Best 5 Reasons To Love Spain | Visit With Us
Everyone is born in his country as an accident of birth or fate. When one is more mature and travels, one may visit a country and suddenly feel a kinship with that country, which may later turn into love. This does not mean that one loses the love for the country of his native birth, but this new love may be just as profound. Here are several reasons to love Spain:
1. Spanish Food
On a scale of 1 to 10, Spain’s cuisine rates a 10. There seems to be an infinite variety of food, with variations in every region. You can eat at very inexpensive places and still have a great meal. The menu of the day option is fantastic because it offers a complete meal for a bargain.
Some of the most typical menu selections are great. Who has not enjoyed gazpacho, paella, the fried fish of Malaga, the cheeses of Manchego, the cochinillo of Madrid and Segovia, the eels of the north coast, and the pulpo a la Gallega?
And what about the Pata Negra (Iberian ham), that the natives consider the food of the gods? And what about the invention of tapas? These small and delicious plates can be eaten at any time and their variety staggers the imagination.
And what about the new Spanish cuisine that is driving foreign food critics mad?
There are really a few places in the world that can compare with Spain on food. Spanish food is characterized by its freshness and healthfulness. The homemade food found in many humble restaurants beats the most expensive food served in the most expensive restaurants in the world for taste and originality. A common laborer in Spain can eat like a king!
Worth special mention is the sweets that can be bought in monasteries and cloistered convents. They have preserved food recipes that date from the times of the Romans and the Moors. And the charm of ordering the sweets from the cloistered convents, where you ring a bell at the door, where there is a turntable. You tell the nun, who you cannot see, what sweets you want, and she puts it on the turntable for you and tells you how much it is. You then put your money on the turntable and the whole transaction is based on trust.
Spanish food is really one of the great things about Spain that millions love.
2. Superb Wine
There is an infinite variety of Spanish its wines; the wines from the Rioja region, the wines from Ribera del Duero, the cava from Catalunya, and the sherries from Jerez de la Frontera, and the sweet Moscatel from Malaga.
Spain’s geography is perfect for raising grapevines, with gently rolling hills, cool mornings, and warm days. The wineries have updated their winemaking techniques, sending their people to study the new science of winemaking at the University of California at Davis and Napa Valley in California. They are planting new vines and are being more sophisticated, with many new wineries making boutique wines.
3. Impressive Monuments
Spain’s tumultuous past and history has produced some of the most beautiful monuments in history. The Alhambra Palace in Granada is so beautiful that it has made men cry. How could man create so much beauty? It lifts the spirit and enriches the experience. One cannot just see it once in a lifetime. One is driven to return and re-experience the place. And what about the beauty of the Generalife Gardens? The fountains tinkling, the perfume of the roses, oranges, and jasmine are intoxicating!
The Mezquita of Cordoba is another beautiful monument from the Moorish times. It was good that it was turned into the Catholic Cathedral because of the constant use over the ages preserved it. Other monuments that have not been used have deteriorated and have been demolished. Go and marvel at all the horseshoe-shaped arches over that sea of marble columns. This is truly a magnificent place and an artistic masterpiece.
What about the Alcazar Palace in Seville? It is just as beautiful as the Alhambra. The variety of small palaces that make it up is amazing. The stucco work and the Mudejar ceilings are simply beautiful. The tiles on the walls are some of the most beautiful tiles ever made in Spain or anywhere. The huge gardens are marvelous and a joy to discover.
What about the Plaza de España in Seville with its Mudejar architecture? It is one of the most beautiful buildings and plazas in Spain. Every province has its benches, coat of arms, and art in a tile that represents it. The design is highly original and the huge fountain is impressive.
4. Magnificent Churches
Many Spanish churches, monasteries, and convents are some of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world. There are the Cathedrals of Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Cordoba, Malaga, Burgos, Leon, Toledo, Barcelona, Zaragoza’s La Seo, Salamanca, and Granada. In Granada, there is the Monastery of La Cartuja and the Church of San Juan de Dios. The Cathedral of the Almudaina in Madrid is a modern wonder.
