is more to Spanish culture than many tourists
plenty of buildings of great
architectural interest, particularly
But even the humblest town or village usually
has its charms. Every town and village has
its plaza mayor
or main square, often reached by a covered
arcade. The square
is usually an extended forecourt of the
town or village hall.
is also famous for its furniture
(particularly chests); tapestries
work (including wrought iron screens); sculpture;
glazed pottery tiles).
consistently produced painters of note,
dating back to the tenth century. Perhaps
two of the most famous are Goya
(1746-1828), who played a significant role
in the evolution of painting in Europe and
(1599-1660) who most significant works include
and La Rendicion de Breda,
both if which can be seen at the
Prado in Madrid.
has produced such internationally known
such as Enrique
de Falla and
have gained international recognition.
Domingo is one of Spain’s most
performers, closely followed by José
is known to be one of the most outstanding
sopranos in the world.
is the most popular form of entertainment
and, in addition, most cities of any significance
have a theatre.
This is mainly due to the development programme
by the Partido
Socialista Obrero Español
government in the 1980s
is the musical tradition in the south of
the country, particularly in Andalucia.
It has roots in the
(deep song) of the gypsies. Sevillana,
on the other hand, is more of a folk dance
and almost without exception, girls all
over the country learn to dance the sevillana.
which are tourist-orientated usually lack
the emotion of real flamenco
and it is preferable to try to catch a performance
by one of today’s leading personalities
such as Joaquín
the most important sports in Spain is football,
which has a greater national following than
attend the games in the Primera
and millions more follow the games on television.
People gamble on the football
results through the quiniela
or football pools.
or the bullfight,
still has a tremendous following within
Spain. La lidia,
another name for bullfighting,
gained enormously in popularity
in the mid-eighteenth century, when breeders
developed the first breeds of
or fighting bulls.
usually provide the centre of social activity
in the town and village. Spaniards usually
start the day with a very
light breakfast (desayuno),
often being little more than a coffee,
around 10.30 am, lunch
between 1.30 pm and 4 pm, and dinner
being as late as 10 pm or 11 pm.
are also an important part of the Spaniards’
way of life. Tapas are
often displayed on the counter in bars,
and include things as calamares (squid),
and boquerones (anchovies)
marinated in vinegar. Tapas can be taken
as a meal
in themselves or as a tasty bite before
going on to a restaurant for dinner.
The actual translation of tapa is lid. The
story is, that in the last century, bar
owners used to cover drinks
with a piece of bread to keep flies away.
It then became practice to put a titbit
on the bread and this evolved into the tapa
of today. Each region of Spain has its own
at a Glance