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Spain s Iberian Peninsula has been settled for millennia. In fact, some of Europe's most impressive Paleolithic cultural sites are located in Spain, including the famous caves at Altamira that contain spectacular paintings dating from about 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. The Basques, Europe s oldest surviving group, are also the first identifiable people of the peninsula.
Abhishek Gurung A2505809028 1/23/2011
The majority of Spaniards are Catholic, though Spain is a secular state. For over 300 years, most of Spain was Muslim. Parts of Spain were under Muslim rule until 1492 when the last Moorish king fell (in Granada).
Measures: Weight measured in kilograms. Size: 506. Political Structure: Parliamentary monarchy (since 1978). Regions: Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions. General emergency services 112. Public transportation: Taking the bus is by far the cheapest way of transportation. Economy size: eighth largest economy worldwide with a Gross Domestic Product just over 1 trillion euros. temperature measured in degrees Celsius. Spanish Gastronomy: typical for Spain is its Paella read more about Spains Gastronomy in our Spanish Food section.8 million.000M square meters (Spain is the second largest country in Europe after France). Taking the bus from city to city is far cheaper than travelling by train. Telephone country code: (00)34 Opening hours: in most of Spain the siesta is honoured. National police 091 (this number is used when there is serious trouble). Density: 88. the busride of 6 hours from Malaga to Madrid is approximately 20 euros while a train can cost up to an astonishing 150 euros.767 per year. Ambulance 061.6 million inhabitants.59.3 million inhabitants. Currency: The introduction of the Euro in 2002 replaced the former Spanish Peseta. History: to read extensively about the history of Spain please see the section history of Spain Emergency numbers: They are all toll-free. . Foreigners Living in Spain: officially there were 3. Taxi's are reasonably priced. e. Galicia and The Basque Country). Tourism: Over 52 million tourists visit Spain each year. Civil guard 062. Population size: 44.9 million inhabitants. Spain is in the top 3 most visited countries in the world. stores then open again around 5pm. Barcelona 5.7 million foreign residents in 2005. Gross Domestic Product per Capita: 27. Valencia. (which makes Spain the second highest country in Europe after Switzerland). Euskera are independent languages spoken in Catalonia. Language: Spanish (Catalan. Fire service 080. Opening hours banks: In general banks are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm and on Saturday until 1pm. You can get a city bus ride for only 0..g. distances measured by the metric system. but the hours differ between regions. Independent organisations such as Red Cross put the number at 4. a 5 minute city ride costs around 3 euro.7 million in 2006.39 inhabitants per square kilometer. Gallego. Time zone: +1 GMT except Canary Islands +2 GMT. 25th on world ranking Religion: approximately 90% of the population are Catholic and there is freedom of religion in Spain. Valencian.Spain Official name: The Kingdom of Spain Capital of Spain: Madrid Top 3 Largest cities in Spain: Madrid 5. Stores open around 9am and close around one for the siesta.95 and if you buy a card where you can buy prepaid rides for they are only 0.719 m. Mean Altitude: 600 m. More to the south the the stores open later and therefore the siesta starts around half past 2pm. Municipal police 092. Valencia 1. Highest Point: Pico de Teide in Tenerife 3.
Europe¶s oldest surviving group. pushed the Visigoths up the peninsula to the Cantabrian Mountains. Phoenicians. Controversy over succession to the throne consumed the country during the 18th century. The 19th century saw the revolt and independence of most of Spain's colonies in the Western Hemisphere: three wars over the . and led to a series of armed conflicts throughout much of the 19th century.000 years ago. Greeks.000 to 25. and Celts entered the Iberian Peninsula. Although the Visigoths arrived in the fifth century AD. began a steady decline of Spanish power in Europe. are also the first identifiable people of the peninsula. costly wars and revolts. Beginning in the ninth century BC. due to the immense wealth derived from its presence in the Americas. During the 16th century. some of Europe's most impressive Paleolithic cultural sites are located in Spain. and laws. In 711. In fact. the last Roman strongholds along the southern coast did not fall until the seventh century AD. But a series of long. including the famous caves at Altamira that contain spectacular paintings dating from about 15. By 1512. Spain became the most powerful nation in Europe. The Reconquest²efforts to drive out the Moors² lasted until 1492. Carthaginians. The Romans followed in the second century BC and laid the groundwork for Spain's present language. leading to an occupation by France during the Napoleonic era in the early 1800s. North African Moors sailed across the straits. religion. The Basques. the unification of present-day Spain was complete.Little History of Spain Spain¶s Iberian Peninsula has been settled for millennia. and within a few years. capped by the defeat by the English of the ³Invincible Armada´ in 1588. swept into Andalusia.
