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The Persistence of Memory is one of the most famous paintings of the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.

The culture of Spain is a European culture based on a variety of influences. These include the pre-Roman cultures, mainly the celts and the Iberians cultures; but mainly in the period of Roman influences. In the areas of language and religion, the Ancient Romans left a lasting legacy. The subsequent course of Spanish history also added elements to the country's cultural development. The Visigothic Kingdom left a sense of a united Christian Hispania that was going to be welded in the Reconquista. Muslim influences were strong during the period of 711 A.D. to the 1400s, especially with loan words. The Spanish language, derives directly from Vulgar Latin, and has minor influences from pre-roman languages like barro -mud-, gothic -war-, Arabic and basque Other minorities includes the Jewish population in some cities, but after the defeat of the Muslims during the Christian "Reconquista" (Reconquest) period between 1000 to 1492, Spain became an almost entirely Roman Catholic country. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played a significant role in shaping its culture. By the end of the 19th and 20th , the Spaniards made expressions of cultural diversity easier than it had been for the last seven centuries. This occurred at the same period that Spain became increasingly drawn into a diverse international culture. Spain has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 40.[1]

Contents

Literature

Literature of Spain
• Medieval literature
Renaissance
Miguel de Cervantes
Baroque
Enlightenment
Romanticism
Realism
Modernismo
Generation of '98
Novecentismo
Generation of '27
• Literature subsequent to the Civil War

The term "Spanish literature" refers to literature written in the Spanish language, including literature composed by Spanish, other European,and Latin American writers. It may include Spanish poetry, prose, and novels.

Spanish literature is the name given to the literary works written in Spain throughout time, and those by Spanish authors worldwide. Due to historic, geographic and generational diversity, Spanish literature has known a great number of influences and it is very diverse. Some major movements can be identified within it.

Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, also called "La Celestina"

Highlights include the Cantar de Mio Cid, the oldest preserved Spanish cantar de gesta. It is written in medieval Spanish, the ancestor of modern Spanish.

The Celestina is a book published anonymously by Fernando de Rojas, about whom we know little, in 1499. This book is considered to be one of the greatest in Spanish literature, and traditionally marks the end of medieval literature and the beginning of the literary renaissance in Spain.

Besides its importance in the Spanish literature of the Golden Centuries, Lazarillo de Tormes is credited with founding a literary genre, the picaresque novel, so called from Spanish pícaro meaning "rogue" or "rascal". In these novels, the adventures of the pícaro expose injustice while amusing the reader.

Published by Miguel de Cervantes in two volumes a decade apart, Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and perhaps the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it regularly appears at or near the top of lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.

Painting and sculpture

Spain's greatest painters during the Golden age period included El Greco, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco Goya, who became world-renowned artist between the period of the 1500s to 1800s. However, Spain's best known artist since the 1900s has been Pablo Picasso, who is known for abstract sculptures, drawings, graphics, and ceramics in addition to his paintings. Other leading artist include Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Antoni Tàpies.

Architecture

During the Prehistoric period, the Megalithic and the Iberian and Celtic architectures are developed. Through the Roman period, both the urban development (Emerita Augusta) and constructions (Aqueduct of Segovia) flourish. After the Pre-Romanesque period, in the architecture of Al-Andalus, important contributions are made by the Caliphate of Cordoba (the Great Mosque of Córdoba), the Taifas (Aljafería, in Zaragoza), the Almoravids and Almohads (La Giralda, Seville), and the Nasrid of the Kingdom of Granada (Alhambra, Generalife).

During the Islamic period. Spanish architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture. The principal Islamic architectural types are: the Mosque, the Tomb, the Palace and the Fort. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for buildings of lesser importance such as public baths, fountains and domestic architecture.[1][2]

Islamic art prohibited the painting of people or figures, so beautiful designs and floral patterns covered every wall of important buildings. When they tried to involve the presence of God they made beautiful pillars to make you feel lost and in awe. Art was very important in Spain at that time. The three main religions in Spain then were: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These three religions bonded very well and worked alongside each other. The places of worship involved all three different aspects.

