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    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

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    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

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    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

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    Portugal: Palace of Pena. Go Now!

    Although next to the seas and made famous by trade, Portugal boasts dynamic landscapes and architecture, including the Palace of Pena (pictured) near the town of Sintra. Go to Portugal!

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    Denmark: Landscape. Go Now!

    From cities like Copenhagen to islands, beaches, and vast fields (pictured), Denmark offers incredible history, architecture, scenery, and more. Begin Your Journey!

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SpainThere is no consensus on the origin of the name Spain. The name of the country today, España, is derived from the Roman word Hispania (also the root of Hispanic), but what exactly this word means is debatable. It may refer to Spain's position in the west, its position at the edge of the Mediterranean, it might mean the land of rabbits, or even the land where metals are forged, but no one knows which, if any, is the origin of the word Hispania with any certainty.



Spain's culture and history is a vibrant display of foods, dress, architecture, languages, and lifestyles. This culture began with the diversity in the region, which has long existed, from the pre-historic Basques and Celts to the Moors, Romans, and Roma (gypsies), today's Spanish culture takes on aspects of all these people.

Prior to Roman rule, the people lived simple lives on the lands that now make up Spain. For the majority the lifestyle was based on the lands as agriculture was at the core of the daily life. Even today there is a large number of people that continue to work the land and their lifestyle remains tied to the lands, the weather, and the daylight, although today nearly every other aspect of life has changed.

Over time the people were unified and divided depending on the ruling group. The Romans helped introduce the Spanish language, which is based on Latin, they also left behind some impressive architecture, some genetic diversity, and Christianity, all of which survive to this day.

Despite the unity, over time much of Spain was divided as the Basques maintained their language and culture to a great degree. The Catalans also diverged with a unique culture that differed from that of much of Spain. Many Jews also arrived to the region as did the Muslim Moors. All of these people influenced the culture, but the Moors had arguably the greatest impact as they introduced new foods and architecture. These both influenced modern Spain and Spanish cuisine is very unique as it mixes flavors from the Middle East and Europe.

Spanish culture has changed numerous times since the Moors, partially due to the country's regular division and unification. The lands have moved from world power to being taken over by foreign powers. Today Spanish culture can be defined in one way, a way that incorporates Moorish, Jewish, and local foods, music that has been inspired by Africa, Europe, and the Roma, and a lifestyle that mixes historic farms with urban centers. However, more than this, Spanish culture is defined by the many sub-cultures, including the Catalans in Barcelona, the Basques in the country's north, the Roma found throughout the country, and the many regional Spanish sub-cultures.

Information for Spain was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks