Barcelona: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Barcelona:

  • Barcelona is Spain‘s second largest city and one of the most popular destinations in Europe. It has a population of about 1.6 million and is located on the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Legend says that Hercules founded the city, although it was probably founded by the Romans in about 15 BC. It grew in size and became an independent city state in the 12th century.

  • The city is the capital of the Catalan region of Spain. Catalans have always been fiercely independent, and the region has often voted to be a separate country from the rest of Spain.
  • The architect Antoni Gaudi was one of Barcelona’s most famous residents. His distinctive Art Nouveau type buildings can be seen all over the city, including Park Guell and Casa Mila.
  • Gaudi’s best known work is the still unfinished church, Sagrada Familia. The church has spectacular religious carvings and the front door features a carved donkey, modeled on a real donkey.
  • The centre of Barcelona is the Gothic Quarter, with medieval and Roman buildings. The area has dozens of cafes and bars, including Les Quatre Gats, site of Picasso‘s first art exhibition.
  • Barcelona has some of the world’s best beaches. It also has one of Europe’s oldest banks and was the first city to win a gold medal for its architecture.
  • Las Ramblas is the city’s famous 2 km long boulevard, always busy with shoppers, vendors and tourists. The Portal de l’Àngel is said to be Spain’s busiest street.
  • Barcelona drivers are said to be some of the worst in the world, with an accident about every 19 seconds. However, the city has over 130 hectares set aside for pedestrians.
  • The 1992 Olympic Games were held in Bareclona, helping to revitalize the city. A song written by Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen became the song of the games.

Madrid: Facts About the Capital of Spain

Here are some facts about Madrid.

  • Madrid is the capital of Spain, and the 3rd largest city in the European Union, with about 6.5 million people. It is located on the Manzanares River in the centre of Spain.
  • Madrid was founded in the 9th century and became the capital during the 16th century.

  • During the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s it was the first European city to be bombed from the air.
  • The city’s name comes from an Arabic word meaning place of many streams.
  • Madrid’s mascot is a bear feasting on berries from a tree, which represents the city’s wealth and growth.
  • Madrid has a very high number of trees per resident, and everyone lives within a 15 minute walk of a park. There is a 4,000 square metre indoor garden in the railway station.
  • It is one of Europe’s highest capitals at 650 metres above sea level.
  • Madrid has Spain’s largest and busiest airport.
  • It has more cloudless days than almost any other European city.
  • Madrid’s Prado Museum has one of the world’s finest collections of European Art. Many of its 15,000 paintings and drawings came from private Royal collections of the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • The Reina Sofia modern art museum contains one of the world’s most famous paintings, Guernica by Pablo Picasso. However, the building has also been voted one of the world’s ugliest buildings.
  • The Royal Palace is one of Europe’s largest and has the world’s largest collection of Stradivarius violins. It has over 3,400 rooms and covers 135,000 square metres.
  • Madrid has the largest bullfighting arena in Spain, which can seat almost 25,000. The bullfighting costume of Manolete, a famous matador, can be seen at the bullfighting museum.
  • Madrid is home to one of the most successful football clubs of all time, Real Madrid. The club’s huge stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, can easily hold almost 90,000 football fans.

Spain: Facts and Information

Spain Fact File

Location: Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula in Western Europe. It has borders with Gibraltar, France, Andorra and Portugal.

Capital: Madrid (also Spain’s largest city)

Population: 47 million (approx)

Area: 505,992 km sq

Currency: Euro

Official Language: Spanish


The Flag of Spain

Flag of Spain

Other Facts About Spain

  • Before it was conquered by the Romans, Iberia (Spain) was populated by Celts, Iberians and Basques. It was also conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. The last Moorish Kingdom in Spain lasted until 1492.
  • Spain was the most powerful country in Europe for all of the 16th century and for a large part of the 17th century. The Spanish Empire was massive and included territory in North and South America, parts of Italy and lands in modern-day France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. This period of history is often referred to as the Spanish Golden Age.
  • The Spanish Civil War was fought between 1936 and 1939, between Nationalist forces (led by General Franco – with the support of Germany and Italy) and the Republicans (supported by the Soviet Union). Over half a million people died during the fighting.
  • The Balearic Islands (Majorca, Ibizia, Minorca and Formentera) and the Canary Islands (including Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife and La Palma) are part of the Kingdom of Spain.
  • Mount Teide, a volcano on the island of Tenerife, is the highest point in the Kingdom of Spain. It is 3718 metres high.
  • Spain has a massive toursit industry, worth more than 40 billion Euros.
  • Some of the largest cities in Spain are: Madrid (the capital), Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga.
  • Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote was Spanish.
  • Spain is known for its paella (a rice-based seafood dish), gazpacho (a cold soup), Spanish ham, Manchego cheese, chorizo sausage and tapas (a range of appetizers).
  • Sport is very important in Spain, and football (soccer), basketball, Formula 1, tennis, golf and cycling are very popular.
  • Many sportsmen and sportswomen have come from Spain, including: Alberto Contador (cycling), Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio (basketball), Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta (football), Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (tennis), and Fernando Alonso (Formula One).
  • Chupa Chup candy lollies were invented in Spain.
  • The actress Penelope Cruz is Spanish, as is the actor Antonio Banderas.
  • Spanish is spoken in more than 40 countries.
  • Bullfighting is still really popular in Spain.
  • The 1992 Summer Olympic Games were held in Barcelona.
  • Spain produces nearly half of the world’s olive oil.
  • La Tomatina (the Tomato Festival) is held in Bunol, near Valencia, in August. People throw tomatoes at each other.
  • Famous Spanish artists include, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francisco de Goya and Joan Miro.
  • The architect Antoni Gaudi was Spanish and his designs can be seen all over Barcelona.