Social changes brought about by economic prosperity and the inflow of new ideas helped set the stage for Spain's transition to democracy during the latter half of the 1970s. finally. Dissatisfied with the slow pace of post-Franco liberalization. and the country did not join the United Nations until 1955. Franco's personally designated heir Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon assumed the titles of king and chief of state. under an International Monetary Fund stabilization plan. Despite the success of economic liberalization. particularly foreign direct investment. he replaced Franco's last Prime Minister with Adolfo Suarez in July 1976. the brief ousting of the monarchy and establishment of the First Republic (1873-74). A period of dictatorial rule (1923-31) ended with the establishment of the Second Republic. Spain remained the most closed economy in Western Europe²judged by the small measure of foreign trade to economic activity²and the pace of reform slackened during the 1960s as the state remained committed to ³guiding´ the economy. led to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936. Suarez entered . Following the victory of his nationalist forces in 1939. the victorious Allies isolated Spain at the beginning of the postwar period. and the Philippines to the United States. in which Spain lost Cuba. Spain was transformed into a modern industrial economy with a thriving tourism sector. Pressures from all sides. General Francisco Franco ruled a nation exhausted politically and economically. It was dominated by increasing political polarization. Upon the death of General Franco in November 1975. the Spanish-American War (1898). In 1959.succession issue. Nevertheless. coupled with growing and unchecked violence. Puerto Rico. in the 1960s and 1970s. culminating in the leftist Popular Front electoral victory in 1936. Therefore. and. Its economic expansion led to improved income distribution and helped develop a large middle class. Spain was officially neutral during World War II but followed a pro-Axis policy. the country began liberalizing trade and capital flows.
office promising that elections would be held within one year. winning an absolute majority. with the prime minister responsible to the bicameral Cortes (Congress of Deputies and Senate) elected every 4 years. However. During this period. who had ruled since the end of the civil war in 1939. the new Cortes set about drafting a democratic constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a national referendum in December 1978. the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). qualifying for the European Monetary Union. During that period. Parliamentary democracy was restored following the death of General Franco in 1975. rebel elements among the security forces seized the Cortes and tried to impose a military-backed government. 1981. In October 1982. The 1978 constitution established Spain as a parliamentary monarchy. principally telecommunications. with a program of privatization. who used his personal authority to put down the bloodless coup attempt. Prime Minister Suarez's Union of the Democratic Center (UCD). During Aznar's first term. swept both the Congress of Deputies and Senate. Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP) won a plurality of votes. and measures designed to increase competition in selected markets. Spain fully integrated into European institutions. Gonzalez and the PSOE ruled for the next 13 years. 1977. Under Suarez. Spain joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Community. Spain's first elections since 1936 to the Cortes (Parliament) were held on June 15. In March 1996. won 34% of the vote and the largest bloc of seats in the Cortes. and his government moved to enact a series of laws to liberalize the new regime. On February 23. Aznar moved to decentralize powers to the regions and liberalize the economy. led by Felipe Gonzalez. Spain . the great majority of the military forces remained loyal to King Juan Carlos. labor market reform. a moderate center-right coalition.
