Facts about Spain - Food, Culture, History, Sport, Economy
Facts about Spain
The sovereign state of the Kingdom of Spain is situated in the southwestern part of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east of its mainland. The country consists of a long history, a rich culture and a number of attractions for foreign tourists.
In Spanish, the country is known as Espana. Its capital is Madrid. Spain is a well-developed country with a high GDP, ranking as the 13th highest in the world. It is home to around 47 million people according to the population survey of 2012.
The discussion below reveals interesting and informative facts about Spain.
Facts about Spanish Food
Traditional Spanish specialties are mouthwatering. Whether it is time for el desayuno (breakfast) or la cena (dinner), you are in for a tempting and filling delight. Tapas – Spanish appetizers – are a special attraction for tourists. In addition, there are a number of other unique dishes which make up the tasteful traditional Spanish cuisine. Discussed below are the most famous dishes of the region.
Churros are enjoyed at breakfast or as a snack. They consist of fried pastry filled with fruits or coated with chocolate. The pastry is in the form of a thick stick.
Mantecados, Polvorones and Turron
These are special Christmas treats in Spain. Mantecados and Polvorones are a variety of almond cakes. They are made in different shapes and sizes and may be soft or crumbly. On the other hand, turron is a candy with almonds and honey as the main ingredients.
Contrary to the conventional Mexican tortillas, Spanish tortillas consist of an egg omelet with potatoes as an extra ingredient. The locals call it tortilla espanola.
It is a vegetable soup made mostly from tomato. Different variations of gazpacho exist in different parts of Spain. It is usually served with hardboiled egg.
Regarded as the national dish of the country, Paella is a rice dish enjoyed at La Fallas, the Spanish spring festival. It is made of rice, meat and vegetables. Famous variations of paella consist of sea food or rabbit meat.
Facts about Spanish Culture
Spain is famous for several of its interesting customs, festivals and other components of a colorful culture. The following facts provide information about the most popular customs followed in the country.
It is a popular type of Spanish folk music accompanied by spontaneous dancing. Flamenco consists of guitar as the dominant instrument. The style originated from the southern part of the country in Andalusia.
The famous bullfighting of Spain is one of the most exciting attractions of the country for tourists. The popular tradition is also termed as tauromachy.
San Sebastian Festival
The festival is celebrated in January in San Sebastian with bonfires and dancing. The remarkable feature of this festival is the popular taborrada drumming.
Fallas de San Jose
It is a spring festival which originated during the Middle Ages. Today, it is celebrated in the country through a nighttime parade and Nit del Foc – Night of the Fire. In the case of the latter, cardboard figures depicting grotesque scenes are burnt.
Sangria is the most famous beverage of Spain. It is dark red in color and is made from wine accompanied by a little amount of brandy. In addition, chopped fruits and sweetener add to the flavor of the drink.
Futbol, as pronounced by the Spanish locals, soccer is one of the most popular sports in the country along with bullfighting. It is almost regarded as religion and is, therefore, an important part of the country’s culture. Being home to two of the world’s most popular soccer teams, Spain has gained international fame in the world of sports.
Facts about Spanish History
Spain has a rich history which dates back to the prehistoric age. Archeologists have discovered evidence which shows that the region has been inhabited by hominids over a million years ago. The following facts reveal more about the interesting history of Spain.
- The Iberian Peninsula served as an extremely important refuge to the survivors of the last ice age. Therefore, after the ice age ended, a large part of the northern Europe was repopulated from Spain.
- In the 3rd century BC, Spain was being contested for by two imperial powers – the Romans and the Carthaginians. The Romans got hold of the eastern peninsula after the second Punic war.
- Spain fell from the hands of Romans into the hands of the Visigoths in 5 BC.
- The Arabs began their infiltration into the country in 711 which led to a long reign of Muslim power.
- The Christians began fighting for the re-conquest of Spain. They completed their conquest in 1492 through the fall of Granada.
- After experiencing a series of imperial rule, revolutionary movements and dictatorship, Spain finally became a democratic state in the 1980s.
Facts about Spanish Economy
The following facts about Spain economy are provided by the World Bank and CIA Factbook, 2013.
- The currency of Spain is Euro.
- Spain’s gross domestic product is the thirteenth highest in the world. It amounts to $1.31 trillion.
- The GDP per capita is equal to $30,100 and is three times higher than the average GDP per capita of the world.
- The GDP of Spain is falling at the rate of 1.6 annually. However, this rate is 4.6% slower than the average rate for the rest of the world.
- Owing to a high GDP per capita, the standards of living in the country are high. However, the Spaniards also face 25.1% of unemployment rate which affects the earnings and living conditions of individuals.
Facts about Spanish Tourist Spots
Spain is full of tourist attractions. Discussed below are the most popular tourist spots of the region.
La Concha is one of the most popular city beaches in the entire Europe. It is situated in San Sebastian and offers various activities including surfing. Apart from a beautiful view, tourists can enjoy eating at the nearby restaurants.
The Palacio Real of Madrid
Built by Carlos III in the eighteenth century, the famous Palacio Real – Royal Palace – is now home to the King of Spain. The spectacular building is worth a visit.
The island of Ibiza, situated off the coast in Spain, is the ultimate party spot for Europeans in the summers. It offers various restaurants, night clubs as well as beach bars.
A relic of Spain’s Muslim dynasty, Alhambra is a must-visit spot. It was built in the 14th century as a fortress as well as palace by the Nasrid Sultans. The building is situated on a plateau which overlooks Granada. It exhibits unique Muslim art.
Aqueduct of Segovia
The wonderfully built Aqueduct of Segovia is a legacy of the Romans. Built in about 50 BC, the aqueduct is still used to supply water from the Frio River to Segovia.
Facts about Sports in Spain
The most popular sports in Spain are bullfighting and soccer. A number of other sports activities, including tennis, gold, Formula One racing, water sports, skiing, basketball, and cycling, are also common.
Have a look at the following interesting facts about sports in Spain.
- Bullfighting season begins in March and continues up to October. The sport is termed as corrida de toros in the local language.
- Soccer gained rapid popularity in the county in the 20th century and is now the national game of Spain.
- Spain is house to the most famous international football teams including Real Madrid and Barcelona. Spanish players have fans all around the globe.
- The world’s number one tennis player – Rafael Nadal – is from Spain. Tennis players with the seventh and sixteenth rank are also Spanish.
- Skiing is a very popular sport in the country owing to the fact that Spain is the world’s second most mountainous region. There are thirty-six high-end ski resorts for those who want to indulge in this exciting sport.
- Some of the world’s finest golf courses are found in Spain. The game can be enjoyed at any time of the year here.