What is Spain?
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a Western European country. 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.
Due to Spain's geographical situation and orographic conditions, the climate is extremely diverse it can be roughly divided in three areas:
- The moderate Continental climate takes place in the inland areas of the Peninsula (largest city, Madrid).
- The Mediterranean climate region, which roughly extends from the Andalusian plain along the southern and eastern coasts up to the Pyrenees, on the seaward side of the mountain ranges that run near the coast (largest city, Barcelona).
- An Oceanic climate takes place in Galicia and the coastal strip by the Bay of Biscay (largest city, Bilbao). This area is often called Green Spain.
The main language of Spain is Spanish but the Spanish Constitution, although affirming the sovereignty of the Spanish Nation, recognises historical nationalities and languages like Basque, Catalan, Galician, Aranes Aragonese, and Asturian.
Spanish cuisine consists of a great variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep Mediterranean roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to a unique cuisine with literally thousands of recipes and flavors.
Sport in Spain has been traditionally dominated by football (soccer) (since the early 20th century), cycling and bullfighting (since the 17th century). Today, Spain is a major world sports power, especially since the 1992 Summer Olympics that were hosted in Barcelona and promoted a great variety of sports in the country. The great touristic attraction of the country has caused an improvement of the sports infrastructure, especially for water sports, golf and skiing.
Although Chapter 2 of the Constitution states that no religion shall have a state character, Roman Catholicism is the main religion in the country. About 76% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, about 2% with another religious faith, and about 19% identify as non-believers or atheists. A study conducted in October 2006 by the Spanish Centre of Sociological Investigations shows that from the 76% of Spaniards who identify as Catholics or other religious faith, 54% hardly ever or never go to church, 15% go to church some times a year, 10% some time per month and 19% every Sunday or multiple times per week. About 22% of the whole Spanish population attend religious services at least once a month.
Each municipality is allowed to declare a maxim of 14 public holidays per year up to nine of these are chosen by the national government and at least two are chosen locally.
National public Holidays:
January 1 - New Years Day - Año Nuevo
Moveable - Good Friday - Viernes santo
May 1 - Labour Day - Dia del Trabajador
August 15 - Assumption of Mary - Asunción
October 12 - Columbus Day - Dia de la Hispanidad (Spain national day)
November 1 - All Saints - Todos los Santos
December 6 - Constitution Day- Dia de la Constitución
December 8 - Immaculate Conception - Inmaculada Concepción
December 25 - Christmas Day - Navidad
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