General Information about Spain - Things you should know when you are studying there !

The official name of Spain is „Reino de España” – Kingdom of Spain

Situation

Spain stretches across 505.990 km in total and captures 4/5 of the Iberian Peninsula, which also Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar are part of. France, neighbouring Spain in the North-East, is separated from Spain by a natural border, the Pyrenees. The Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera) South-East from Barcelona in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Canary Islands (Hierro, La Palma, Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura) off the African Westcoast, also belong to the Spanish national territory. Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish enclaves in Northern Africa – remains of the Spanish colonial empire.
Spain is a mountainous country and lies 610 m above sea level, on average. The Pyrenees run 400 km from the Basque country in the North-Western part of Spain to the Mediterranean Sea. The Meseta, a plateau at 600 to 800 m sea level, is situated in the heartland (centre) of the country. The Cantabric and Iberic mountains are bordering the Meseta in the North-West and North and the Sierra Morena in the Southern part. Galicia is very mountainous stretches along the cliffy Atlantic-coast. The highest mountain of the Spanish mainland is called Muhlacen. With its 3481 m it forms part of the Sierra Nevada South-East from Granada. The highest peak of Spain however, is the Pico de Teide on Tenerife with 3718 m. The Mediterranean coast runs from the french border to the rock of Gibraltar. The Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, and it separates Spain from Northern Africa.

Climate

The climate in Spain is diversified. In the Northern part of the country it is moderate, whereas in the inland and the Meseta a dry climate predominates, which is characterized by cold and dry winters and very hot summers. In the South however, the winters are mild.

Capital

Madrid: 3.1 Mio. inhabitants (01.01.2004)
Population: 43.2 Mio. (01.01.2004)

Languages

Castilian, which is the official language. Catalan, the Basque language (El Euskera) and Galician are also constitutionally anchored and are classified as official languages, which are spoken in the respective autonomous regions.
Religion: more than 90% of the population is catholic
National holiday: Oktober 12: Día de la Hispanidad
Head of State: King Juan Carlos I
Head of the government: José Luis Zapatero, PSOE, since 17.04.04