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Spain: Fun Facts about Spain for Kids & Other Curious People
Your Guide: M.S.G. Quixo
Sure, this website is full of fun facts about Spain. But we thought it would be extra fun to have a list of the top ten most interesting facts about Spain. This list covers fun food facts, animal oddities, a little pop music and history and the obligatory geography. For other quirky facts you can see our Spanish Language tips with some interesting phrases you might need in Spain, or our cultural survival guide for an explaination of Spanish business and meal hours. And there is a page on our favorite Spanish food. For kids, buy the book Look What Came From Spain. Here it is, our top ten fun facts about Spain:
Spanish food is not spicy! Chile peppers in Latin American countries make food tangy, but Spanish food is seldom hot. Maybe a little garlicky though.
- You won’t find corn or flour tortillas in Spanish food. In Spain tortillas are a very popular and delicious egg and potato dish.
- Spanish (Castilian Spanish) is not the only language spoken in Spain. There are at least 4 other major languages spoken plus other variations and dialects. The major other languages are Galician, Basque and Catalan.
The post-Franco period after 1975 was an exhilarating time with Spaniards experiencing profound new freedoms. Spain was ruled by a dictator Francisco Franco from 1939 until 1975. The Franco regime strove to unify Spain (sometimes brutally) by outlawing regional languages, promoting the Roman Catholic church and isolating Spain from other countries. After Franco’s death in 1975, King Juan Carlos I returned Spain to a democracy.
In addition to building new government institutions, a late night counterculture, la Movida, gave birth to all forms of artistic expression including movies by Pedro Almadovar and many pop, punk and new wave bands. Bands like Radio Futura, Los Toreros Muertos, Alaska y los Pegamoides, Nacha Pop and many others made music that is classic, irreverent, silly and fun.
- Bird-eating bat mystery was just solved by Spanish scientists. Many interesting animals live in Spain including wild boar, wolves, eagles and various reptiles. Due to loss of habitat, many species are endangered or declining, like the Iberian Lynx and brown bears. Bats are also prevalent – they are the symbol for the city of Valencia and if you lucky you might just see them flying around at night. In 2007 Spanish scientists proved why feathers are found in the droppings of one rare large European bat. They found the giant noctule bat actually eats birds! Migratory song birds travel at night and the bats snatch them out of the air while they fly.
- Madrid, Spain’s capital city, is located in the exact center of the country. There is even a marker in the Puerta del Sol on the exact center of the country. Most cities and capitals develop around the local economy and industries. But Madrid’s success and expansion were purely political. In 1561 King Phillip moved his court to Madrid and this political activity sustained the city.
- Hot Chocolate in Spain is served very thick and very chocolaty – almost like warm pudding! It is traditionally served with churros which are long thin donuts.
- Households in Spain buy fresh pan (bread) every day. The long crusty barras or pistolas (baguettes) are sold at Panaderias (bread shops). The word compañero (companion or friend) means “someone you share bread with.”
- The rain in Spain does NOT stay mainly on the plain. The wettest region is Galicia in the north east. A Spanish expression goes “en Abril, aguas mil,” (in April, waters a thousand – yes, it loses something in the translation.) AND it rained practically every day in April 2007, breaking records and ending a drought. But in Madrid it actually rains more in November and in Galicia it rains most in December.
- Spain is the European country closest to Africa. In fact, the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla are the only European territories on the African continent. Mainland Spain is only 12 miles away from Ceuta. You can take a 35 minute ferry from Ageciras on the southern coast of Spain, to Ceuta. From there you can enter Morocco to visit cities like Tangiers, Casablanca and Fez.
More Fun Facts on Spain:
- For fun facts for kids, check out this book with a lot of nice photos. It doesn't have all of my favorite things about Spain, but it is a great start for kids. Look What Came From Spain