Culture of Spain


The cultures of Spain are European cultures based on a variety of historical influences, primarily that of Ancient Rome, but also the pre-Roman Celtic and Iberian culture, and that of the Phoenicians and the Moors. In the areas of language and religion. The subsequent course of Spanish history added other elements to the country’s culture and traditions.

The Visigothic Kingdom left a sense of a united Christian Hispania that was going to be welded in the Reconquista. Muslim influences were strong during the Middle Ages. The Spanish language derives directly from Vulgar Latin with significant lexical borrowings (8-10%) from Andalusian Arabic and minor influences from other languages including Basque, Iberian, Celtic) and Gothic. Another influence was the minority Jewish population in some cities. After the defeat of the Muslims during the Christian Reconquista (“Reconquest”) period between 718 and 1492, Spain became an almost entirely Roman Catholic country. In addition, the nation’s history and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played a significant role in shaping its culture, and also in shaping other cultures, such as the culture of Latin America through the colonization of the Americas.

By the end of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Spaniards made expressions of cultural diversity easier than it had been for the last seven centuries. This occurred at the same period that Spain became increasingly drawn into a diverse international culture.

Spain has the third highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 44.


The term “Spanish literature” refers to literature written in the Spanish language, including literature composed by Spanish and Latin American writers. It may include Spanish poetry, prose, and novels.

Spanish literature is the name given to the literary works written in Spain throughout time, and those by Spanish authors worldwide. Due to historic, geographic, and generational diversity, Spanish literature has known a great number of influences and is very diverse. Some major movements can be identified within it.

Painting and sculpture

Spain’s greatest painters during the Golden age period included El Greco, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco Goya, who became world-renowned artists between the period of the 17th century to 19th century also in early parts of the 20th century. However, Spain’s best known artist since the 20th century has been Pablo Picasso, who is known for his abstract sculptures, drawings, graphics, and ceramics in addition to his paintings. Other leading artists include Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Antoni Tàpies.


During the Prehistoric period, the megalithic Iberian and Celtic architectures developed. Through the Roman period, both urban development (ex. the Emerita Augusta) and construction projects ( the Aqueduct of Segovia) flourished. After the pre-Romanesque period, in the architecture of Al-Andalus, important contributions were made by the Caliphate of Córdoba (the Great Mosque of Córdoba), the Taifas (Aljafería, in Zaragoza), the Almoravids and Almohads (La Giralda, Seville), and the Nasrid of the Kingdom of Granada (Alhambra, Generalife).


The art of motion picture making within the nation of Spain or by Spanish filmmakers abroad is collectively known as “Spanish cinema”.

In recent years, Spanish cinema has achieved high marks of recognition as a result of its creative and technical excellence. In the long history of Spanish cinema, the great filmmaker Luis Buñuel was the first to achieve universal recognition, followed by Pedro Almodóvar in the 1980s. Spanish cinema has also seen international success over the years with films by directors like Segundo de Chomón, Florián Rey, Luis García Berlanga, Carlos Saura, Julio Medem and Alejandro Amenábar. Woody Allen, upon receiving the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in 2002 in Oviedo remarked: “when I left New York, the most exciting film in the city at the time was Spanish, Pedro Almodóvar’s one. I hope that Europeans will continue to lead the way in filmmaking because at the moment not much is coming from the United States.”


“Spanish” or “Castilian” (Castellano) is a Romance language originally from the northern area of Spain. From there, its use gradually spread inside the Kingdom of Castile, where it evolved and eventually became the principal language of the government and trade. It was later taken to Africa, the Americas, and the Philippines when they were brought under Spanish colonial rule between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Today, it is one of the official languages of Spain, most Latin American countries and Equatorial Guinea. In total, 21 nations use Spanish as their primary language. Spanish is also one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Catalan or Valencian
“Catalan”, with its “Valencian” dialect is a Romance language, the national language of Andorra, and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of The Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Valencian Community, and in the city of Alghero in the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken, although with no official recognition, in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the Roussillon region of southern France, which is more or less equivalent to the département of the Pyrénées-Orientales.


About 79% of Spaniards identify as belonging to the Roman Catholic religion; 2% identify with another religious faith, and about 19% as non-religious.


Football is the most popular sport in Spain. Notable teams include Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Sevilla Fútbol Club, Athletic Club, Valencia CF, Real Madrid C. F. and Real Sociedad.


A significant portion of Spanish cuisine derives from the Roman, Jewish, and Andalusian traditions. The Moorish people were a strong influence in Spain for many centuries. However, pork is popular and for centuries eating pork was also a statement of Christian ethnicity or “cleanliness of blood”, because it was not eaten by Jews or Muslims. Several native foods of the Americas were introduced to Europe through Spain, and a modern Spanish cook could not do without potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and beans. These are some of the primary influences that have differentiated Spanish cuisine from Mediterranean cuisine, of which Spanish cuisine shares many techniques and food items.

Spain is a democratic parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The monarch is the head of state, and the president of the government is the head of government. There are multiple parties and free elections. Executive power is vested in the government. Central legislative power is vested in the two chambers of parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative powers.

Nationalisms and regionalisms

A strong sense of national identity exists in many autonomous communities. These communities—even those that least identify themselves as Spanish—have contributed greatly to many aspects of mainstream Spanish culture.

Most notably, the Basque Country and Catalonia have widespread nationalist sentiment. Many Basque and Catalan nationalists demand statehood for their respective territories. Basque aspirations to statehood have been a cause of violence , although most Basque nationalists currently seek to fulfill their aspirations peacefully.

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