TOP-50 interesting facts about Spain and Spaniards
Spain is a country in the south-west of Europe that shares many similarities with its neighbours. But, at the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history and culture, where the traditions of the West and the East are blended. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Spain.
50 most interesting facts about Spaniards and Spain
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. On the territory of Spain, the first people appeared 20 thousand years ago. For a long time, Cro-Magnons here neighboured with the last Neanderthals.
2. In the III millennium BC the Iberian tribes, whose homeland is the Caucasus, came to the peninsula. At that time, the whole peninsula is called Iberia.
3 The Phoenicians called these lands Spain. In translation, this word means the Land of Rabbits (Damans).
4. In ancient times the coast of Spain was explored by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans. During 200 years of bloody wars, the Romans completely subjugated Spain.
5. In the V century AD, the peninsula was invaded by the Visigoths, who founded their kingdom here. Under Justinian Spain was conquered by Byzantium, and in the early VIII century the Moors arrived here.
6. During the Reconquista, which lasted several centuries, the Moors were expelled from Spain. And the marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile started the country of Spain.
7. In the 15th century, the Inquisition was founded in Spain to preserve the purity of the faith, but it became famous for mass executions and expulsion of Jews from the country.
8. After the discovery of America, Spain became the richest country in Europe, but numerous wars led to its decline. And soon the French Bourbons established themselves on the throne.
9. In the 20th century, the Franco dictatorship took over the country, known not only for its numerous repressions but also for its unprecedented economic boom.
10. In 1976, after Franco died and King Juan Carlos came to power, democratic reforms began, with the election of the Cortes and the adoption of the Constitution.
11. Spain is now a member of the EU and NATO, the second-largest country in Western Europe by area, and the 13th largest economy in the world. It is home to 48 million people.
12. Spain is located in two parts of the world, Europe and Africa. Most of the country lies on the Iberian Peninsula, but it also includes the Canary Islands, the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which are located in Africa.
13. The administrative unit of Spain is the autonomous community. This is the name now given to historical lands that were once entire kingdoms.
14. The capital of Spain is Madrid. It became the capital of the kingdom in 1561, and now it is home to more than 3 million people. It is one of only four cities in the country with a metro.
15. One of the pillars of the country’s economy is the production of wine. Spain is second only to France and Italy in this indicator. The country is famous for its olives and almonds.
16. Every year, the kingdom exports more than 3 billion wine corks to other countries.
17. Tourism is also one of the kingdom’s most important sources of income. More than 1.3 million Spaniards are employed in this industry. Every year, more than 80 million people, mostly from other EU states, come to the country for holidays.
18. Modern Spain is a Catholic country. About 80 per cent of the population identify themselves as adherents of this religion, but only half of them are active Catholics.
19. Spain has a huge number of universities, where more women than men study. The first university in the kingdom was opened back in 1209 by the Moors.
20. Compulsory military service was abolished in the country in 2001. Since then, the Royal Army is formed exclusively on a contract basis.
21. One of the symbols of the country is Madrid’s Prado Museum. It was founded in 1819 and now about 3.5 million tourists visit the museum every year. It is one of the largest museums in Europe.
22. Another iconic place in the kingdom is the Alhambra palace complex. It is located on top of a rocky plateau near Granada and used to be the capital of the Moorish rulers.
23. The Sagrada Família or Holy Family Cathedral is considered the symbol of Barcelona. It is a temple built at the end of the XIX century in neo-Gothic style. More than 2 million people visit it every year.
24. Barcelona is also home to the famous Park Güell, created by the genius of architect Antoni Gaudí. It combines residential areas and luxurious gardens, and the total area of the park exceeds 17 hectares.
25. The capital of Catalonia is also home to Europe’s largest aquarium. It consists of one large and 35 small aquariums, which represent the ecosystems of different seas of the planet.
26. In Seville, the attention of tourists is attracted by the Alcazar, a fortress of Moorish rulers in the middle of the XIV century. It combines Arab and European art, and in our time it was here that scenes of the royal palace of Dorne were filmed in the TV series «Game of Thrones».
