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Lifting the lid on cultural stereotypes

Lifting the lid on cultural stereotypes

I guess that this kind of feeling I have about Cultural Stereotypes is shared by other people around the world. Sometimes I get really frustrated when people think that Spain is just about bullfighting, sun, sangría and fiestas. These are cliches, there is so much more to Spain than this picture postcard.

This is the reason why I would like to invite you on a trip around Spain. A trip around our cultural richness.

Firstly it would be interesting to start our journey by answering a couple of questions…How do we measure the wealth of a country? I mean is GDP the best way to measure a country’s wealth?

To look at it another way, we could measure the wealth of a country in terms of its artistic, cultural and natural heritage.

Spain has 52 World Heritage Sites- the second highest number in the world (only Italy has more).

Its cultural treasures include the Alhambra, the Generalife and Albayzín in Granada, Córdoba Mosque, the Works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, the Vizcaya Bridge in Basque Country, the University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, the Old Town of Segovia and it’s Aqueduct, Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana (Balearic Islands), Doñana National park (Huelva), the Route of Santiago de Compostela and we could continue until 52. Even Flamenco and our diet (Mediterranean diet) are part of this list.

We are going to stop our exhausting walk having a rest on a rock to admire one of these privileged places. What about the largest nature reserve in Europe? 104,970 hectares of marsh land.

Why is this gem, called Doñana, the favorite place for a lot of migratory waterfowl? Mainly because it has a privileged geographical situation. It’s at the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, between Europe and Africa, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Admiring this place you can understand why it’s a refuge for so many species of plants and animals such as our increasingly rare Iberian lynx.

If we were to sit on this rock for a year, we could observe 300 different species of birds that would pass by to spend some time.

After this breathtaking experience of nature, we feel this kind of artistic curiosity so-…let’s visit some of our interesting galleries. You may have heard of some Spanish contemporary painters such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró or Salvador Dalí. But, did you know we also have some very talented photographers?

Chema Madoz is a photographer who creates his own landscapes. His style is unique. His photography is simple (black and white) but his creativity unlimited.

Cristina García Rodero…if you see her you could think that she’s your grandmother but behind this kind appearance lurks an adventurous soul. She is a member of the Magnum agency. She likes to photograph tradition, from Spanish festivals to rituals in Haiti.

Gervasio Sanchez, one of our best war reporters. He has covered a lot of armed conflicts in Latin America and during the Persian Gulf war. He has won 16 prizes so far during his career and he has worked as an independent photographer most of that time.

Javier Bauluz was the first Spanish photographer to get a Pulitzer prize. Thanks to him we have our first newspaper focused on human rights, periodismohumano.com. It’s a totally independent digital newspaper, which brings a new, and more optimistic approach to the world-it even has some good news sometimes.

García Alix is a portrait photographer. He was part of “la movida madrileña”. He portrayed this countercultural movement that took place mainly in Madrid during the beginning of the Spanish transition in 1975.

This movement brought new points of view about films, TV, music, photography, painting, graffiti, literature, comics…

Pretty soon the trip will continue…

We’ll visit our best beaches to surf, we’ll get a ticket to the cinema to know our best filmmakers. Also we’ll enjoy a new food experience and we’ll have a lovely evening in one of our theatres to know a little bit more about our talented dancers…

It’ll be another long trip because Spain is a diverse world in a small area.

If you have enjoyed this one, get ready for the next one…

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  • 7 comments
  • Ole! & more

    Thanks for giving us this lovely sightseeing tour along Spain. Its very good good to break stereotypes, like some others as Cervantes, Velazquez or Goya or Paco de Lucia did. Spain is much more than sangria and fiesta. And much more than good football, tennis and all the sports too. Please, be a traveller in Spain instead of being a tourist.

    David Cervera, 29 Aug 2013

  • I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Thanks for this article. Spain is a nation with an amazing culture which is simplified to "banal" stereotypes. We have to much to offer. I agree with David Cervera, Spain should be visited because of its culture not because of its party.

    Noema O., 29 Aug 2013

  • lynx vs fighting bull

    I love your proposal. Let’s avoid sterotypes. I am in love with Doñana, it is a magic place. It is also where the iberian lynx lives. This beautiful animal should be the "symbol" of Spain.

    Isabel, 30 Aug 2013

  • awesome view

    I completely agree with everything said. I understand that it is easy to get to Spain to get some sun since you can get there in a couple of ours... We actually think of it when thinking of sun and beach and we think of other destinations for other purposes such as nature and art. That is a shame because there is an amazing nature and art in Spain. It should be more popular because of that instead of sun and beach. Great post and I look forward to reading the next one

    Jose, 6 Sep 2013

  • awesome view

    I completely agree with everything said. I understand that it is easy to get to Spain to get some sun since you can get there in a couple of ours... We actually think of it when thinking of sun and beach and we think of other destinations for other purposes such as nature and art. That is a shame because there is an amazing nature and art in Spain. It should be more popular because of that instead of sun and beach. Great post and I look forward to reading the next one

    Jose, 6 Sep 2013

  • Spain, always more.

    ... more and the sky is the limit. Thanks for sharing this fascinating point of view. This tour is a real eye-opener. Spain is always more, even more than words.

    Ester, 23 Sep 2013

  • A beautiful journey

    Thanks for the visual journey!. I didn’t realise that Spain had so much to offer. Another investigative trip is in order..

    Phil, 25 Sep 2013

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