After them, several currents appear: the Mudéjar Style (Alcázar of Seville), the Romanesque period (Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela), the The Gothic period (the Cathedrals of Burgos, León and Toledo), the Renaissance (Palace of Charles V in Granada), the Baroque period (Granada Cathedral), the Spanish Colonial architecture, and Neoclassical Style (El Prado Museum) are the most important ones. In the 19th century the Eclecticism and Regionalism, the Neo-Mudéjar Style, and the Glass architecture bloom. In the 20th century the Catalan Modernisme (La Sagrada Família by Gaudí), the Modernist architecture, and the Contemporary architecture germinate.

Cinema

The art of motion-picture making within the nation of Spain or by Spanish filmmakers abroad is collectively known as "Spanish Cinema".

In recent years, Spanish cinema has achieved high marks of recognition as a result of its creative and technical excellence. In the long history of Spanish cinema, the great filmmaker Luis Buñuel was the first to achieve universal recognition, followed by Pedro Almodóvar in the 1980s. Spanish cinema has also seen international success over the years with films by directors like Segundo de Chomón, Florián Rey, Luis García Berlanga, Carlos Saura, Julio Medem and Alejandro Amenábar. Woody Allen, upon receiving the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in 2002 in Oviedo remarked: "when I left New York, the most exciting film in the city at the time was Spanish, Pedro Almodovar's one. I hope that Europeans will continue to lead the way in film making because at the moment not much is coming from the United States."

Non-directors have obtained less international notability. Only the cinematographer Néstor Almendros, the actress Penélope Cruz and the actors Fernando Rey, Antonio Banderas, Javier Bardem and Fernando Fernán Gómez have obtained some recognition outside of Spain. Mexican actor Gael García Bernal has also recently received international notoriety in films by Spanish directors.

Today, only 10 to 20% of box office receipts in Spain are generated by domestic films, a situation that repeats itself in many nations of Europe and the Americas. The Spanish government has therefore implemented various measures aimed at supporting local film production and movie theaters, which include the assurance of funding from the main national television stations. The trend is being reversed with the recent screening of mega productions such as the €30 million film Alatriste (starring Viggo Mortensen), the Academy Award winning Spanish/Mexican film Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno), Volver (starring Penélope Cruz), and Los Borgia (€10 million), all of them sold-out blockbusters in Spain.

Another aspect of Spanish cinema mostly unknown to the general public is the appearance of English-language Spanish films such as The Machinist (starring Christian Bale) The Others (starring Nicole Kidman), Basic Instinct 2 (starring Sharon Stone), and Milos Forman’s Goya's Ghosts (starring Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman). All of these films were produced by Spanish firms. This attests to the dynamism and creativity of Spanish directors and producers.

  • The following category is a list of percentages of attendance and gross revenues.
Year Total number of spectators (millions) Spectators of Spanish cinema (millions) Percentage Film Spectators (millions) Percentage over the total of Spanish cinema
1996 96.2 10.4 10.8% Two Much
(Fernando Trueba)
2.1 20.2%
1997 107.1 13.9 14.9% Airbag
(Juanma Bajo Ulloa)
2.1 14.1%
1998 119.8 14.1 13.3% Torrente, the stupid arm of the law
(Santiago Segura)
3 21.3%
1999 131.3 18.1 16% All About My Mother
(Pedro Almodóvar)
2.5 13.8%
2000 135.3 13.4 11% Commonwealth
(Álex de la Iglesia)
1.6 11.9%
2001 146.8 26.2 17.9% The Others
(Alejandro Amenábar)
6.2 23.8%
2002 140.7 19.0 13.5% The Other Side of the Bed
(Emilio Martínez Lázaro)
2.7 14.3%
2003 137.5 21.7 15.8% Mortadelo & Filemón: The Big Adventure
(Javier Fesser)
5.0 22.9%
2004 143.9 19.3 13.4% The Sea Inside
(Alejandro Amenábar)
4.0 20.7%
2005 126.0 21.0 16.7% Torrente 3: The Protector
(Santiago Segura)
3.6 16.9%
2006 (provisional) 67.8 6.3 9.3% Volver
(Pedro Almodóvar)
1.8 28.6%