27. In the south of Spain is the fortress of Malaga, founded in the 8th century. It is one of the best preserved fortresses of the Arab rule.
28. In the north of the country is the famous Altamira Cave, which is called the “Sistine Chapel of the Stone Age”. It contains samples of polychrome paintings of the oldest population of the peninsula.
Character and customs of the Spaniards
29. The Spaniards are a very emotional people. They never hide their feelings, very open and passionate. In conversation, they actively gesticulate and often raise their voices. This does not mean that they are angry, just such are the peculiarities of the local mentality.
30. Also, when talking Spaniards often touch each other: pat on the shoulder and back, grab hands. This is not a violation of personal space, but simply an expression of friendliness and sincerity.
31. The southern climate has imposed its own peculiarities on the character of the Spaniards. They are not used to hurry somewhere, prefer to live today, and their favourite word-promise is «manana», which means «tomorrow».
32. Spaniards are very gambling people. They are extremely fond of different lotteries, and their national sport is football. Spanish fans are the most active in Europe.
33. The second most popular sport in the country is bullfighting. This performance here is really considered a sport, although even the Spaniards themselves have a mixed attitude to it. For example, bullfighting is banned in Catalonia.
34. Spain is very fond of holidays and noisy celebrations. By the number of official holidays, the country is in first place in the world – there are 29 of them. This is due to the fact that each autonomous community celebrates its own National Day.
35. The inhabitants of the kingdom are very sociable people, they love to spend time in clubs and bars, discussing the latest news. Spain is considered a record-breaker in the number of drinking establishments. There are more than 300 thousand of them in the country.
36. Spaniards judge the popularity of a bar or cafe by the amount of rubbish on the floor. Here it is customary to dump napkins and crumbs on the floor, and the more of them – the more popular the establishment.
37. The locals have strictly regulated meal times. A meal schedule is extremely important to a Spaniard. They believe that it guarantees good health and are very proud of this habit.
38. The Spanish way of life is characterised by three features. Siesta – an afternoon nap, paseo – an evening visit to relatives, and osio – a heart-to-heart talk.
39. It is common for Spaniards to have two surnames. One is taken from the father, and the other from the mother. This is due to the fact that after marriage Spanish women always leave their surname, and children inherit two surnames at once.
40. Family for Spaniards is sacred. Here they honour family values and love children very much. Among the inhabitants of the kingdom, it is not customary to leave children alone or with relatives for a long time, so the Spaniards often go for walks as a family.
41. Spaniards marry late. The average age of newlyweds is 30 years. Before the wedding, young people take a mandatory training course organised by the church, and at the wedding the groom is obliged to give the bride 13 consecrated coins.
42. Divorce in Spain is a long and troublesome matter. The usual divorce process can last 5 years.
43. Flamenco is considered the national dance of the country. It is a bright and passionate couple dance, singing love and combining European and Eastern traditions. It is performed to the guitar and castanets.
44. A curious New Year’s tradition of the country is the custom of eating 12 grapes at the last strikes of the chimes. Spaniards believe that then each of the 12 months of the next year will definitely be happy.
Nature of Spain
45. Spain is considered to be the most mountainous country in Europe. Mountains occupy almost 75% of its territory, although in terms of height they are inferior to the Alps. The highest point of mainland Spain is Mount Mulasen (3478 metres).
46. The Kingdom has a very long coastline. It has about 8,000 kilometres of beautiful beaches. Some of the best are on the Balearic Islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
47. The island of Ibiza in the Balearic archipelago is known not only for its beautiful beaches and luxurious vegetation, but also as the centre of club life in Europe.
48. And the Canary Islands are known for active volcanoes, the highest of which is Teide (3718 metres). Around the volcano on the island of Tenerife there is a national park, included in the list of natural heritage sites of UNESCO.
49. Spain is the only country in Europe where wild monkeys can be found. About 300 individuals of tailless macaques Magotho macaques live on the Rock of Gibraltar.
50. Spain is also the only country in Europe where bananas grow. Other European countries do not have this plant.
Friends! If you know more interesting facts about Spaniards and Spain, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be happy to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!