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…