MY TOWN, MY CITY MY REGION, MY COUNTRY
Geographical situation Location Spain is located in southwestern Europe and comprises about 84 percent of the Iberian Peninsula. The Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay) is to the north, the Mediterranean Sea and the Balearic Sea to the south-southeast, Portugal and the North Atlantic Ocean to the west, and France and Andorra to the northeast along the Pyrenees Mountains.
Landform regions The majority of Spain's peninsular region consists of the Meseta Central, a highland plateau rimmed and dissected by mountain ranges. Other landforms include narrow coastal plains and some lowland river valleys, the most prominent of which is the Andalusian Plain in the southwest. We cannot forget our islands: The Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
Climate Peninsular Spain experiences three major climatic types: Continental, Oceanic, and Mediterranean. There are also other kind of climes in Spain, like the Subtropical (Canary Islands), the Alpine climate (Pyrenees) and the Semiarid ( In the southern most part of Spain, including Murcia, Alicante and Almería).
Political division What means to have Autonomous Communities? An Autonomous Community is a first-level political division of the Kingdom of Spain, established in accordance to the Spanish Constitution. Currently, Spain comprises 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities. The autonomous communities have wide legislative and executive autonomy, with their own parliaments and regional governments. The basic institutional law of the autonomous community is the Statute of Autonomy. The Statutes of Autonomy establish the denomination of the community according to its historical identity, the limits of their territories, the name and organization of the institutions of government and the rights they enjoy according the constitution.
Population distribution In 2004 the estimated population was 40,280,780 people, with an average density of approximately 81 inhabitants / km ². The population has become increasingly urban and today more than 78% of them live in cities and larger towns. The most important cities are Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Zaragoza. Most of the big cities in Spain are near the coast except the capital, Madrid.
The four official languages in Spain Spanish Catalan Galician Euskera
Spanish Castilian, which is spoken in all the national territory, Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish territory of Sahara, Central and South America (except Brazil and the Guayanas) and parts of the Philippines, is the official and cultural language of some 350 million people the world over. Of these, nearly 300 million speak it as their mother tongue. These figures make the official language of the Spanish State the most widely spoken Romance language, an expressive instrument of a community which embraces two different worlds and which is spoken by people of different races.
Catalan Catalan 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 Valencia, and in the city of L'Alguer 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 El Carxe) in Spain, and in the Roussillon region of southern France, which is more or less equivalent to the département of the Pyrénées-Orientales.
Galician This language is principally spoken in Galicia, on the northwest of Spain. Galician-Portuguese originated in Galicia at the beginning of the Middle Ages, and was carried by the Christian conquerors outwards, that is, to present day Portugal. Approximately two million people speak Galician, although due to its similarity to Castilian and the multiple interferences derived from a practically universal bilingualism, it is very difficult to make an exact calculation. To this figure we must add the Galician communities living in Latin American countries that use it.
Euskera Euskera, or the Basque language, is nowadays written with Latin alphabet. There are about 600,000 speakers in the north of Spain, the entire province of Guipúzcoa, in addition to the provinces of Vizcaya and Navarra and some areas in Alava, and in the western part of the French Atlantic Pyrenees (approximately 100,000 speakers). There a great number of hypotheses about the origin of the Basque language. It has been suggested that the language of the ancestors of the Basques was introduced into this part of Europe by immigrants from Asia Minor at the beginning of the Bronze Age (i.e. round about the year 2000 BC).
Parliamentary monarchy The Spanish laws impose the administrative conditions that the legislative organs consider suitable for the country. Spain has the form of a Constitutional Monarchy, so its legislative power exercises most of the legislative and the government responsibility. It is a parliamentary system, because after the legislative elections the king should propose the president to the deputies at the parliament and if they approve it, the chosen candidate will be the president as the deputies trust him. Unless that happens, he will have to resign.
The elections in Spain The elections in Spain are every four years. Each political party that is applied for the elections choose their candidates for the party and the representative of the party. If they win the elections, their representative will be the president. The lists of candidates for each party are closed. You vote for this closed list designated by the party. And finally the candidates are selected in proportion to the number of votes that each political party obtains.
The electoral campaign in Spain lasts two weeks and it is organized two weeks before the voting. The public schools are the place where we vote. Besides if you are Spanish non-resident in Spain you can vote by mail for the elections.
Kinds of elections European elections General elections Autonomic elections Local elections
European elections The European elections are every five years. These elections are the same for all countries of the European Union. In these elections we choose the members of the European Parliament.
