Ispanija

The content of paper
1. Introduction
2. Country and culture
3. Night life
4. Gastronomy
5. Museums
6. Geography
7. Spanish islands
8. Nature
9. Summary

Introduction
Area: 504,750 sq km; 194,884 sq miles
Population: 39.5 million (growth rate 0.2%)
Languages: Castilian Spanish (official language)
Catalonian, Galician, Valenciano, Vasco (are also official languages in the autonomous communities of Catalonia, Galicia, Valencia and Basque Country, respectively)
Religion: 99% Roman Catholic
Capital: Madrid
Form of Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Tourism: 45 million visitors per year

Widely known for Flamenco music and dance, bull-fights, fantastic beaches and lots of sunshine, Spain has to offer much more than that. It is – and has been for thousands of years &##8211; one of the cultural centres of Europe. It has beautiful cities and towns, offering really old monuments as well as futuristic architecture. Its various regions are all different one to each other, geographically, climatically and even in personality. It is a fascinating country to know and to know more about it.

“Spain is different!”, Spaniards use to say. They don’t specify compared to what: to the rest of Europe, to the rest of the world, or even to itself? We don’t knnow it either, but we do our best to supply you with loads of information so you can find the answer to this question and to many more by yourself.
Country and culture
Flamenco is a genuine Spanish art, and to be mo

ore exact an genuine Southern Spanish art. It exists in three forms: Cante, the song, Baile, the dance, and Guitarra, guitar playing.
Gypsies are very often named as its fathers, and at least it can be taken for certain that they played an important part in its creation. But also the popular songs and dances of Andalusia have influenced early Flamenco considerably.
Certainly there were other influences, too, as it will not surprise in a country that has been dominated by most diverse cultures and civilizations during its different historical epochs. There were the legendary Tartessos, and seven centuries of Muslim occupation hardly could have passed without leaving traces. All that, directly or indirectly, influenced Flamenco. Mass medias have brought Flamenco too the world stage, but deeply it has always been and will remain an intimate kind of music. You have not listened authentical Flamenco if not in a juerga with a small group of friends, at midnight somewhere in the South of Spain, when there is nothing around but the voice, the guitar and the body of a dancer moving in the moonlight.
Bullfighting is certainly one of the best known, although at the same time most polemical Spanish popular customs. Th
his Fiesta could not exist without the Toro Bravo, a species of bull of an archaical race that is only conserved in Spain.

Night life
There are many people who say that Madrid were Europe’s capital of Night Life. Certainly this page doesn’t offer enough room to treat the subject profoundly, but be sure: here you will find something for your taste – whatever taste you may have.

Find below a few hints, about which regions are among the preferred ones by Madrid’s “Nomades of the Night”, and don’t be surprised if somewhere, at 4 a.m. or so, you will get involved in a traffic jam. Madrileños, like all Spaniards in general, don’t stay in the same local for all the night, they prefer to change all the time, from one to the other. However, at 4 a.m. few people are on their way to work! In hot summer-nights there is hardly something better than to have a drink in one of the many beautiful terraces, where you will find amounts of people until late in the night. In Paseo de la Castellana meet the beautiful people and all those who think they are, specially between Cuzco and Paseo del Prado. In Gran Via, on the ot

ther hand, you’ll see representants of any kind of society that exists in Madrid, from middle-aged couples to vagabonds. If you ever will visit any place anywhere without needing instructions on how to find boiling nightlife, then it is Ibiza. You only need to leave one of the numerous pubs or discotheques.
Gastronomy
Since Philip II made Madrid the capital of Spain, numerous recipes and influences from all the regions of the country entered in its kitchen. Today it is practically impossible to say which dishes are original, and which are imported. Today Madrid offers more a Spanish than a regional kitchen.

The dishes that are called madrileño in Spain, are mainly hotpots, as the well-known Cocido Madrileño with chick-peas. Among regional specialities have to be named the delicious asparagus from Aranjuez and the very typical Sopa de Ajo, a soup of garlic.

There are many dishes of lamb and veal, but – perhaps a bit surprising considering its geographic location – Madrid is a real paradise for the lovers of any kind of fish. It has the second biggest fish market in the world (behind Tokyo), and as well in shops as in many Restaurants you will find an ample selection and extraordinary quality.

