Spain – distinctive European Country
Spain is a country in the southwestern corner of Europe. Its area is 504,782 square kilometers. Kingdom of Spain is the official name. It borders Portugal, France and Andorra. But most of the country lies along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, so there are a lot of beautiful beaches. The Pyrenees Mountains form a natural border between Spain and France.
The Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean belong to Spain. By the way, Spain controls the cities of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Morocco.
In ancient times many different peoples from Europe and North Africa settled in Spain. The Romans ruled the region from the 200s BC to the AD 400s. Muslim Arabs invaded in 711. After more than 700 years Christian kingdoms in the north began to take back territory.
In the 1500s and 1600s, Spain was a world power. It was the first country to colonize much of the Americas. The powerful navy was called the Spanish Armada.
In 1931 Spain became a democratic republic.
Flamenco came to Spain with the Caló (Gitano) people, more commonly known as Gypsies.
The Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí designed many amazing buildings in the early 1900s. The church of the Holy Family in Barcelona, Spain, is one of his most famous buildings.
Roman Catholicism is the main religion.
Most people speak Spanish and people in the east also speak Catalan. Those in the northwest also speak Gallego and the Basque people speak Euskara.
You know, Spain is a major producer of wine.
Madrid became the capital of the country in 1607. The Puerta del Sol is Madrid’s main plaza, or public square. The Prado art museum has a world-famous collection of paintings, including work by El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez, and many other artists. One of the world’s greatest collections of armor and swords is in the National Palace.
La Tomatina, a unique food battle festival, is celebrated in Spain annually. Thousands of people throw overripe tomatoes at each other.
La siesta is a well-known aspect of Spanish culture. Students and professionals return to their homes around midday for a big lunch, followed by a few hours of rest and family time.
Pico de Teide is the highest point (3,718 m).
Tagus is the longest river (1,010 km).
There are a lot of birds in Spain and this country occupies a leading place in the number of birds. Those who believe that the Canary Islands are named after the numerous canaries who inhabit them are not right. This birds got their name in honor of the islands, and not vice versa. The word “canis” in Latin means “dog.” The coat of arms of the Canary Islands to this day depicts a shield supported by dogs.
By the way, Spain is the only European country where bananas grow.
Actually, Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world. In total, it exports more than 260 varieties of olives.
Spain did not participate in any of the world wars, but survived the civil war, as a result of which more than 500 thousand people died.
Spanish sailor Juan Sebastian Elcano (1476-1526) was the first person in the world to travel around the world.