Spanish parliamentary elections on March 14. Because of its experience with ETA Basque terrorism. with a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. obtaining absolute majorities in both houses of parliament.400. President Aznar and the PP won reelection in March 2000. the defeat of the Aznar government and the subsequent removal of Spanish troops from Iraq. After the terrorist attacks on the U. gave the terrorists exactly what the wanted and rewarded them for the Madrid train attack. It is probable that as a result. Spain backed the military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan and took a leadership role within the European Union (EU) in pushing for increased international cooperation on terrorism. In a landslide victory. PSOE won the election and its leader. supported the intervention in Iraq. . Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. With large voter turnout. 2004. along with the United States and other NATO allies. President Aznar became a key ally in the fight against terrorism. in military operations in the former Yugoslavia. took office on April 17. and Spanish armed forces and police personnel are included in the international peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo. the Aznar government had made fighting terrorism a top priority. Unfortunately. on September 11. 2001. The Aznar government. other nations will probably suffer terror attacks during their electoral processes as Al Qaeda and other groups try to influence international politics through violence. 2004 came only three days after a devastating terrorist attack on Madrid commuter rail lines that killed 191 and wounded over 1.participated.S. Spanish planes took part in the air war against Serbia in 1999.
. So what happens during a bullfight?: Firstly the bull is let into the ring.Bull fighting in Spain Bull fighting is very closely associated with Spain and can trace its origins back to 711 A. This transformation occurred around 1724. After the ban commoners accepted the sport as their own and. The faena which is the most beautiful and skillful section of the fight and where the matador must prove his courage and artistry. King Felipe V took exception to the sport however and banned the aristocracy from taking part. before taking over himself. It is very popular in Spain with several thousand Spaniards flocking to their local bull-ring each week. unarmed. watches his chief assistant wave a bright yellow and magenta cape in front of the bull to make it charge. Then a trumpet is sounded and several fighters called Picadores weaken the bull by placing spears into it. believing it to be a bad example to the public. He watches this in order to determine the bull's qualities and mood. Bullfighting was originally a sport for the aristocracy and took place on horseback. since they could not afford horses.D. Then. It is said that the total number of people watching bullfights in Spain reaches one million every year. The faena consists of a running at the Matador carrying a muleta. Another trumpet is sounded and the Matador now removes his black winged hat and dedicates the death of the bull to the president or the crowd before beginning his faena. the top bullfighter called the Matador. This takes around 10 minutes. developed the practice of dodging the bulls on foot. This is when the first bullfight took place in celebration for the crowning of King Alfonso VIII.
If the sword goes in to the hilt it is an estocada but if it hits bone it is a pinchazo or media-estocada. according to his skill in working with the bull. The crowd in return hurls flowers which are collected by the matador's assistants. The matador stands some ten feet from the bull. the killing sword. The crowd will often encourage the president to award the trophies by waving white hankerchiefs. and this waving continues after the trophies have been awarded in an attempt to get the matador to throw his trophies into the crowd. The matador may be awarded trophies by the president. keeping the bull fixated on the muleta and aims the espada between the shoulder blades. Usually the muleta. . The fight is over. which can be held in either the left hand or draped over the espada. but if the bull fails to die the matador may take the descabello (a sword with a short cross piece at the end) which he stabs into the bull's neck severing the spinal cord.This is a piece of thick crimson cloth draped over a short stick.one wrong move and the Matador could become impaled on the horns of the bull. which is always held in the right hand. which can be one or two ears from the bull. An estocada usually results in the bull dropping immediately to its knees and dying. The faena continues until the Matador has demonstrated his superiority over the bull. the tail and the hoof. Once this is achieved the bull is ready to be killed. is first held in front of the matador to make the bull charge and is then swung across and away from the matador's body hopefully taking the bull with it. in left or right hand. This is a show. It is the Matador's job to make this dance dramatic and enjoyable for the audience. basically a dance with death . The matador attacks pushing the espada over the horns and deep between the shoulder blades.