General elections The general elections, autonomic elections and local elections are every four years. In the general elections we choose the president of Spain.
Autonomic elections In the autonomic elections we choose the president of our autonomous region.
Local elections And in the local elections we choose the mayor of the municipality where we are registered.
Political parties In Spain we have got three important political parties. Then we can find political parties that are important in their autonomous regions or some others that are minority parties.
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, commonly abbreviated by its Spanish initials, PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español), is the ruling party in Spain with 169 deputies and the second oldest. It is a social-democratic party The PSOE was founded with the purpose of representing the interests of the working class born from the Industrial Revolution with the declared objective of achieving socialism, and inspired by the revolutionary principles of Marxism. Currently, it is a social democratic party. PSOE
PP The People's Party (Partido Popular, PP) is the main liberal-conservative (center-right) political party in Spain. The People's Party was a refoundation of the Popular Alliance (Spanish: Alianza Popular, AP), a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, a former government minister under Francisco Franco. The new party combined the conservative AP with several small Christian-democratic and liberal parties. PP is currently the largest opposition party in the Congress of Deputies, with 154 out of 350 deputies.
IU United Left (Izquierda Unida) is a political coalition that was organized in 1986 during the mobilizations in Spain against NATO. It was formed by several groups of leftists, greens, left-wing socialists and republicans. In the last elections he got only 2 deputies so now it is part of the Mixed Party.
Members of the state In the state we can find different members, who carry out different tasks
Chief of State King Juan Carlos I, since November 22, 1975;
Head of Government President of Government : José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, elected 9 March 2008.
First Vice President and Minister of Presidency: María Teresa Fernández de la Vega
Vice President and Minister of Economy and Finance: Pedro Solbes
Cabinet Council of Ministers designated by the president.
Legislative power The legislative power elaborates and changes the laws in agreement with the citizens. Its specific function is approving laws. Generally, it is at the expense of a deliberative body (congress, parliament or representatives' assembly).
Judicial power Judicial review is the power of a court to review the actions of public sector bodies in terms of their legality or constitutionality. In some jurisdictions it is also possible to review the constitutionality of the law itself.
Executive power The executive power works in the laws elaboration and makes sure that these laws are done for the citizens. The sate president and the government do this task
SOURCES OF INCOME
AGRICULTURE Agriculture was traditionally the mainstay of the Spanish economy, which employs about 6% of the workforce. The main crops are wheat, barley, sugar beet (beets), corn, potatoes, rye, oats, rice, tomatoes and onions. The country also has extensive vineyards and citrus orchards and olive groves. Climatic conditions and terrain make rain-fed agriculture easy to cultivate in much of Spain. The Mediterranean provinces, including Valencia, have irrigation systems and long coastal belt which has become one of the most productive areas of Spain..
LIVESTOCK The livestock, especially sheep and goats, has an important economic impact. Among the most famous animals are fighting bulls, which are bred in Andalusia, Extremadura and Salamanca for bullfighting, regarded as the Spanish national holiday.
FISHERIES The fishing industry is important to the Spanish economy. The annual catch was around 1.4 million tons in 2001 and consisted mainly of tuna, squid, octopus, hake, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, whiting and mussels.
INDUSTRY In Spain, among others, textile, iron and steel, motor vehicles, chemicals, clothing, footwear, boats; petroleum refining and cement factories are the most important. Spain is one of the first world producers of wine; production in 1994 was around 2 million tons. The steel industry, which is centred in Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo and Aviles, produced in 1992 about 12.7 million tons of crude steel and 4.9 million tonnes of iron.
TOURISM Spain is the second country in the world to receive more foreign tourists, according to facts from the World Tourism Organization. Spain enjoys a market share of 7% of world tourism, ahead of the United States and Italy.
Catalonia is the first tourist destination in Spain. It receives about the 25% of total tourists. Spain is also a popular destination of cultural tourism because of its historical importance, including cities like Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Toledo. Thirteen Spanish cities have been declared World Heritage Cities by the UNESCO. Cultural tourism contemplates too the two big metropolis of Spain: Madrid and Barcelona, both with great historical importance. Spain is also an important place for Christianity. In fact, some of the holiest places are in Spain: city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (North-West Spain), the third holiest place after the Vatican City in Rome and Jerusalem. It's also the end of the Way of Saint James or Camino de Santiago in Spanish.