Language

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Castilian

"Spanish" (About this sound español ) or, more correctly, "Castilian" (Castellano) is a Romance language originally from the northern area of Spain. From there, its use gradually spread inside the Kingdom of Castile, where it evolved and eventually became the principal language of the government and trade. It was later taken to Africa, the Americas and the Philippines when they were brought under Spanish colonial rule between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Today, it is one of the official languages of Spain, most Latin American countries and Equatorial Guinea. In total, 21 nations use Spanish as their primary language. Spanish is also one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Catalan

"Catalan" (pronounced /ˈkætəlæn/; Catalan: català, pronounced [kətəˈla] or [kataˈla]) is a Romance language, the national language of Andorra, and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of The Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Valencian Community, and in the city of Alghero in the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken, although with no official recognition, in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the Roussillon region of southern France, which is more or less equivalent to the département of the Pyrénées-Orientales.

Basque

Galician

"Galician" (Galician: Galego [ɡaˈleɡo]) is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galicia, an autonomous community with the constitutional status of "historic nationality," located in northwestern Spain and small bordering zones in neighbouring autonomous communities of Asturias and Castilla y León.

Galician and Portuguese were, in medieval times, a single language which linguists call Galician-Portuguese, Medieval Galician, or Old Portuguese, spoken in the territories initially ruled by the medieval Kingdom of Galicia. Both languages are even today united by a dialect continuum[citation needed] located mainly in the northern regions of Portugal.

Other languages

The following category is a list of languages, dialects and varieties.

Religion

About 79% of Spaniards identify as belonging to the Roman Catholic religion; 2% identify with another religious faith, and about 19% as non-religious.[2]

Holidays

The most important Spanish holiday is "Semana Santa" (Holy Week), celebrated the week before Easter with large parades and other religious events. Spaniards also hold celebrations to honour their local patron saints in churches, cities, towns and villages. The people decorate the streets, build bonfires, set off fireworks and hold large parades, bullfights and beauty contest. One of the best known Spanish celebration is the festival of "San Fermin", which is celebrated every year in July in Pamplona. Bulls are released into the streets, while people run ahead of the animals to the bullring.

Sport

A game of Fútbol

Association Football (Spanish: Fútbol) is highly appreciated and it is regarded to be the most popular contemporary recreation in the country. Notable teams include FC Barcelona, Valencia CF and Real Madrid C. F..

Cuisine

A significant portion of Spanish cuisine derives from the Roman, Jewish, and Arab traditions. The Moorish people were a strong influence in Spain for many centuries and some of their food is still eaten in the country today. However, pork is popular and for centuries eating pork was also a statement of Christian ethnicity or "cleanliness of blood", because it was not eaten by Jews or Muslims. Several native foods of the Americas were introduced to Europe through Spain, and a modern Spanish cook could not do without potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and beans. These are some of the primary influences that have differentiated Spanish cuisine from Mediterranean cuisine, of which Spanish cuisine shares many techniques and food items.

The essential ingredient for real Spanish cooking is olive oil, as Spain produces 44% of the world's olives. However, butter or lard are also important, especially in the north.

Daily meals eaten by Spaniards in many areas of the country are still very often made traditionally by hand, from fresh ingredients bought daily from the local market. This practice is more common in the rural areas and less common in the large urban areas like Madrid, where supermarkets are beginning to displace the open air markets. However, even in Madrid food can be bought from the local shops; bread from the "panadería" and meat from the "carnicería".

One popular custom when going out is to be served tapas with a drink, including sherry, wine and beer. In some areas, like Almería, Granada or Jaén in Andalusia and Madrid or Salamanca in the centre tapas are given for free with a drink and have become very famous for that reason. It should be noted that almost every bar serves something edible when a drink is ordered, without charge. However many bars exist primarily to serve a purchased "tapa".

Another traditional favorite is the churro with a mug of thick hot chocolate to dip churros in. "Churrerías", or stores that serve churros, are quite common. The Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid is especially famous as a place to stop and have some chocolate with churros, often late into the night (even dawn) after being out on the town. Often traditional Spanish singers and musicians will entertain the guests. [1]

A type of Spanish food known as "Tapas" from a bar in Seville.

