Sat, Aug 05, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Globe trotting: Spain 世界走透透 - 西班牙

Hundreds of people dance the "Reboltosa dance" around a bandstand as musicians play in the main square of Tudela in northern Spain during the town's annual fiestas.
西班牙北方城鎮圖德拉年度慶典中,音樂家在廣場上演奏,數百名民眾繞著演奏台跳起「雷布土莎」舞。 (照片:美聯社)


People from around Spain are often called "Iberians" after one of the first known peoples to live there. Over the centuries, their culture mixed with that of the Celtics, Romans, Arabs and Berbers from North Africa. Religion and politics have always had a close relationship in Spain, with mass conversions first to Islam, then to Catholicism.

Take a closer look at the corner of the world that brought you the siesta and made Christopher Columbus famous.


A closer look 說古論今

Spain has been an exciting cultural hub for most of its existence. The Islamic capital of Cordoba was at one point probably the largest city in the world, and its civilization certainly one of the world、s most advanced. The devotion to philosophy and the arts of that time helped push the rest of Europe into the Renaissance. Today, 94 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. Interestingly, although often unified throughout history by things like religion, royal marriages, politics and culture, the different kingdoms of Spain did not become an absolutely unified country until the early 1700、s, although Spain played an important role in European politics long before that. Even now, the regions of Spain still have a lot of autonomy.

Like other western European countries, Spain played a big role in the colonization of America, which was then called the New World. Isabella I of Castile not only paid for Christopher Columbus、 famous trip, but during her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon, the two major kingdoms of Spain were joined under one "Spanish" rule.The coutry、s struggle for a system that allows for both a national and regional identity, peace, security and prosperity is still something that Spain, like many countries, is working for today.Spain is known the world over for the quality of life its citizens live, the Mediterranean flavor of its south and the role the country played in shaping the world map as we know it today.

About Spain 國家概況

Size: 504,782km2, about 14 times the size of Taiwan

Location: Southwestern Europe

Border countries: Andorra, France, Portugal and Morocco

Capital: Madrid

Population: 40,397,842

Languages: Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque

Government: Parliamentary monarchy

Currency: Spain has used the euro since 1999. One euro equals about NT$42.












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