Ideally fitting to

o such a meal are the young and aromatic wines from the region, Vinos de Madrid. To finish your dinner in a very typical way, try a cup of Anisado de Chinchón, anisette schnapps.

Traditional sweets are the Roscos de Santo, which are made specially for for the Festival of San Isidro.

Museums
If you are interested in museums, this is not a problem. In Spain are a lot of museums. For example: in Barcelona is National Museum of Art of Catalunya. Collection of Catalonian art of Romanesque and gothic period, including extraordinary wall-paintings and wood-carving. Museum Frederic Marés. Sculptures from 12th to 17th century.
Museum in the Cathedral. Gothic religious art and paintings of Catalonian school.
Picasso Museum. Important collection of works of the great artist.
Museum of Modern Art. Paintings and sculptures from 17th century until today. Specially remarkable are the works of Fortuny, Russiñol, Casas, Zuloaga, Sunyer, Solana, and the “Harlekin” of Picasso.

Fundación Miró. Private collection of the famous artist, includes exhibitions of his works, a library, an auditorium and regular additional performances.

There are very important and beautiful museums in Madrid:
Prado. Certainly one of the most important collections of paintings worldwide. There are special rooms for masters like Goya, Velazquez, El Greco, Zurbarán, Murillo and Tizian, as well as for representants of the Flemish school.

Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza. In this museum, which was inaugurated in 1993, is exposed one of the most important private arts collections.
National Museum Reina Sofía . This modern building featuring interesting expositions made complete the “Arts Triangle of Prado” in 1993.
Ethnological Museum. Great collection of objects from the five continents. Specially interesting are the mummies of Guanches, the aborigins of Canary Islands.
Seville city have very interesting museum who called Museum of Popular Customs. Ethnological museum with interesting objects from all Andalusia.

In Spain are so many beautiful, old and big buildings. Spanish architecture is very interesting for everyone, I think so. The oldest works of architecture in Spain of which rests are left go back to the megalythical culture. Anyhow, they are probably not exactly what you expect to find here. Lots of Roman monuments are conserved too, among the most important being the great aquaeduct of Segovia and the amphitheater of Mérida.
Absolutely stunning is what Moors have left in this country. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the most visited sights by tourists, the other of course being Granada’s Alhambra which is perfectly conserved in its original condition.
The Spanish Moors created a style of their own that differs in many aspects from their traditional architecture which you may find in Africa and introduced several novelties.This style is called Caliphal style. The Christians who lived in Muslim territory were called Mozarabes, and so is called their particular architectonical style which combines Visigothic construction technics and caliphal style.
After the country was reconquered from the Muslims, Moorish architects who stayed developed another new style combining their traditional architecture with Romanesque and Gothic elements, the Mudejar style.
One of the most representative monuments is the University of Salamanca.
In Modernism Spain played again a highly important role. Most outstanding are perhaps the works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, as his great cathedral “Sagrada Familia”.

Until today Barcelona in particular has remained a center of modern and even futuristical architecture.

Geography
Spain is located at the Iberian Península, of which it occupies approximately 80% (the remaining 20% are occupied by Portugal), in the southwest of Europe. In the north Spain borders on France and Andorra, with the Pyrenees as a natural frontier. Additionally the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) in the Mediterranean Sea, Canary Islands in Atlantic Ocean close to the Moroccian coast, and Ceuta and Melilla, located in northern Africa, are Spanish territory.
Spain is the 3rd country of Europe in extension and the 5th in population.

There are five big mountain ranges crossing the country, and about 50% of it are located at an elevated plain.
Landscapes are extremely varied, some almost desert-like, others green and fertile, and of course there are the long coasts, in the east along Mediterranean Sea from Pyrenees to Gibraltar, and in the west (the major part of the Iberian peninsula’s western coast is occupied by Portugal) along the Atlantic Ocean and Cantabrian Sea.

Spanish islands
Ibiza, often called the White Island for its typical architecture, became a major centre of touristical attraction during the 1960s, being then famous for its “Hippie-Culture” and nudist beaches. Today Ibiza has an ample offer as well for families and older visitors, anyhow, still there are the young ones who are attracted by the island’s rollicking nightlife, which already starts in the afternoon, at the beaches and in the centre of town, to continue until dawn in the numerous discotheques.