The Monastery of Montserrat is atop a very strange mountain that emits a large amount of energy, where people of different religions congregate. Besides the monastery is a large private museum that has some of the most beautiful art that has been donated to the monastery. The Monastery and Palace of El Escorial have a very large collection of art and the austere building impresses, especially with its location on the side of the mountain.
Madrid has the Convent of the Descalzas Reales and the Royal Convent of La Encarnacion that are full of artwork.
All of these religious buildings are part of Spain’s history and show that Spain was a Christian stronghold, and when Spain had its empire in the Americas, much of the treasures were poured into building these very beautiful buildings.
5. The Enormous Artistic Heritage
Spain is one of the countries of the world with a huge artistic heritage. It started in prehistory. The native Iberians started producing art, such as in the caves of
Altamira. Was it the land that inspired the natives to start painting the walls of those caves with figures of men, bison, and deer?
Some of the earliest settlers from other countries were the Phoenicians, who inhabited the southern coasts of Spain, such as Cadiz and Malaga. Later the Romans came and colonized all of Spain. The art produced by the Roman descendants was tremendous in quantity and can be seen in the archaeological museums of Madrid, Merida, Seville, and Tarragona. Sagunto and Italica are two of the cities that have significant archaeological remains from the time of the Romans.
Later came the Visigoths, who stayed for about three centuries and also produced their own art forms, mostly after being Christianized. Much of the art that you find in the archaeological museum of Madrid and the Visigothic Museum of Merida is related to Christian churches that they built.
Then came eight centuries of Moorish occupation, which resulted in some of the most magnificent architecture and art forms that man has produced. Among architectural marvels are the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens of Granada, the Mezquita, and remains of the city of Medina Azahara in Cordoba, the Alcazar Palace in Seville, and the Moorish forts of the Alcazaba in Malaga and the Alcazaba in Almeria. The gardens they produced are still an inspiration for modern landscape architects because they touched all of the five senses. The tilework in their palaces is some of the most beautiful ceramics ever produced.
Finally, the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand threw the Moors from Spain after many years of warfare. There is a famous story that the last Moorish king of Granada cried when he had to leave Granada and Spain.
Then came the Spanish empire, with gold flowing from the Americas to Spain. Much of this gold was used to build the cathedrals, churches, and palaces of Spain. The king’s representatives in Italy and the Low Countries would buy the best art produced in those countries to decorate the many palaces of Spain. Spanish artists of the Spanish school soon started producing large amounts of art. El Greco, Velazquez, Ribera, and Zurbaran were just some of the famous artists who left their artwork. Then Goya came on the art scene and produced his masterworks.
Spanish artists continued painting and sculpting, producing their art for the king or for churches. In more modern times there is Joaquin Sorolla, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali for bringing their vision of new worlds. There are other modern masters, all producing large quantities of art.
And today you can go to the big three museums of Madrid (the Prado, the Thyssen Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museums), where you can enjoy much of this art. There are also huge collections in the Bellas Artes museums of Seville, Bilbao, and Valencia. There are also less well-known museums such as the Art Deco and Art Nouveau Museum of Salamanca that has specialized in those art periods. The national museums in Madrid have preserved artwork from the Americas and from other time periods. Barcelona and Malaga have their own respective Picasso Museums.
For the art lover, Spain is a place of non-stop art. All of the churches have magnificent artwork that one discovers as one travel. The palaces that one finds in Spain are also full of artwork. Few people will ever see the Palacio de Liria, owned by the Duchess of Alba in Madrid, but the artwork contained in that palace would make it one of the most important museums of Spain. The Duchess has several other famous palaces, such as the one in Seville and the one in Salamanca, also filled with notable artwork.
There are many contemporary artists who are producing great pieces of art and are starting to be known in international circles. Spain continues to be a hotbed of art.