Introduction to Spain

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007 at 12:00 am

spainSituated in Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is widely known for Flamenco and bullfights. However, Spain offers more than that. For thousands of years, it is one of Europe’s cultural centers, with an extraordinary artistic heritage from painting to architecture.

The dominant figure of Spain’s artistic golden age were the Toledo-based artists El Greco and Diego Velasquez. In the 18th century, Francisco Goya rose to prominence as Spain’s most prolific painter and produced some of the most wonderful portraits of royalty. The art world in the early 20th century bore witness to the remarkable Spanish artists like Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí.

Spain’s architecture ranges from prehistoric monuments in the Balearic Islands through the Roman ruins of Mérida and Tarragona, the decorative Lonja in Seville, the Mudéjar buildings, Gothic-style cathedrals, castles, fantastic modernist monuments and Gaudí’s intricate fabulist sculptures.

The country is also known as birthplace of the guitar, which was invented in Andalusia in the 1790s when a sixth string was added to the Moorish lute. It gained its modern shape in the 1870s.

Today’s Spanish society is obsessed with two things: football and gossip. More popularly known in the United States as “soccer,” football is almost a religion among Spanish fans. The country stops and the streets become empty whenever an important football match is being played. Meanwhile, gossip is one of Spain’s favorite past times. They love to take a look into the private moments of the beautiful, rich, and famous.

Spain also possesses an array of fiestas, which are times of celebration. As they say, Spain has so many fiestas that even if you could attend more than one a day, you probably won’t be able to see them all in your lifetime. It also prides itself of having some of the best beaches in the world. The one that stands out the most is Ibiza, which is a hang out of the rich and famous as well as the paradise island for dance clubbers all over the world.