"Whose voice is worthy to give praise to your lands, Spain?

"Claudius Claudian

"Spain! Deeper than the sea, any path is yours"

Miguel de Unamuno

Probably, for the majority, Spain is Lorca, Picasso, bullfighting, of course, flamenco. Good wine, passionate men, a paradise for unloved women! And it's fantastically delicious cuisine and hospitality. An opportunity to discover the richest heritage of its monuments, to see the traces of ancient civilizations that have been preserved under its dazzling sky. Look at the famous Roman plumbing, about which our favorite "antique" teacher told us in such detail. To stand under the arches of Gothic cathedrals, to compare your feelings with those that you experience, looking at them in a textbook on the history of art. Sit in the tower of a medieval castle, waiting for a knight who will come to kidnap the lady of his heart. Spain is the birthplace of great artists, poets, musicians, it is all saturated with the art of loving life! To be infected with this enthusiasm for life is the destiny of everyone who has ever visited Spain!

Like a fortress built by the hands of giants, the Spanish land rises above the seas. From three sides the stronghold is licked by the waves of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea. And from the north, from the direction of France, she leaned against the wall of the Pyrenees. I think that no country in the world has such a varied climate in its individual provinces as this large peninsula. Back in the 19th century, it was hardly classified as part of Europe and little visited, because it is separated from Africa only by a narrow strait, and its inhabitants looked at foreigners unfriendly, calling them all indiscriminately "Ingleses" ("Englishmen"). Now this country forms part of our mainland, and the eyes of all peoples are turned to it.

Not only is it separated from neighboring France by sky-high mountains that pass through all of Spain with few interruptions, but also its shores, washed by the sea, form a natural fortress. It is clear that in such a geographical position, this vast state pursued its own goals, was little accessible to foreign culture and looked with distrust at all kinds of innovations.

The northern part of Spain, with its snowy peaks and unchanging plateaus, has for the most part a temperature similar to the climate of southern Germany, where cold nights and severe blizzards are not uncommon in winter. In the southern provinces, on the contrary, the eternal sun shines, the ever-blue sky smiles and even, warm air blows, lemons and oranges ripen and luxurious palm trees grow. Figs and dates bloom among the greenery, thick wattles of aloes surround lush gardens where pomegranates bloom.

From the middle of the fortress, the Central Plateau rises into the dense blue of the sky. This is Castile - "Fortified Castle", standing guard between moats and bastions. Treeless, rocky expanses… 300,000 sq. km - two thirds of all of Spain. With what sharpness the seasons change here! In summer, the fury of the southern sun falls on the Castilian land: streams dry up, pastures burn out. Under the white-hot vault of heaven, the plateau seems like a desert. The glance hopelessly glides over the brown, burnt spaces. Scattered here and there, clumps of olive groves, tents of fig trees only set off the harsh nakedness of the region. Exhausted by a long thirst, the land of Castile does not receive enough moisture even in autumn. But now the whole plateau is immersed in the coolness brought by the winds from the mountains. The long orgy of dry heat freezes. The sonorous air is filled with balsamic freshness of heights. Purple clouds float high across the chilled sky. They cast fantastic pink and purple shadows on transparent distances. At this time, the appearance of the old Spanish region is majestic and severe.

The winters here are amazing. The copper disk of the sun is polished to a shine by cold, harsh winds. Snow-capped mountain ranges prop up the distant horizon. Under the invariably blue sky, cruel cold reigns. For a long time they are not inferior to spring - a fleeting charming smile of a gloomy Castilian nature. From March to May, Castile is green. Pastures are covered with herbs, flowers cover the hollows and slopes. The fields are booming.

At this best time we will leave the heart of the country, the plateau. Whichever way we go - just not to La Mancha or Extremadura - we will be struck by the vibrant diversity of the provinces surrounding Castile.

