Quick look at Spain

Night view of Toledo, chosen as the “most beautiful panorama in the world” by The Office of Congresses and Convention Bureau of Japan (Yakei), in collaboration with the Office of Tourism of Japan of Turespaña.

I am Sara, I was born in Colombia and I was adopted when I was 2 years old, I grew up in a small town called Pantoja right between Toledo (known as the city of the three cultures, the Christian, the Jewish and the Arab) and south of Madrid, the capital of Spain. I am a volunteer in the European Solidarity Corps Program. I am currently in Poland thanks to the Fundacja Rozwoju Spoÿeczeÿstwa Przedsiÿbiorczego as part of the project: Let’s develop localy.

Since I was little I always liked meeting and helping other people as well as traveling and learning other languages, so whenever I have the opportunity I like to participate in projects like this, in which integrating into a community is crucial, since for 6 months I will be part of the team of teachers of the NiepublicznyZespoÿ Placówek Edukacyjnych center, participating in all its activities, creating and proposing my own workshops that make Spanish culture and traditions known; as well as help in everything necessary to achieve the learning and development goals of each student. Without forgetting the importance of social networks today, so the creation of content such as video blogs, articles and photographs on differentplatforms will be a constant task.

Now I will tell you some information about Spain in case you are considering living an adventure of personal growth like the one I am in right now.

Spain is one of the two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula (next to Portugal) in it capital is the royal palace, which used to be the residence of the royal family. It’s one of the oldest kingdoms in history (after Japan, but the first in Europe) which is why Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the world. Many cultures have contributed important chapters to our history; from the first hominids dated 1.2 million years ago, the Romans visited us in the 3rd century b. c, in the Middle Ages the Germanic and later the Arabs were present for 5 centuries. The XV century was a time of expansion to other territories, a large part of Europe and Latin America, the last to visit us were the French.

The geographical location of Spain makes it climate and landscapes almost idyllic, I say almost, because for those who have visited any part of Spain in summer you will know that sometimes you can feel like you are melting. Our ecosystem has 49 elements named World Heritage Sites: many historical buildings, archaeological sites, nature reserves, artistic ensembles, markets, mountains, bridges… All these Jewels make Spain the 3rd Country with the most heritage designated by UNESCO. Thanks to all this cultural claim, Spain is one of the countries that receives the most tourists, in 2019 it was the second most visited country.

We must thank many artists from different disciplines who were born in Spain or made it their residence for this cultural richness, plus all the influence that past cultures left us.

In art we have the Golden Age in which Diego de Velázquez undoubtedly stood out as the protagonist. Later, in contemporary times Goya faithfully represented the reality of the time, Joaquín Sorolla (my favourite) and the renowned Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Our literature is very famous, perhaps a certain name will sound familiar to you… Miguel de Cervantes creator of Don Quixote, the second most translated book in the world.

We also stand out in Architecture, from the time of the Romans, from which we inherited its roads, bridges and aqueducts. From the Arabs we maintain numerous Mosques and the beautiful Alhambra in Granada, other styles such as Gothic left us the cathedrals, such as those of Toledo, León and Burgos. Modernism is undoubtedly the quintessential style of Barcelona, where the still unfinished Sagrada Familia is located (construction began in 1882 and it is not yet known when it will be completed), Casa Batllo and Park Güell, all works by the renowned Antonio Gaudí.

Some of our best-known celebrities are: the F1 driver Fernando Alonso, the tennis player Rafael Nadal, the actors Antonio Banderas and Miguel Ángel Silvestre (you can see hem in the series Sense8) the renowned actress Penélope Cruz and of course, the international singers Julio Iglesias and Rosalía.

Just as our culture is, our tourists and citizens are: Varied. This makes people from all over the world decide to make Spain their residence, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion and their sexuality. What I like most about Spainis that it fights to protect human rights of its inhabitants and groups such as minors, immigrants, women, workers and the LGBTIQ+ collective.

So if you decide to visit Spain I am happy to say that you will feel welcome.

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