18 Interesting Facts about Spain 19/01/2018

Spain is a popular tourism destination but ever wanted to know about the country that offers flamenco dancing and bull fighting? Well here are 18 interesting facts about Spain to look over.

Nudity is legal in Spain possibly because Spain gets 3,000 hours of sunlight a year.  However, despite it being OK to bare all, in Barcelona it is illegal to wear a bikini unless you are on the beach with fines of up to €500 for breaking this law.

Spain has always ranked high in terms life expectancy in the world. The latest average 82 and a half with women at 85 and a half and men at 79 and a half. Experts cite the Mediterranean diet and warm climate as the reason for this.

Spain seem to be concerned about the carbon footprint as they are the first country in the world that relies on wind energy to create electricity with a generation of 47,319 GWh, that lights ups nearly 20% of the country.

Spanish children don’t believe in the tooth fairy. Instead when they lose a tooth, they put it under their pillow for Ratoncito Pérez comes to collect it. In exchange, this small mouse version of the tooth fairy leaves a small gift or money for the child once they wake up.

Barcelona’s famous church La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for over 130 years and it's only expected to be complete by 2026. That’s longer than the time the Egyptians took to complete the Great Pyramid of Egypt which took 10 to 20 years to build.

The world's oldest existing lighthouse is the Tower of Hercules which is in A Coruña, Spain. It was built in the first century and is still functional as well as being one of the 46 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain.

Juan Pujol Garcia had the rare distinction of receiving an Iron Cross from the Germans and an MBE from the British during WW2. The reason for this is because he was recruited by M15 as a double agent after already independently spying on Nazi Germany due his dislike of fascism.

The youngest king ever was Alfonso XIII of Spain, who became king the day he was born as his father had passed away seven months before his birth. Alfonso’s mother acted as Queen regent until he turned 16.

The lottery has been a blessing to small struggling towns in Spain. In 2011, the small town Sodesto were close to financial ruin, bet on the El Gordo lottery and won $950 million. Five years later in 2016 a similar story happened where Pinos Puente was struggling but won €56 million in the El Gordo Christmas lottery and were able to get back on track.

Gustave Eiffel made his mark in Girona before heading Paris to construct his masterpiece: The Eiffel Tower. But did you know was originally intended for Barcelona. Around 1887, Gustave was bestow the tower but the people of Barcelona didn’t want it so he moved to build it in Paris two years later and now it is the iconic symbol of not just Paris but the entirety of France.

In Burgos, the people celebrate "El Colacho" around the time Corpus Christi. At this event, men dressed as the Devil (or Colacho) and jumps over babies born in the previous 12 months who are lying on mattresses in the street to cleanse them of original sin.

Spain produces 43.8% of the world's Olive Oil and is therefore sometimes is referred to as liquid gold.  In fact, some the olive oil that claims to be from Italy was actually produced in Spain and Italy import most of their oil.

St George is commonly associated with England, but he is also praised in Barcelona. If you're holidaying in Barcelona on St George’s day (23rd April) you can expect a rose or a book from your loved one, depending on your sex. As well as the St George cross on the shirt of FC Barcelona, on St George’s Day lovers give each other gifts. Women receive a red rose and men receive a book.

Spain has an event called the Twelve Grapes. This is where Spaniards celebrate the New Year by eating one grape with their family for each bell strike of the clock at midnight. This custom was originally popularized by Spanish vine growers in 1909 as a way to sell their excess grapes! Families either eat them after the dinner or in the main squares around the country.

Spain has been responsible for a lot of inventions from everyday objects like the stapler and the mop to nifty things like the spacesuit and the game Foosball. They also invented lollipops with Chupa Chups being the most popular brand being sold over 150 countries.

Gestures are a great way to express emotions without speaking. The Spanish are fond of them too. Examples of offensive gestures including wiggling fingers from the nose, flicking the teeth with the thumbnail and grabbing the left arm with the right while making a left-handed fist while pulling down the lower eyelid while someone is talking means that the listener doubts what the speaker is saying.

Spain’s highest mountain isn’t in the Iberian Peninsula. It is called Mount Teide standing at 3718 meters.  It is an active volcano and can be found in the Canary Islands.

The first "modern" novel was created in Spain in 1605 and has been translated into more languages after the Bible. The name of the book was Don Quixote and it was written by Miguel de Cervantes. It was voted the “most meaningful book of all time” in 2002 by a panel of 100 top authors, including Normal Mailer, Salman Rushdie, Caroles Fuentes, and Doris Lessing.


Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet


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