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Art & Culture

Spain is probably best known for bullfighting and flamenco dancing but it has also produced some world famous painters over the years. The most well known are obviously Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.

Slightly less known painters are Goya (1746-1828) and Velásquez (1599-1660) whose works can be seen in the Prado museum in Madrid. Velázquez’s most significant works include the “Las Meninas and La Rendicion de Breda”.

Spain has also produced some world class composers and opera singers. World famous Spanish composers include Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla and Joaquín Rodrigo. Everyone’s heard of Placido Domingo - Spain’s most famous operatic performer. Then there’s José Carreras and Montserrat Caballé.

Flamenco music and dancing were born here in southern Spain, Andalucía in particular. It has strong gypsy roots and is still very much a part of gypsy (Gitano) culture. Nowadays, most young Spanish girls will just learn “Sevillana flamenco”, which is more like a folk dance.

If you want to see a real flamenco show, it’s best to try and catch a performance by one of today’s leading artists like Joaquín Cortes and Manuel Vargas. Some of the more tourist orientated performances that you’d find in the resorts lack the real emotion.

Bullfighting or “La corrida de toros” as it’s known, still has an enormous following in Spain. It became popular in the 18th century, when the two first breeds of fighting bulls were created - El Toro Bravo (fighting bull).

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