SKI RESORTS Spain, as the second most mountainous country of Europe, it is full of high mountains and good ski resorts, with famous ski slopes all over Spain, including the Pyrenees, the Cordillera Central, The Sistema Ibérico and Sierra Nevada.
What’s typical in Spain
Food In Spain there are a lot of typical things because each autonomy has its own customs. People think that the typical food in Spain are the paella and the potato omelette but as a matter of fact, there are a lot of other typical foods in each autonomy.
Paella from Valencia
“Pa amb tomaquet”
Stew from Madrid
Octopus from Galicia
Tripes from Madrid
“Tapas” from all over Spain
Our fantastic olive oil
Sports The most popular sport in Spain is football. Some famous teams are F.C. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla FC . There is a big rivalry between these teams. When they play, it’s a very important event and everybody watches the match.
The people who watch sports are usually young people, overall boys. We also play basketball, tennis and handball. In basketball we were world champions two years ago and we are going to be world champions again in Beijing 08. The most famous basketball player in Spain is Pau Gasol
We also have good tennis players such as Rafa Nadal.
Dances Like with the food, there are a lot of typical dances too. There are typical dances in the different regions. The most famous one is the flamenco and sevillanas, overall in Andalucia, in the south of Spain
Other typical dances are the munheira in Galicia, the sardanas in Catalonia, the jota in Aragón, etc.
Easter In Spain celebrations at Easter are often spectacular. There are fabulous processions all over the country, with members of brotherhoods dressing in hooded robes and aprading their steps through the streets
Bullfighting (toros) The bullfighting all over Spain. . However, there are a lot of people against bullfighting in Spain, especially in Catalonia. Many people don’t feel bullfighting like the national feast, but rather see it as a cruel show which kills animals.
The carnival in Tenerife and Cadiz
San Fermines in Pamplona
The fallas in Valencia
The Feria de Abril in Seville
The flag of Catalonia The Catalan flag has its origin in the shield of Barcelona’s counts. It is one of the oldest flags in Europe and it is formed by five yellow and five red horizontal lines. It became the official flag of Catalunya in 1979.
Catalonia is an Autonomous Community of the Kingdom of Spain. The Autonomous Community of Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² with an official population of 7,210,508 from which immigrants represent an estimated 12.3% of the total population. It borders France and Andorra to the north, Aragon to the west, the Valencian Community to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east (580 km coastline). Official languages are Spanish, Catalan, and Aranese. The capital city is Barcelona. Catalonia is divided into four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its territory corresponds to most of the historical territory of the former Principality of Catalonia.
BARCELONA Barcelona, located at the Mediterranean Sea in the very north of the Spanish coast, is certainly the most cosmopolitan and economically most active city in this country. Of course, Barcelona has an old history, and there are monuments of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods or still before, but most characteristic is what has been built during the last, say, 100 years. Barcelona has been a centre of Modernist architecture and is distinguished especially by the works of genial Antoní Gaudí.
Monuments and museums: Generalitat Palace Council Palace Royal Palace Cathedral Sagrada Familia Güell Park Picasso museum Miró Foundation Historical museum of the city To have more information: www.bcn.es/ (You can change the language)
GIRONA Close to Barcelona and halfway between the sea and the mountains, Girona enjoys a privileged location. It retains one of the most valuable assets of Catalonia, with three main elements unique in Europe: the old defence walls, which constitute the most extensive Carolingian wall in the West, Call Jueu is one of the best preserved Jew districts and the Cathedral, with its 23 meters light has the wider Gothic nave of the world. Alongside all this, the visitor has the opportunity to visit old Romanesque and Gothic buildings and contemplate various museums of art of considerable interest.
Monuments and museums: The cathedral Sant Pere de Galligants Sant Feliu Moorish bath Jewish district of Girona Onyar houses Sant Martí The wall promenade Sant Nicolau To have more information: www.ajuntament.gi (You can change the language)
LLEIDA Lleida is located in one of the most fertile and productive areas in Europe. On the River Segre, halfway between the sea and the mountains and perfectly linked, it is on the route that connects Spain with the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean. Lleida is the capital city of Segrià region and the province that takes its name. It is the most important population and economic inland centre in Catalonia. Its economy is based on the agri-food sector, as well as on all kinds of services
Monuments and museums: Lleida older Cathedral Paeria Palace River Park New Catedral Sant Llorenç Churc Sant Martí Curch Diocesano museum Gardeny Castle Museum Roda Roda Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park To have more information: www.paeria.cat/cat/ajuntament/ (You can change the language)
TARRAGONA Located in the Mediterranean seaside, Tarragona city stands on a rocky mass that serves as a natural vantage point. Like an open balcony to the sea. The city is located in the far north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of demarcation over southern Catalonia. It has got one of the best preserved Roman walls in Europe.