To the northwest lies Galicia, a region of emerald pastures and abundant waters. The steep shores of the ocean form countless bays of whimsical break, not inferior in picturesque charm to the Norwegian fjords. The same winding deep gorges, overgrown with green fleece. Just as calmly along their bottom, sea waters creep like a blue ribbon. But the Galician fiords are flooded with bright southern sun.

Near Galicia, along the Bay of Biscay, stretches Asturias, a country of murmuring streams and snowy peaks. It's like a piece of Switzerland, moved for the sake of heightening the decorative effect closer to the ocean. Ranges of hills are scattered between the Asturian mountains and the coast. Everywhere vines, apple trees, corn.

Farther east, behind the needle-clad hills of Navarre, in the Ebro valley lie the dry, reddish cliffs of Aragon. The harsh landscape of this ancient Spanish country is only occasionally enlivened by the lush greenery of the gardens.

Near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Catalonia blooms, the land of plowmen, fishermen and merchants. She, like a sister, is like the Italian and Greek coasts. Pine trees, myrtle and cypress trees look in the deep blue of the sea. Among them is a yellow scattering of fishing villages.

Neighboring Valencia and Murcia are marked by the indelible stamp of the East. Longtime owners, the Moors, breathed life into these arid lands. They curbed the rivers running from the mountains, laid a dense network of canals. Ditches drink mountain streams to the drop and give precious moisture to fields, orchards, orchards. The orange massifs of Valencia Huerta - the areas of irrigation gardens of Valencia, palm groves and biblical wells of Murcia conjure up pictures of Mesopotamia, Palestine.

South and west of here, in the valley of the Guadalquivir, lies beautiful Andalusia. Next to it is the sun-drenched Granada Vega, a fertile valley near Granada. Cities and villages rival in whiteness the sparkling glaciers of the Sierra Nevada. This is Africa. Here the landscape and climate are completely Moroccan.

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Great variety of Spanish lands. The heights of individual provinces above the sea, their soils and climates are sharply different. Spain is three-quarters dry and one-quarter wet; low-lying, dissected by mountain ranges - and high, flat; naked - and covered with forest. But in this diversity there is something that makes the Spanish nature unified - this is a powerful vitality, so characteristic of the whole face of the country. In the mountains of Spain, on weathered granite, a great variety of herbs and flowers are fighting for life. They are molded along the cliffs, cover the clefts of the rocks. There are a great many varieties of them. Botanists claim that out of 10,000 plants in Europe, 5,000 grow only in Spain. They are inconspicuous, they do not please the gaze of the traveler, but they give off a sharp, intoxicating aroma to the sultry air that burns them. Sailors say they can smell Spain long before its shores open before their eyes.

It would seem that the people living behind the steep mountain ranges, under the cover of natural ditches and walls, should be forever protected from the arrival of uninvited guests. How far from the truth is such an assumption! The peninsula lies at the crossroads of world routes, and the irresistible forces of history have more than once overcome the barriers erected by nature.

The buildings of Barcelona, located on the Mediterranean coast, many are the works of the eccentric genius Antonio Gaudí, are enchanting, as are the museum collections with the vast collections of Picasso and Miro. Barcelona is a way of life, a city of culture. Barcelona is very popular among young people due to the many higher and secondary educational institutions specializing in business, architecture, and design.

Madrid is Barcelona for adults. Everyone loves the glamorous Spanish lifestyle: the vibrant street life, bustling street cafes, the friendliness of the people, but apart from that, Madrid is a city of rich old culture that many cities lack. The participants mentioned the names of Goya, Velazquez, El Greco. The main attraction was the Prado Museum.

In Spain, its capital Madrid is not rated by respondents as the most beautiful city in the country. The highest estimates of its urbanistic-environmental samples are, as it were, pulled to the edges. In the northeast, it is Catalonia with the famous creations of Antonio Gaudi Barcelona, and in the south - Andalusia with Granada, Seville and Cordoba, the very names of which have long symbolized Spanish exoticism for foreigners, what the Spaniards themselves ironically call "españolada".