After the daybreak of July 7th. and then quickly get out of the way. They crowd together a nd sing to the image of San Fermin which is placed in a niche on a wall. A second rocket is then let off to make sure everyone knows the bulls are loose in the street. The song goes: "A San Fermín pedimos. as near as you are prepared to risk it. San Fermin. getting as close as possible .all whilst trying to avoid getting gored by their sharp horns.") Then. to guide us through the Bull Run and g ive us his blessing. Spain stages more than 3. The runners dash along in front of the bulls. The supposed way to do this is to s tart off slowly when the bulls are quite a distance behind. which is the starting line. . Then as they get nearer start running like hell! You can then go near them for a short time. Runners look for a gap in the fence to slip through or jump over. as a rocket goes off. as our Patron.Bull Running in Spain Every year from July 7th-14th thousands pack into Pamplona to start Spain's most famous bull-running fiesta to honour Navarre capital's patron saint. a number of fighting bulls are let out onto the streets. or a space against the wall of the street. runners (mainly young men) gather at the bottom of Santo Domingo. por ser nuestro patrón.000 fiestas (festivals) each year but the 7 days of bull-running are the favourite in terms of spectacle and excitement. nos guíe en el encierro dándonos su bendición" ("We ask San Fermín. aiming to feel the breath of the bull on their backs. The bulls run along the narrow street 825 metres (hal f a mile) to a bull ring.
as the drovers do. blues and pop music. a new bull -ring was built and a new route . The songs of flamenco are from different regions as: Fandangos from Huelva. for example. . which is a state of emotional involvement. dance and guitar are blended into passionate rhythms which are often improvised and spontaneous. and Alegrias from Cadiz. and "chico" happy. It is from Southern Spain and is individualistic. etc. they go into pens and are kept until later that day they are killed in a bullfight. Flamenco will have any imaginable theme. in 1591 residents merely had to herd the bulls to the bull -fighting arena. Other cities in Spain also have bull running festivals if you can´t make San Fermin or don´t like crowds. Today the solo guitar flamenco has developed into a separate art and is fashionably blended with jazz. Aravaca-Pozuelo. has a bull running festival in late summer. the song. In 1852. The tradition is said to have come from practicality when. who had the responsibility of buying the bulls. the butchers guild. lies in the tradition of singing. the cry of oppressed people.becoming much shorter also. Flamenco dance has complex patterns of rhythm and sophisticated footwork with the upper body emphasising grace and posture. to love. dancers and listeners. because as from 1899. the tragic lyrics and tone of flamenco reflect the sufferings of the gypsy people from whom it originated Flamenco exists in three forms: Cante. however.the starting point of the run. Often however. to humor.the serious and deep meaning. The ideal in flamenco is called "duende" (demon or elf). light and often humorous. But it seems that at some date. As time passed the event became more and more popular and some people began to run in front of the bulls and not behind them. began to join in with the drovers and began to chase behind the bulls and heifers up to the bull -ring from Santo Domingo street . yet structured. Originally only a few daring souls ran with the bulls but the adrenaline rush of running in front of a 1500lb bull has since caught on. it was decided to bring the bulls up to a small corral in Santo Domingo street the night before they fight in the ring. and Guitarra. Song. Flamenco Flamenco is a folk art. between musicians. to politics. guitar playing. The singers' role is very important with the guitar playing an accompaniment to the song. The source of Flamenco. People now journey from all around the world to run with the bulls.When the bulls finally reach the end of the street. to history. Baile. group communication at a deep level and a feeling of sympathy. a suburb of Madrid. from up to date stories. the dance. around 200 years old. At first only the drovers were used to lead the bulls. There are two main styles in Flamenco: "jondo" .