If you leave the beaches behind you to explore the island’s interior, you will find a pure and simple Mediterranean culture, and remains of populations which inhabited Ibiza thousands of years ago, as for instance the famous wall-paintings of Ses Fontelles.
This small island, with a surface of 90 squ.km. and some 5200 inhabitants, is located 11 miles from the south-eastern coast of Ibiza. The sea is visible from practically any point of the island, and there are numerous great beaches and lonely bays, some of them with incredible grottos.
Its favorised climate, with springtime temperatures during almost all the year, its rich vegetation of pines as well as palms, and its quiet and relaxed ambience make Formentera a true paradise.

When you visit Cabrera, which is located just face to face to Mallorcas southern coast, and its lonely beaches, you will really feel like Robinson Crusoe. Cabrera was declared nature preserve in 1991, since then access is controlled by the Spanish National Institute for the Conservation of Nature.
This elegant island has to offer anything a visitor might dream of. Tourism at Mallorca started to develop already in the 1920s, and until the Spanish Civil War it was mainly intellectuals and artists who were attracted by this island.
Mallorca’s wonderful climate, beautiful landscapes as well as its cosmopolitan ambience make it a privileged holiday resort, with a cultural offer comparable to the one of many European capitals. The Auditiorio de Palma, for instance, ranks among Europe’s top concert halls. At Mallorca, you will find relaxation, inspiration, culture and entertainment .
Legend tells that the winds of Menorca modify the personality of people. Maybe that is the reason why those who came here once as tourists mostly return . Menorca certainly has a very strong personality, and a very different one to the rest of the islands. Menorca, the “minor” island, as it was called by Romans, has an almost virginal interior (compared for instance to the “major” island, Mallorca) and shows interesting remains of its old history. On the other hand, there are beaches and lonely bays around it at a length of 216 kilometers. An ideal resort for all those who are looking for true relaxation.

Nature
Spain is positioned between Europe and Africa and as such boasts a range of contrasting natural attractions. The stretching, golden coastline is, of course popular with tourists, but there are many other natural beauties in Spain if other traveller would like to escape from the coast.
Mountains:
The mountains regions of Spain reach their greatest height at the Pyrenees in the North and the Sierra Nevada in the South. The former stretches for 440 kilometres (273) miles with an average height of 2,000 metres (6,400 ft). The Pyrenees act as Spain’s link to Europe with more than 400 protected natural areas to conserve the principal mainland. The Sierra Nevada contains the highest peak on the mainland Mt. Mulhacén, which rises to 3.482 metres (11,425 ft.). This area is home to peaceful alpine lakes and glaciers. National parks, game reserves and adventure facilities are just some of the attractions here.
Green Spain:
The ocean and mountain come together in this region to create a wet climate where green vegetation flourishes. In the north of Spain, the Basque Country contains meadows, beaches and winding paths to hilltop retreats. The fishing harbours here have kept their strong local flavour and can be seen as an example of traditional Spain.
On the north-west tip, Galicia possesses an indented coastline with fjord-like inlets known as rías, which allow the sea to penetrate far inland, washing up against numerous towns and cities.
Inland areas
The Meseta, opens out onto another of Spain’s most impressive areas of scenery. Running along the centre, a mountainous region cuts the land into two well-defined physical and historical units.
The areas of Castile & León, Castile-La Mancha and La Riojam, along with the farmlands of Extremadura, offer the traveller spectacular views with wide open horizons, great fields of wheat, river valleys, and tiny villages. The cities here are steeped in history, with many art and monumental sights to see.

Summary
Spain is one of the oldest inhabited regions of Europe. Renown for olive oil, wines, museums, the Costa del Sol and its friendly people, Spain is popular with worldwide travellers.

The capital city is Madrid, the currency is the Euro, and languages include Castilian (official), plus the (4) recognized languages of Basque, Catalan, Galecian and Valenciano.
There is a population of 39,208,000 in 17 autonomous communities in 499,440 sq km (192,584 sq miles).
Cold winters and warm summers are the norm, while the southern coastal areas enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate. The northwest coast is cool and rainy year round at 40° 00’N, 4° 00’W.
Major landforms include the Meseta Plateau, surrounded by mountains (the Pyrenees, Cordillera Cantabrica and Sierra Morenos) covers the country’s centre. Major rivers include the Douro, Ebro, Guadalquivr and Tagus.

I’ve got this information from the internet pages:
www.red2000.com/spain/
www.spain.info

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