain, thus making Spain the leading producer of olive oil in the world.


Spanish Olive Oil

One of the biggest festivals in Spain is Las Fallas in Valencia during which there are fireworks that go on non-stop for three weeks.

 

Spaniard Manuel Jalón Corominas created one of the world's greatest inventions: the mop.

 

Growing and smoking marijuana is legal in Spain.

 

The "Burial of the Sardine" is a Spanish festival in during which  there is a symbolic burning of a giant sardine. The festival is supposed to symbolize rebirth and new life.


Burial of the Sardine Festival

The famous Pamplona Running of the Bulls started as a practicality: It was a way to transport bulls from their corrals to the bullfighting ring.

 

Pampolona's Running of the Bulls

There is a museum in Spain that is dedicated to bandits because they have a huge role in Spanish history.

 

The Rio Tinto River in Spain is so polluted, it is almost totally red and contains almost no natural life.


Rio Tinto

 

Every year about 60,000 animals are killed during some of the 16,000 religious festivals across Spain, most of them turkeys and bulls.

 

Spanish citizens have two surnames. Their first comes from their father's surname, and the second from their mother.

 

Only 72% of Spain speaks Spanish. Other languages include English and Portuguese.

 

The national anthem of Spain has no words, only music. It is called the Marcha Real.

 

The Puerta del Sol (“Gate of the Sun”) plaza in Madrid is the physical center of Spain.

 

Spain has been through a bunch of different names throughout its history. Among them are: Hesperia, meaning "land of the setting sun";  Iberia, meaning "land of rivers"; and Ispania, meaning "land of rabbits".

 

Don Quixote, the famous book written by Spanish author Miguel Cervantes in 1605, was voted the most meaningful book of all timein 2002 by a panel of 100 top authors, including Salman Rushdie, Normal Mailer, Doris Lessing and Caroles Fuentes.

 

Don Quixote (a painting)

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