Nov
07
2010
1

What is the Great Thurible?

great thuribleWhat is the Great Thurible? A – A long lost uncle by marriage that just left you wealthy. B – A Norse godling. C – A new super-hero with the ability to throw lighting bolts. D – None of the above. The answer is D.  I’m sure most of you knew from the beginning that [more...]

Jul
06
2010
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Which festivals have public food fights?

ivrea-orange-fight-battleEvery year around the world there are bizarre festivals where people celebrate by throwing food. Tomatoes In Buñol, Spain, the festival of La Tomatina is held every summer. A truckload of tomatoes is dispensed, and everyone throws them at each other for an hour. It’s seriously messy, but you can swim in the river afterwards. [more...]

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Apr
26
2010
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What's the best way to visit the Alhambra?

tourists-on-the-alcazabaThe Alhambra, built by Granada's Moorish rulers in the fourteenth century, is a complex of palaces and forts on a hill close to the center of the Spanish city of Granada.The Alhambra is a popular tourist destination, and your first problem may be getting a ticket. Tickets are limited, and you would be wise to [more...]

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Apr
26
2010
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In South America, why do only the Brazilians speak Portuguese?

treaty-of-tordesillasOf course, Brazilians speak Portugese because Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese, but if the Portugese got there first why didn’t they also colonize the northeastern coast of South America and Uruguay and Argentina? It all goes back to 1494 and the Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal, which was authored by Pope Alexander [more...]

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Apr
19
2010
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What is The Alhambra?

The Alhambra - courtesy bernjan - CC-BYThe Alhambra (Calat Alhambra – “the red fortress”), is a fort and palace complex built during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of Granada.  The Alhambra's palaces were built for the last Muslim Emirs (Kings) to rule in Spain, the Nasrid dynasty. It was started in the thirteenth century by the founder of [more...]

Apr
15
2010
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Why are there geese inside Barcelona’s Cathedral?

barcelona cathedral white geeseIf you are visiting Barcelona on holiday, then a visit to the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia of Barcelona will probably be on your itinerary. Located in Barri Gòtic (the Gothic quarter of the city), the cathedral dominates the surrounding streets which were built on the remains of the original Roman city and within the city [more...]

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Jun
22
2009
3

What is the National Anthem of Spain?

Flag of Spain - courtesy petter palander - CC-BYLa Marcha Real (“The Royal March”) is Spain’s National Anehem and one of the few national anthems which have no official lyrics. But things are changing. The Spanish national anthem was written in 1761 by an unknown composer and only had lyrics during the reign of King Alfonso XIII and when Franco was in power. [more...]

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Jun
22
2009
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What are the key facts about Spain?

Andalucia, Spain (photo by BK59 - CC-BY)Spain is a lively and democratic country that stretches from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Portugal, France, Andorra, Gibraltar and—perhaps surprisingly—Morocco (which adjoins the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla). Like France, Spain has two coasts: a Mediterranean coast to the southeast and an Atlantic coast on the Bay of Biscay [more...]

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Apr
17
2009
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What is Barcelona city profile?

Barcelona - courtesy BK59 - CC-BYBarcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. Barcelona’s founding is the subject of two different stories. The first has the founding of the city by Hercules 400 years before the building of Rome. The second by the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino in the 3rd century [more...]

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Apr
14
2009
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What is the Royal Palace of Madrid?

Madrid Royal Palace - courtesy andrew bartlett - CC-BYThe Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain, though the royal family does not live there. The Palacio Real de Madrid is still used for state occasions. The current palace was first occupied by Carlos III in 1764. The current palace was built on the site of a former [more...]

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