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50 Curious facts about Spain
29 August 2019

In case you get a little bored while having a coffee today, here are 50 unusual facts about Spain that maybe you didn't know!

 

1. The Spanish language has a word that exists grammatically and can be pronounced, but it can not be written. That's why I can not tell you what it is.

2. Spain has had three monarchs under 10 years of age: Carlos II, Isabel II and Alfonso XIII.

3. Spain is the first country in the world in terms of acceptance of homosexuality, only 6% of the population believes that it is "morally unacceptable".

4. Despite what most people think, 58.6% of Spaniards affirm that they never sleep a ‘Siesta’.

5. Spain is the second most visited in the world, surpassed only by France.

6. The most expensive restaurant in the world is located in Ibiza, it is called Sublimotion and the dinner costs 1,700 euros per person.

7. Spain has a bar for every 165 inhabitants.

8. Cádiz is the oldest city in Europe, it is traditionally said to have been founded 80 years after the Trojan War.

9. The symbol of the dollar ($) is a Spanish invention, an evolution of the abbreviation Ps (pesos - eighth's 1/8).

10. The Spanish alphabet lost 2 letters in 2010 - ‘ch’  and ‘ll ‘

11. Spain has almost as many airports as provinces, in total, 48.

12. On December 7, 1969, Ángela Ruíz Robles, a Galician lady, invented the 'Mechanical Encyclopedia', considered today the first prototype of an ebook.

13. The most consumed fruit in Spain is orange. 

14. The ‘menu of the day’ - menu del dia -  was an invention of Franco, promoted by the Ministry of Information and Tourism in the 60s, to promote Spanish cuisine.

15. 30,000 years ago,  it was as cold as it is in Denmark.

16. The Royal Family was assigned the numbers from 10 to 99 for their DNI, although Nº 13 was annulled by superstition.

17. The shortest reigning King of Spain wore his crown for only six months and twelve days,  Luis I de Borbón.

18. Querétaro, the name of a Mexican city that means 'island of blue salamanders', was chosen in 2011 as the most beautiful word in Spanish.

19. To travel the kilometres of Spanish coastline (7,905) would be almost the equivalent of making a trip from Madrid to Moscow and back. 

20. Spain is at the forefront of Europe in the consumption of cocaine.

21. The Spanish drink 11.2 litres of pure alcohol per person per year, which is almost double the world average (6.2).

22. Spain is the leader in organ donations.

23. Spanish inventions are the mop, the Chupa Chups lollipop, the submarine, the stapler, the table football (although disputed) and the digital calculator.

24. According to the Guinness Book, in Spain, we have the largest mortar in the world (3.29 meters high and 3.07 in diameter) and the largest cup (4.73 meters long and 0.85 in diameter), they were built in the City Council of Macael (Almería).

25. There are 44 sites in Spain that are a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which places Spain as the third country in the world with more wonders to visit.

26. The Alhambra in Granada is the most visited place in Spain.

27. Spain has a good number of rare museums, for example, the Museum of Museo de Microminiaturas  (Micro-miniatures) in Guadalest (Alicante) or the Parque de la Vida (Park of Life) in Luarca (Asturias) that has a total of nine giant squid.

28. The most popular names in Spain are Antonio, José, Manuel, Francisco and Juan as a boy and María Carmen, María, Carmen, Josefa and Isabel among women, according to the INE.

29. The largest earthquake in Spain took place in Torrevieja (Alicante), on March 21, 1829. A 6.6 on the Richter scale.

30. Spain’s National Library contains around twenty million pieces of work.

31. With 14 holidays a year, we are one of the countries in Europe with the most non-working days.

32. The Inquisión burned a total of 59 witches in Spain.

33. The first medal that Spain achieved in an Olympic Games was for the ‘Pelota’ pair formed by José de Amézola and Francisco Villota at the 1900 Paris Olympics.

34. Spain is one of the European countries with the lowest rates of suicides.

35. There is evidence that 800,000 years ago, in Atapuerca, our ancestors practised cannibalism.

36. The caves of Altamira and El Castillo harbour the oldest Palaeolithic art in Europe.

37. Spain is world leader in downloads of content protected by copyright.

38. Women were able to vote for the first time in Spain in 1933.

39. According to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, people in northern Spain, as well as Salamanca and Madrid live longer than people in the south.

40. In Spain, you can be fined up to 100 euros for driving with your hand or arm out of the window.

41. The tradition of the twelve grapes on New Year's Eve has its origin in 1887 when the Mayor of Madrid imposed a new tax for the night of the Epiphany celebration and the poor protested in the town square by eating grapes on the 31st of December.

42. Before Instagram, scallops were the irrefutable proof that pilgrims brought back to show that they had completed the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James). In the Middle Ages people trafficked with scallops so much that the Church had to prohibit it.

43. The first draw of the National Lottery was held in Cadiz in 1812, the intention was to increase the revenues of the Public Treasury without having to resort to raising taxes to citizens.