Monuments and museums: Historical museum of Tarragona Amphitheatre The Medel The Romanic circus Provincial Forum The Romanic aqueduct The walls Castellarnau house To have more information: www.tarragona.cat (You can change the language)
Catalan cultural elements
The castellers A casteller is someone who joins together with other people and forms colles castelleres to build castells (human towers) during festivals. It has been a very popular tradition in Catalonia since the eighteenth century.
The Moreneta Statue of the Virgin Mary which is venerated at Montserrat’s monastery, which has become a point of pilgrimage in Catalunya. It is one of the black virgins of Europe, and its Catalan name, la Moreneta, means “the little dark-skinned one”.
Sant Jordi and Sant Jordi’s day Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalunya and in Sant Jordi’s day (23rd April), people in love give presents to each other. The custom is giving a book and a rose. In the old days the book was for the man and the rose for the woman. Nowadays, the woman gets a book and a rose.
The Catalan hat (la barretina) This is a traditional Catalan hat, made of wool in the form of a bag, and usually red or purple. Nowadays, it is no longer commonly used in everyday life, but is still used in folk acts, or as a symbol of Catalan identity. Salvador Dalí re-popularized the barretina in the first half of the 20th century.
La Plaça Sant Jaume St. James square has since the ancient times the political and social city centre and here you can find the Generalitat Palace and the City Town Hall. From the balcony of the Generalitat Palace the Catalan State and the Republic was proclaimed in 1931, and later, in 1977, the return of the Catalan President from exile.
Generalitat of Catalonia This is the building where our autonomic government is located. The Generalitat of Catalonia stems from the medieval institution which ruled, in the name of the King of the Crown of Aragon, some aspects of the administration of the Principality of Catalonia.
The Town Hall Although it has been our city hall for years, the history of this beautiful building goes back to 1274, when Barcelona was the reigning Gothic city of the Mediterranean, and Madrid was little more than a few churches and a group of mud huts. In those days, the principle organ of city government was run by a group of one hundred people, who did not act solely on behalf of the nobility and upper class traders: for the first time in the world, artisans and workers had more or less the same influence as landowners and bankers. The Hall of the Hundred was the most ancient proto-democratic organ of Europe.
Cathedral In the center of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic district), the heart of Barcelona, is the gothic cathedral, known as La Seu. In 1298, construction of the gothic cathedral started under King Jaume II, known as 'the Just'. During the construction of the gothic cathedral, the existing roman building was demolished except for the Santa Llucia chapel. Due to civil wars and the black death which hit the city several times, the construction only progressed slowly. It took until 1460 before the main building was completed. The gothic facade was finished much later, in 1889 and the last part, the central spire, was completed in 1913.
La Plaça del Rei The King’s square is placed in the centre of the gothic neighbourhood and it was once the residence of the counts of Barcelona and later of the kings of the Crown of Aragon.
Plaça Real or Royal Square Barcelona is full of emblematic and classic places which every visitor must approach and which the inhabitants of Barcelona must not forget since it is a part of the history of the city. One of these places is the Royal Square. Next to The Ramblas and San Ferran street, it is situated in the heart of the Gothic district. As its name suggests, it is a square surrounded by arcades and full of cafés, restaurants and musical places where to have a drink or dance and, of course, have fun. In the middle of the square there is a fountain called “Les Tres gracies” (The Three Graces) and two streetlamps designed by Gaudi.
Plaça Catalunya It is a large square in central Barcelona that is generally considered to be the city centre. Some of the city’s most important streets and avenues meet in Plaça Catalunya: Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya, La Rambla or Portal de l’Àngel. It is especially known for its fountains
and statues, its proximity to some of Barcelona’s most popular attractions, and for the impressive flocks of pigeons that gather in the centre
Las Golondrinas It is a company over 100 years old that works at the harbour of Barcelona. They are wooden ships with some technical characteristics that allow them sailing on still water. They have got two decks, the main one and another called “imperial”. They also have two bridges in order to make the maneuvers easier in small places. They take visitors and tourists around the harbor of Barcelona.
