Spain is a renowned tourist destination for a plethora of reasons: its stunningly well-preserved architecture and historical landmarks, Mediterranean atmosphere, diverse landscape, tasty food, and passionate culture.
Situated on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, Spain is the fourth largest country in the continent with a population of over 47 million people.
Here are ten fun facts about Spain:
1. With an area of 505,990 square kilometres, Spain is the 51st largest country in the world.
2. The highest mountain peak in Spain is Mount Teide located on the island of Tenerife. At 3,718 meters above sea level, it is also the tallest mountain in all of Africa.
3. Madrid is not only the capital city of Spain but also has the honour of being home to one of oldest universities in continuous operation in the world – Complutense University of Madrid which was founded back in 1499!
4. Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport played in Spain with almost every village and town having their own team competing against others within their region or province. The national football team has won numerous prestigious tournaments including FIFA World Cup (2010) and UEFA European Championship (1964, 2008 & 2012). Barcelona and Real Madrid are two Spanish teams that have global fan following thanks to their success at both domestic as well as international levels.
5.”La Tomatina” held annually on last Wednesday of August in Buñol near Valencia is probably one of strangest festivals celebrated anywhere else in the world where participants pelt each other with tomatoes! It started off as a small local event back 1947 but now attracts close to 40 thousand visitors from all over globe every year who take part this “food fight”.
6.”El Cid”, born Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was a Castilian nobleman and military leader during 11th century who fought against Moorish rulers across what is now modern day Spain and Portugal while also serving under Alfonso VIof Leonand Castile. He later became famous through various literary works written about his life such as “The Song of My Cid”. His heroic deeds have been captured on film too like 1961’s “El Cid” starring Charlton Heston in title role which was nominated for four Academy Awards!
7.”Don Quixote“, published between 1605 and 1615is widely considered Miguel de Cervantes’ magnum opus as well as one first ever novels ever written. Its full name being “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”, it follows adventures an ageing man named Alonso Quijano who goes insane after reading too many chivalric romances believing himself to be knight errant “Don Quixote”. This work has had great influence on Western literature with many authors citing it as source inspiration. For instance Mark Twain once famously quipped: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn.’”
8. Spain boasts the world’s third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
9. Spanish is the world’s second-most spoken native language.
10. Spain is the only European country to have a physical border with an African country.