44. Mayonnaise was invented in Mahón (Menorca), the legend says that when Armand Jean du Plessi, cardinal and Duke of Richelieu (1585-1642) arrived on the coasts, he demanded to eat something and, as there was nothing prepared, a chef mixed several ingredients to give them consistency ... and that's where the magic comes from.

45. Dying is much cheaper in Gran Canaria (around 2,600 euros) than in Barcelona (about 6,400). Think about it.

46. In Spain, there are 8 Nobel prize-winners, 7.5 if we count the double nationality of Mario Vargas Llosa.

47. According to a survey conducted by the World Values Survey worldwide, Spain would be among the most tolerant countries: only 10% of respondents would care to have a neighbor of another race.

48. Fidel Pagés, Spanish military doctor, was the discoverer of epidural anesthesia.

49. Spain holds the record for most editions of Big Brother broadcast in one country - 18!

50. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Spain was in Montoro, Cordoba during the summer of 2017 where it reached 47,3ªC. a record previously held by Murcia.

 



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Horse races - SanLucar de Barrameda Beach - Just around the corner...
22 August 2019

 

Sanlucar de Barrameda is famous for its horse racing which takes place along a 1,800m stretch of beach at the mouth of the Río Guadalquivir during the month of August, this year on the 25th, 26th and 27th. This is a thrilling spectacle where real racehorses thunder across the sand watched by a large noisy crowd of spectators. There is nothing amateur about this event and you can expect to see spectator stands, bookies, paddocks and of course the winner's enclosure. Now an international event with horses from other European countries taking part and many famous names amongst the spectators. With more than 165 editions on its back, it is the oldest equestrian activity in Spain and one of the oldest ones in Europe. It has also been declared of International Tourist Interest since 1997.

 

 

Run by the "Horseracing Society of Sanlúcar de Barrameda", in its by-laws it expressly states that one of the activities that the society will carry out will be the holding of horse races, with the first ones being held on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the afternoon of August 31st, in 1845. This marked the beginning of one of the most exhilarating horse races in the country.

It has traditionally been admitted that the origin of the “Horse Races on the Sanlúcar de Barrameda beach" started with the informal competitions, that was held by the owners of horse stock that was used for transporting the fish from the former port of Bajo de Guía to the local markets and nearby towns. It was effectively a past-time while they waited for the fishing trawlers to come back into port. But, how exactly the races started is ambiguous. Another story is that people raced donkeys along the banks for fun and eventually upgraded to horses. 

 

 

As of 1981, the “Horse Races on the Sanlúcar Beaches" have gathered momentum with the re-founding of the former Horseracing Society of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and the approval of its by-laws on March 3rd of that year. Since then, the horse races, under the exclusive direction of the society, have reached a scale that was unheard of until then, exceeding the splendour achieved in the first decades of the 20th century. The competition days were expanded to two periods of three days each; the Sanlúcar races were given official status and they were integrated into the national equestrian circuit – along with Madrid, San Sebastián and Seville, Dos Hermanas and Mijas- and received decisive support from the “Society for the Promotion of Horse Breeding of Spain”, which made them famous worldwide.

 

 

After many years during which the Horseracing Society of Sanlúcar de Barrameda was solely responsible for holding the annual equestrian competitions on the beach of Sanlúcar, as a social event most representative of its annual activities, the organizing of horse races fell under the authority of the City Council, which included them in its summer programmes.

     Today, the Horse Races on the Sanlúcar beaches, now privately managed, are thriving and enjoying strong support and stand out as one of the main events of the summer in Andalucía. This unique show on the world stage, declared as an International Tourist Interest, captures the attention of thousands of Sanlúcar residents and visitors, who every afternoon of the races approach the Sanlúcar beaches to enjoy the purebreds competing on a natural racetrack, which in the afternoons of the month of August give us a low tide. So if you happen to be near Sanlúcar de Barrameda in August, don't miss an afternoon at the races!

This year the races are on 25th, 26th and 27th or August and tickets are available online here - 

http://www.carrerassanlucar.es/es/ 

 



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A unique way to discover Spain
01 August 2019

For seven nights and eight days the Transcantábrico Gran Lujo or the Al Andalus will become your living room, your means of transportation, your socialising place, your bar, your bedroom: a hotel on wheels in which you sleep and wake up in a different place every day. The landscape passing by the window of your suite or the lounge where you are having a coffee is never the same. That simple fact makes the trip itself unique and unlike any other experience.

To ensure passengers a good night’s rest, the trains remain parked at a station at night. The train lounges are especially designed for relaxation and unfettered enjoyment of the evocative ambience, also offering the chance of sharing the company of fellow travellers. 

After dinner, an evening of entertainment. Every night is party night, with various live performances throughout the trip. Given the length of the train, these will not affect those who prefer retiring earlier to the privacy of their suite. You can also choose to have a quiet drink in one of the other saloon cars, or go for a stroll in whichever town the train is spending the night at.