Modernism Modernism describes an array of cultural movements rooted in the changes in Western society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The term covers a series of reforming movements in art, architecture, music, literature and the applied arts which emerged during this period.
Antoni Gaudi Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was born in the province of Tarragona in southen Catalonia, Spain in 1852. He died on 10 June 1926 in Barcelona. Gaudí's first works were designed in the style of gothic and traditional Spanish architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style.
Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an almost hallucinatory power. In Gaudi's hanging model a system of threads represents columns, arches, walls and vaults. Sachets with lead shot resemble the weight of small building parts. Gaudí, throughout his life, studied nature's angles and curves and incorporated them into his designs.
La Sagrada Família “La Sagrada Família” The best-known work of Antoni Gaudi, nor was initiated by him, nor obviously could he finish it. Nowadays, there are eight towers built, corresponding to the facades of Birth and the Passion, out of the 18 towers the project will have at the end.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera) The widow Roser Segimon, heir to a vast fortune amassed by her first husband in the American colonies, was remarried to Pere Milà, an important Barcelona businessman. This wealthy couple wanted to build a building in Passeig de Gràcia and so they hired the most expensive and famous architect: Antoni Guadí.
Casa Batlló Casa Batlló is one of the two great buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi on Passeig de Gracia. Built in the year 1877 and remodeled in the years 1905-1907. From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. The "Skulls" are in fact balconies and the "bones" are supporting pillars.
This building is a stunning and original work and well worth the visit. . If you decide to take a look around inside you will learn how much attention to detail Gaudi spent on his designs
Park Güell Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It is part of the UNESCO World .Heritage Site.
The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. Although it sounds unlikely, the place is skillfully designed and composed to bring the peace and calm that one would expect from a park.
Lluís Domènech i Montaner Lluís Domènech i Montaner Barcelona, (December 21 1850 - Barcelona, December 27, 1923) was a Catalan architect who was highly influential on Modernisme català, the Catalan Art Nouveau. He was also a prominent Catalan politician. Born in Barcelona, he initially studied physics and natural sciences, but soon switched to architecture
His most famous buildings, the Hospital de Sant Pau and Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, have been collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau The present Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau ( Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul) is a complex built between 1901 and 1930, designed by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although today it is still a fully functional hospital, works are being done to build a new hospital in order to convert the old one into a museum.
The Palau de la Música Catalana The Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall designed in the Catalan modernisme style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was built in Barcelona, between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural and political independence movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth) . It was inaugurated February 9 1908.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch He was a Modernist Catalan architect who designed many significant buildings in Barcelona. Although the style of Puig separated him significantly from his contemporary architect Gaudí, their relations were neither tense nor problematic.
Casa de les Punxes Also known as Casa Terrades as this is the name of the family that owned the house and asked Puig i Cadafalch to build it. This extraordinary cluster of six conical towers ending in impossibly sharp needles is another of Puig i Cadafalch's northern European inspirations. This Danish or Bavarian castle in downtown Barcelona is composed entirely of private apartments.
Casa Amatller Casa Amatller is a building in the Modernisme style in Barcelona, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Along with Casa Batlló and Casa Lleó-Morera, it makes up the three most important buildings in Barcelona's famous Illa de la Discòrdia ("Block of Discord"), noted for its unique modernist buildings. The building was originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller and was constructed between 1898 and 1900.
Some information about La Llagosta With a population of 13.634 inhabitants, La Llagosta is a small town of El Vallès Oriental. It is between Santa Perpètua, Montcada and Mollet. Many years ago it was part of another town, Sant Fost. It’s only 15 km away from Barcelona.The name of the town means “lobster”. The origin of the name comes from the old times, when there was plague of lobsters.
Nursery schools It has two nursery schools: - Cucu tras - Niu Blau
Secondary schools: It also has two secondary schools, from 12 to 16 years old: - IES Marina: 530 students in ESO, 686 in total and Balmes: 80 students approx. In IES Marina you can also study after you’re 16: - Batxillerat (and then you can go to university or study High Professional Studies) - Middle Professional Studies.
the town hall
The Sports Centres
The Popular Park
The cultural centre
The train station
The street market of La Llagosta
Main fair on 11th September: It lasts five days. There’s a large participation of all commercial entities and young people enjoy it a lot. There’re a lot of activities for children and people of different ages. A lot of people come to La Llagosta on these days because our fair is very, very famous.
Summary: Presentation of Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona and La LLagosta