Largest cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao
State language: Spanish
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Calling code: + 34
Time zone: UTC+2
The Kingdom of Spain or Spain (Spanish: Reino de España) is a country in the south-west of Europe. It occupies the main part of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic and Pityusic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It borders with Portugal in the west, with France and Andorra in the north and with Gibraltar in the south. According to the state government Spain is a constitutional monarchy. The coasts of Spain are being washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the north and west, and by the Mediterranean Sea in the south and east. The state languages are Spanish (in the whole country), Catalan, Basque, Galician and Aragonese.
There are several opinions about the origin of the name “España”. The name Hispania given by the Roman Empire may derive from the term Hesperia used by the writers. Also, as the Greek people called Italy “western country” or “a country, where the sun sets” and as Spain is located in the west, they called it Hesperia Ultima.
The name of Spain may also have Carthaginian origin as I-Shpaniad, which means “land of rabbits” or “an edge”, because Spain is located at the end of the Mediterranean Sea. From this territory there are excavated coins of the ruling period of the emperor Hadrian. On the coins there is depicted an image of a woman with a rabbit at her feet.
There are some other versions associated with the name España: according to one of them, in Basque language Ezpanna means “an edge” or “a border”, to another fact it calls so as the Iberian Peninsula is located on the western border of Europe.
The national holidays celebrated in Spain include religious (Roman Catholic), national and regional traditions. Each community can celebrate maximum 14 national holidays during a year, more than 9 of which are decided by the government. 12th of October is the national day of Spain.