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Location of Spain

Spain (Spanish: España), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a country in southern Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. The country consists of Peninsular Spain which is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, two archipelagos, one in each sea, and two autonomous cities in North Africa. The mainland area of Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the southern and eastern areas, the Cantabric Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Spain is organised as a parliamentary democracy and is a constitutional monarchy. Spain has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and is a developed country, with the ninth largest economy in the world and fifth largest in the EU. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France).

Spain flourished under the Roman empire Hispania, thus becoming one of the Empire's most important regions at the time. During the times of the Middle Ages, Spain was under Germanic rule, only later to come under the rule of the Islamic caliphate. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the completion of the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. It has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.

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A bonfire

The Bonfires of Saint John is a popular festival celebrated between June 19 and June 24 in Spain. The festival is considered the most important in the city of Alicante, but is celebrated in several other cities and towns across Spain. The festival consists of people gathering wood and other objects to burn on a bonfire, often sharing hot chocolates while teenagers jump over the small fires.

Before 1928 the bonfires of Saint John had been celebrated in Alicante as it had been elsewhere in Europe: by burning old pieces of furniture on the night of Saint John on June 24. The Bonfires festival was originated in 1928. Jose María Py felt that Alicante did not have an important fiesta, and adapted a Valencian festival known as the "fallas". The festival would ultimately become the most important cultural event in Alicantinian society. Bonfires are organised into commissions which fundraise and host the other events throughout the year. A member of a commission is called a foguerer. A commission usually represents one area, a place or an avenue in the city, but there are many areas with numerous commissions. (For example, Carolinas has five commissions: Carolinas Altas, Carolinas Bajas, Foguerer-Carolinas, Doctor Bergez-Carolinas and Bola de Oro.) In Alicante there are 86 commissions.

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The Pyrenees
Credit: Leland

Pic de Bugatet is a mountain located in the Néouvielle massif area of the Pyreenes. The mountain makes up a range of mountains located in the Phyreenes district.

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  • September 22: Football: Benzema signs contract extension with Real Madrid
  • September 18: Football: Carvajal signs contract extension with Real Madrid
  • September 17: Football: Isco signs contract extension with Real Madrid
  • September 15: Football: Marcelo signs contract extension with Real Madrid

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Queen Sofia

Queen Sofía of Spain (Spanish: Su Majestad la Reina Sofía de España, Greek: Βασίλισσα Σοφία της Ισπανίας;) born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark on November 2, 1938; full name Sophía Margaríta Viktoría Frederíki), is the Queen Consort of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born in Athens, Greece on November 2, 1938, the eldest child of the King Paul I of the Hellenes (1901-1964) and his wife, Queen Frederika (1917-1981), a former princess of Hanover. Queen Sofia is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty. Her brother is Constantine II of Greece and her sister Princess Irene of Greece and Demark. However, since the restoration of democracy, the royal titles are not recognized in Greece, where the former royal family is held in low regard by most Greeks.

Princess Sophia spent her childhood in Egypt and South Africa during her family's exile from Greece during World War II. They returned to Greece in 1946. She finished her education at the prestigious Schloss Salem boarding school in Southern Germany, and then studied pediatrics, music, and archeology in Athens. On May 14, 1962 Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, the future king, whom she met on a cruise of the Greek Islands in 1954. In doing so, she relinquished her rights to the throne of Greece and converted to Roman Catholicism from Greek Orthodoxy. Further, the Latin transliteration of her Greek name Σοφία was changed from Sophia to the Spanish variant Sofía, which nonetheless is pronounced

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The Alcazaba with the Roman theatre in the foreground

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