As is true in many countries, the cuisines of Spain differ widely from one region to another, even though they all share certain common characteristics, which include:

  • The use of olive oil as a cooking ingredient in items such as fritters. It is also used raw.
  • The use of sofrito to start the preparation of many dishes.
  • The use of garlic and onions as major seasonings.
  • The custom of drinking wine during meals.
  • Serving bread with the vast majority of meals.
  • Consumption of salads, especially in the summer.
  • The consumption of a piece of fruit or a dairy product as dessert. Desserts such as tarts and cakes are typically reserved for special occasions.

Education

Obligatory Education

Age Name
Educacion Primaria

(Primary Education)

5-6 Primero (1st grade)
6-7 Segundo (2nd Grade)
8-9 Tercero (3rd Grade)
9-10 Cuarto (4th Grade)
10-11 Quinto (5th Grade)
11-12 Sexto (6th Grade)
ESO

(Secondary School)

12-13 Primero (first grade)
13-14 Segundo (second grade)
14-15 Tercero (third grade)
15-16 Cuarto (fourth grade)

Optional Education: Bachillerato

  • Common subjects are in red;
  • Optional Subjects are in pink ;
  • Modality Subjects are in blue;
  • Technology Via are in yellow
  • Natural Sciences Via are in green
  • Humanities Via are in olive
  • Social Sciences Via are in brown
  • Arts Via are in beige
Natural Sciences/Technology Humanities and Social Sciences Arts
Physics History/Geography
Chemistry Economy Technical drawing
Biology Maths Painting
Maths Latin Sculpture
Technology Ancient Greek Audiovisual
Technical drawing Art History
2nd Foreign Language French, German, Italian
Communication and Information Technologies
Psychology
Spanish Language
Philosophy
1st Foreign Language
Physical Education only the first year
Autonomical Languages (only in the autonomies where is spoken) Catalan, Basque, Galician
Religion only the first year

Politics

Spain is a democratic parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The Monarch is the head of state, and the President of the Government is the head of government. There are multiple parties and free elections. Executive power is vested in the government. Central legislative power is vested in the two chambers of parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative.

Regionalism

A strong sense of regional identity exists in many regions of Spain. These regions or nationalities—even those that least identify themselves as Spanish—have contributed greatly to many aspects of mainstream Spanish culture. Spaniards are very proud of their heritage and culture.

Most notably, the Basque Country and Catalonia have widespread nationalist sentiment. Many Basque and Catalan nationalists back statehood for their respective regions. Basque aspirations to statehood have been a cause of violence (notably by ETA), although most Basque nationalists (like virtually all Catalan nationalists) currently seek to fulfill their aspirations peacefully.

There are also several communities where there is a great sense of regional identity: Galicia, Andalusia, Asturias, Navarre, Balearic Islands and Valencia (the last two feeling attached to Catalan culture in different ways) each have their own version of nationalism, but generally with a smaller percentage of nationalists than in the Basque Country and Catalonia.

There are other regions which, despite a broad Spanish nationalist feeling, have strong regional identities: Cantabria, Rioja, Aragon, and Extremadura.

There are also the cases of Madrid, an administrative autonomous community inside the two Castilles; the two north African autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and the autonomous community of Murcia. Castile was the core kingdom under which Spain eventually unified after centuries of evolution and incorporations. Yet there are also strong movements in the provinces of the extinct region of Leon, pushing to separate from Castile and León.

Spain has a long history of tension between centralism and regionalism. The current organisation of the state into autonomous communities (similar to a federal organisation) under the Spanish Constitution of 1978 is intended as a way to incorporate these communities into the state.

While everyone in Spain can speak Spanish, other languages figure prominently in many regions: Basque "Euskara" in the Basque Country and Navarre; Catalan in Catalonia, Balearic Islands and Valencia (where it is usually referred to as Valencian), and Galician in Galicia. Spanish is official throughout the country; the rest of these have co-official status in their respective regions and all are major enough that there are numerous daily newspapers in these languages and (especially in Catalan) a significant book publishing industry. Many citizens in these regions consider their regional language as their primary language and Spanish as secondary; these languages cover broad enough regions to have multiple distinct dialects. Spanish itself also has distinct dialects around the country, with the Andalusian ('Andaluz') dialect being closer to the Spanish of the Americas, which is heavily influenced.

See also

References


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