Spain

Where is Spain?

Spain is located in south western Europe. It borders the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and is situated between France to the north and Portugal to the south west.



Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe. It has 4,964 km of coastline which is a magnet for visitors, although more people spend time exploring Spain away from the sea.

There is everything from green forests or mountain ranges through to long sandy beaches.

Regions and Climate

Spain is divided into many regions, including the Balearic Islands situated in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.




The Spanish climate is diverse. The Basque region lies to the north and is sometimes called Green Spain because it rains a lot making the land fertile. Here there are mild winters and cool summers with only a slight change in temperature.

Central Spain is very hot in summer but freezing cold in winter.

To the South lies dry Spain which makes up two thirds of the country. Here there is the minimum of rainfall with almost constant hot sun. When it does rain, it is often very heavy with fierce thunderstorms.

Facts

  • Capital: Madrid which is situated in the middle of the country. 
  • Other major cities: Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga and Seville.
  • Area: 504,782 sq km. It is only a little smaller than France, and over twice as big as the United Kingdom.
  • Official Languages: Spanish is the main language but there are several versions spoken in different regions.
  • Religion: Most people are Roman Catholic but there are also some Muslims and Jews. Christmas and Easter are the main catholic holidays. Christmas is celebrated on the 6th January
  • Currency: 1 euro (EUR) = 100 cents Replaced the pesetas in January 2002
  • Population: 40,000,000
  • Major River: Tagus 1007 km, it flows through Spain and Portugal, from east to west.
  • Highest Mountain: Pico de Teide is the highest mountain in Spain (3718m). It is situated on the Canary Island of Tenerife. This mountain is also an active volcano.
  • The highest mountain in mainland Spain is Mulhacen (3483m) in the Sierra Nevada.

Flag

The current flag was adopted on December 19th 1981.



The official Spanish flag used by the government has red and yellow stripes and a coat of arms. Sometimes the flag is shown without the coat of arms.

Some things Spain is well known for:

  • wine and sherry.
  • tourism industry in bars, cafes and hotels.
  • leather goods especially footwear.
  • oranges which they sell across the world.
  • growing olives in groves to make olive oil.
  • cars


School Life

All children between the ages of 6 and 16 go to school.

Lessons begin early in the morning and finish about 5.00pm.

Lunch is from 1.00 to 3.00pm and most children go home.



In June the school closes at lunch time as it is too hot in the afternoon to have lessons.

There is a two to three week holiday at Christmas and one week at Easter.

Children have 10 weeks summer holiday.

Spanish children do not normally where a uniform, so they can wear their own clothes to school.


Food


Paella made with fresh seafood and rice, has long been a Spanish favourite.



Another tradition is tapas. These are small dishes of snacks which cover all types of food from seafood to vegetables.

Traditional Costume

Spain is famous for its festivals called "Fiestas". There is usually a religious theme to a fiesta. The celebration will normally start with a church service.

Every region and town in Spain has holidays set aside for their own special fiestas. These fiestas often celebrate important people and events; for example, saints’ days may be celebrated, or the successful harvesting of crops.


Fiestas often include flamenco dancing, with men and women wearing colourful costumes. They often hold small musical instruments called castanets. These are made of two curved discs of wood which are clicked together.


Simple Spanish phrases.

  • Hola - Hi
  • Me Ilamo - My name is
  • Encantado, a - Nice to meet you
  • Si - Yes
  • No - No
  • En espanol - In Spanish
  • En ingles - In English
  • Adios - Goodbye
  • Gracias - Thank you
  • Por favour - Please