It is thought the tradition began in 1945 when a fight erupted among two young members of a carnival crowd. but this time with their own tomatoes. They then proceed to pelt each other with them until all have been used up. the "Tamborrada Infantil" (Child Drummer's Ceremony) is celebrated. Every year around 30. Feria de Abril/April Fair . as groups of drummers parade through the city on the night of the first day of the year. Fallas de San Jose March. patroness of the city. Tamborrada de San Sebastian/The San Sebastian Drum Festival. Cuenca. but it did not acquire the personality we know today until the middle of the last century. When the ham is cut down. and the famous "Nit del Foc" (Night of the Fire). pretend to wash the statue of San Blas. La Endiablada/The Disguised Devils February.wearing pants and jackets painted in bright designs. with large cowbells tied to their waists.run through the streets. A march to the deafening sounds of drums. The festival on the last Wednesday of August is called 'the Tomatina ' and is basically a town-wide tomato fight.00 people descend on the Spanish town of Bunol (in the Valencia region of Spain) to throw more than 240. January.Valencia Tomato Fight Festival August. Castilla y La Mancha. a procession of the old towns of Valencia.The 'Tomatina' Tomato Fight Surely the worlds' biggest food-fight: every year around 30.00 people descend on the Spanish town of Bunol (in the Valencia region of Spain) to throw more than 240. Bunol. and march in procession with it to the uninterrupted sound of the cowbells.000 pounds of tomatoes at each other. Basque Country. People of this village celebrate disguised as devils in this festival of prehistoric origin. A vegetable stall was nearby in the town square and every started throwing tomatoes at each other. Exactly one year later. people put on eye protection and cry for tomatoes as trucks dump the squishy produce onto the village streets. The festival is started with a ham-on-a-stick contest where competitors raced up a pole to retrieve a smoked leg of ham. This was only to occur if participants would respect the start and the end of tomato-throwing being announced with a banger. The next morning. young people met at the square. Valencia. The young boys of the town dressed as devils . San Sebastian. dance at the entrance and inside the church. The festivites include a nighttime parade. the offerings of flowers to Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken). In the following years this practice was banned by the authorities. on which all the "fallas" (grotesque and humorous scenes made up of carboard figures) are burned. and multicolored paper hats. Festivals in Spain ¨La Tomatina¨ .000 pounds of tomatoes at each other as part of the La Tomatina festival. but due to popular demand was given official recognition in 1959. which are replaced later on with cardboard bishop mitres . Valencia. This Fiesta dates from the Middle Ages. Another food fight started but was broken up by police.
An splendid simulation of the Viking invasion of the "Torres de Oeste. Around the feast of San Juan the streets are often decorated with branches and leaves. Festival de los Patios Cordobeses/The Cordoba Patio F estival. wreaths and paper lanterns outlined against the sky." which are defended by the Christian natives. A series of ancient rituals which were followed on this. Celebration of the patron Saint of Spain. Pontevedra. when light triumphs over darkness. Andalucia. a competition of Mary Crosses and a Patio. almost one hundred and fifty celebrations of "Moors and Christians" take place over the length and breadth of the country. and late at night when the spirit takes over the thousand throats of the "cantaores" (flamenco singers) and the legs and arms of the "bailaoras" (dancers) with their four sevillanas . have been studied in minute detail in the work of Baroja. La Rioja. This centuries-old festival includes the pilgrimage of the conquering Virgin of the Linares Sanctuary across the countryside with horsemen and richly decorated coaches. The majority are found in Alicante where the festivities become livelier and more numerous as the days pass. Valencia. Official recognition of the feast day was given in 1246. Cordoba. Starting with the feast of the Holy Christ. Castilla y La Mancha. The new feast day arrived in Spain sometime during the 14th century. Galicia. but the most famous Festival in the city is celebrated on the 29th June . In these rituals. Andalucia. housed in magnificent masterpieces of silverwork.the height being at midday during the long cavalcade of riders. especially the balconies of young girls in love. Fireworks. Galicia. Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) April 22 to April 24. National holiday. after which a "battle" ensues. Saint Augustine's day. As early as the 17th century. The feast is followed by folkloric dancing. Sevilla. small side street and plazas so typical of the city are filled with flowers. fire and water. the essential features are the sun. Felanitx. To tell the truth. Balearic Islands. and 'sanjuanera' songs are sung. the shortest night of the year. El Coso August. pilgrimages ('romerias') are undertaken. Dia de Santiago July 25. Alicante. Iron Grille and Balcony Contest in which the patios. in which a full moon appeared with its center darkened by shadow. Everything goes on amidst the noise of fireworks and the ringing of bells. Alicante. the Seville Fair opens. televised mass. straw effiges are burnt. Morning. it's a bit of . Romeria Vikinga August 3. Fiestas de Haro Summer. After the 'battle'" everybody drinks red wine from the Ulla River and eats seafood. Shortly after Holy Week. Felanitx celebrates its local fiesta on August 28th. all for free.the Real de la Feria blazes with multicolored tents. the herb thyme is blessed. Hogueras de San Juan June 20 to June 29. May. evening and night . Haro. Corpus Christi May 29.the day of San Pedro. the main feature is the Host. brimming over with joy and full of spectacularity. in which everyone participates. in Valverde del Jucar (Cuenca) in January and ending with the "Moorish King" in Agost (Alicante) in December. Santiago de Compostela. During this Festival the famous "Wine Battle" takes place in the Riscos de Bilibio.April. pines and poplars are planted. Jesus himself told her of the significance of the vision: the bright circle signified all liturgical celebrations and these were only darkened by the absence of a feast day dedicated to the exaltation of the actual presence of Christ in the Eucharist (which was debated at the time). Finally. ending with the triumph of the followers of the Cross. Valencia. Toledo. who are serenaded. In the procession. Festivities are strung out through the summer. who surround the Moors and defeat them. parades. The nun Juliana of Liege used to have a strange vision every time she began to pray. groups of Moors and Christians drove through the town accompanied by noisy bands.
sweet. red wine. People wear traditional Spanish costumes and dance "sevillanas" and "malaguenas" in the street. Harvesting festivities of one of the most renown wine regions in Spain. La Rioja. The fair takes place during bullfighting season. Fiestas de la Vendimia Riojana/ La Rioja Wine Festival September (around the 21st.an exotic patron saint. Saint Anthony. eat fish. Logrono. gunpowder. With more than 400 years of tradition behind them. the Day of San Mateo).. The Town Hall organizes a whole week of activities: sports. Andalucia. Albacete. called "verbenes. music. This festival usually starts the second Friday of August with spectacular fireworks. Fiestas Patronales de La Virgen de Gracia September. The Rioja is the center of a very important wine culture. given that most Majorcan towns and villages celebrate Saint John. Malaga. so one can see a magnificent contest in the afternoon. . including four or five outdoors music and dance night festivals. theatre. cheese and ham and drink a delicious. Saint Joseph or Saint Sebastian. and flower offering to the Virgin. a children's festival. The main components are the fireworks. the feria takes place in the centre of Malaga during the afternoon. Castilla y La Mancha. procession. La Virgen de Gracia. the Fiestas of Caudete are celebrated every year to honour its Virgin. etc. Then." Fiesta de Verano August.
and with the Tour of spain holding a place among cyclings great events. with legends such as Basque Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain continuing to inspire upcoming generations. Spain also offers wonderful sailing. where the races will be visible from the shore.Sports in Spain Sports are a passion in Spain. Basketball enjoys increasing popularity in Spain. Spain´s temperate climate and spectacular scenery help create wonderful golf courses. As the second most mountainous country in Europe. Spain naturally plays host to ski resorts of high quality. enhanced by the award of the next America´s cup to Valencia. with Spanish natives going on to stardom in the USA´s National Basketball Association. The sport of cycling enjoys great popularity in Spain. No sporting country can claim stronger football (soccer) teams than the host country of the fabled Real Madrid and Barca futbol dynasties. Map of Spain . Surrounded by water. which in turn have helped develop great golfers past and present.
A photo tour .
Spain-info.com ..Bibliography .
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