We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you didn’t know about Spain, and now we’re back with part two! Check out seven more fascinating facts about the country below. You might be surprised by what you see!
Number Seven: Spain Has Several Villages Where English Is the Only Language Spoken
Spain counts with many “ghost towns”—old, uninhabited villages whose citizens moved away to bigger cities looking for job opportunities. Some language academies saw potential in these towns, many of which are now used as language immersion resorts where English-speaking volunteers help Spanish students learn the language through intensive conversation practice. English is the only language allowed in these towns.
Number Six: Spaniards Eat 12 Grapes on New Year’s Eve
After a copious dinner and large amounts of alcohol consumed, Spaniards put an end to the year by eating 12 green grapes on the last 12 seconds of the year. The event is broadcasted live from the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, where a countdown is given for viewers at home to follow.
Number Five: It’s the World’s Leading Olive Oil Producer
Spaniards love their olive oil, which they put on anything, from edibles to skincare products. Spain is the world’s top olive oil producer and exporter, and it comes neck to neck with Italy on its consumption.
Number Four: It’s a Constitutional Monarchy
Just like England, Spain (officially the “Kingdom of Spain”) has a King as the Head of State. The king co-exists and works closely with the Heads of Government, consisting of a president and his ministers.
Number Three: It Was Ruled by the Moors for Almost 800 Years
The Muslims came into the Iberian Peninsula from Morocco and settled on most of the territory for over seven centuries, bringing advances in mathematics, medicine and astronomy, among other fields. They were later overpowered and expelled by the remaining Christian Kingdoms in the North of the country. Spain’s Muslim heritage is still present in Andalusia, whose name derives from “Al-Andalus”; the designation the Moors gave to their Spanish territories.
Number Two: It Was the Third Most Visited Country in 2015
With 65 million visitors, Spain was the third most visited country in the world in 2014 and 2015 respectively, coming right after France and the US. It attracts millions of visitors each year due to its sunny weather, beautiful shores and friendly, welcoming, laid-back attitude.
Number One: It’s the World’s Organ Donation Leader
Spain has dominated the organ donation ranking for decades. 2014 holds the record in Spain, with 4,360 donations carried out in the country and a total estimation of 36 donors per million people, far ahead of all other countries. We hope you enjoyed our list of 15 things you didn’t know about Spain!