Portal:Spain

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THE SPAIN PORTAL
EL PORTAL DE ESPAÑA

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Location of Spain

Spain (Spanish: España), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a country in southern Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. The country consists of Peninsular Spain which is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, two archipelagos, one in each sea, and two autonomous cities in North Africa. The mainland area of Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the southern and eastern areas, the Cantabric Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Spain is organised as a parliamentary democracy and is a constitutional monarchy. Spain has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and is a developed country, with the ninth largest economy in the world and fifth largest in the EU. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France).

Spain flourished under the Roman empire Hispania, thus becoming one of the Empire's most important regions at the time. During the times of the Middle Ages, Spain was under Germanic rule, only later to come under the rule of the Islamic caliphate. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the completion of the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. It has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.

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Bullfighting

Bullfighting or tauromachy (Spanish: toreo, corrida de toros or tauromaquia; Portuguese tourada, corrida de touros or tauromaquia) is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, some cities in southern France, and several Latin American countries. Its origin is unknown, though it has been suggested that it was originally brought to Spain by the Visigoths. A link to the old culture of Crete has also been proposed.

The tradition, as it is practiced today, involves professional performers (in Spanish toreros or matadores, in Portuguese toureiros) who execute various formal moves with the goal of appearing graceful and confident, while masterful over the bull itself. Such maneuvers are performed at close range, and conclude with the death the bull by a well-placed sword thrust as the finale. In Portugal the finale consists of a tradition called the pega, where men (Forcados) are dressed in a traditional costume of damask or velvet, with long knit hats as worn by the famous Ribatejo campinos (bull headers). Bullfighting generates heated controversy in many areas of the world, including Spain, where the "classic" bullfighting was born. Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition, while animal rights groups argue that it is a blood sport because of the suffering of the bull and horses during the bullfight.

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A portrait of Francisco Martínez de la Rosa
Credit: Petronas

Francisco de Paula Martinez de la Rosa (10 March 1789 — 1862) was a dramatist and statesman. Rosa was born in Granada, and educated at the University of Granada. Rosa became well known after epigrams he performed on celebrities.

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A portrait of Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852 – Barcelona, 10 June 1926) – sometimes referred to by the Spanish form of his name, Antonio Gaudí – was a Spanish Catalan architect, who belonged to the Modernisme (Art Nouveau) movement and was famous for his unique style and highly individualistic designs.

Gaudí was born in the province of Tarragona in southern Catalonia, Spain in 1852. While there is some dispute as to his birthplace – official documents state that he was born in the town of Reus, whereas others claim he was born in Riudoms, a small village 3 miles (5 km) from Reus. Gaudí, as an architecture student at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona from 1873 to 1877, achieved only mediocre grades but did well in his "Trial drawings and projects." After five years of work, he was awarded the title of architect in 1878. As he signed Gaudí's title, Elies Rogent declared, "Qui sap si hem donat el diploma a un boig o a un geni: el temps ens ho dirà" ("Who knows whether we have given this diploma to a nut or to a genius. Time will tell.") The newly named architect immediately began to plan and design and would remain affiliated with the school his entire life. Gaudí's first works were designed in the style of gothic and traditional Spanish architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who promoted an evolved form of gothic architecture, proved a major influence on Gaudí. But the student surpassed the master architect and contrived highly original designs – irregular and fantastically intricate. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an almost hallucinatory power.

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