In general, comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended for the daytime when all passengers will be out and about on excursions, while at night you can opt for more formal attire, although no particular dress code is required at any time. The only exception is for gaining access to the Casino de Santander on the routes that include that city, where there is a requirement for more elegant dress.

During the journey one will visit and explore places by the sea or in the mountains, charming squares and streets, museums, cathedrals, wine cellars and ports; many stories will be revealed by the multilingual guides, accompanying you on each trip. Lunch will be the central event of the day, and in the afternoons you will alternate more excursions with activities on board the train, or just enjoy the scenery passing by before your eyes. A luxury 'on-land' cruise, a truly a unique way to discover Spain, the way luxury travel used to be…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.renfe.com/trenesturisticos/eng/index.html



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The Underwater Museum
28 June 2019

 

There is a rather unusual museum on the Canarian island of Lanzarote. But visitors wanting to see the collection of sculptures created by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor will first have to put on a wetsuit and then dive 14 meters down to the seabed of Coloradas Bay, just off the coast of the town of Yaiza, in the southwest of the island.

Jason deCaires Taylor says his sculptures are a way to bring people into contact with the sea, as well as to make them more aware of the dangers our oceans face. At the same time as the figures tell a story, they help to protect the seabed. He also points out that the materials he has used are not harmful to their environment and he wants to help coral and other species to grow, which can help repopulate the marine biomass.

This isn’t Taylor’s first sub-aquatic venture. Around 500 of his pieces are already lying offshore in the warm waters off the coast of Cancún, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

When the local authorities in Lanzarote heard about Taylor’s work, they invited him to take part in the island’s biennial arts festival.
“As we knew it wasn’t impossible, we did it,” says José Juan Lorenzo, head of Lanzarote’s arts, culture and tourism department, which is responsible for running the museum.

 

 

 

“Taylor is a pioneer, an innovator,” says Lorenzo, highlighting Lanzarote’s long-standing support for the arts, best known via the work of local artist Cesar Manrique. “Lanzarote, thanks to the work of Cesar Manrique, has a long tradition of land art. The seabed here is as beautiful as the land, and so an initiative that highlights its importance, its fragility, its beauty, seemed perfect to us.”

 

 

Along with his family, Taylor has spent the last two years on Lanzarote preparing the seabed for the installation. While waiting for the paperwork, he has created images in his workshop there such as The Lampedusa Raft, a homage to refugees who flee their countries by sea.



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The Secret Library
20 June 2019

During the 1800s the fraternal order of Freemasons had lodges in practically every European-cultured country. Spain was no different, though the traces of the Freemasons are mostly hidden now—apart from this once-secret library.

Barcelona, much like London, Paris or Washington D.C., has an extraordinary artistic and architectural heritage based in Freemasonry. Masonic symbols like pyramids and the all-seeing eye can be found in cemeteries, libraries, sculptures, even government buildings. Passeig Sant Joan is devoted to Saint John, the chosen patron of Christian Freemasons. Ildefons Cerda, the urban planner who designed Barcelona’s layout, was a member and imagined a utopian city based on Masonic principles. At the turn of the century, there were nearly 170 Freemason lodges in Spain alone.

 

Rossend Arús was an influential journalist and playwright of the 1800s who used his Freemason associations for Republican political favour. Along with his fellow Masons, Arús had control of the city from behind the scenes. He began to host meetings in his home in 1888, and it soon became an official Masonic Temple. After his death in 1891, the house was turned into a library dedicated to Freemasonry. 

During Franco’s regime, almost every Freemason building was torn down and the Masons were prohibited from meeting. Like many fascist leaders, Franco feared uprising from independent organizations, as well as having misplaced antisemitic beliefs about the Freemasons’ purposes. Some in power sympathized with the Freemasons though, and the Rossend Arús library was shut down and hidden from view during the Franco years. After the dictator’s death and the end of his regime, Freemasonry slowly but surely crept its way back into Spain. 

After timidly growing less and less private and secretive, the Freemasons of Barcelona have opened Biblioteca Publica Rossend Arús to the public in Passeig Sant Joan. The luxurious reading rooms, golden frames, and precious marble of the 19th century still impress visitors. The collection includes important Masonic texts, as well as anarchist collections and rare magazines and literature. The third original version of the Statue of Liberty also resides in the main entrance. Today, the Rossend Arús is the best library for studying the working class history and Freemasonry in Catalonia. 

 

 

 



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Charco Azul- A day out in Chulilla
11 June 2019

 

Chulilla is hidden at the foot of its Arab castle in a spot difficult to imagine: a lake surrounded by lofty limestone walls where the Turia River becomes a mirror. The raging river that once swallowed up loggers has now been tamed.

Chulilla is a picturesque village made up of white houses huddled on the slopes of Cerro del Castillo, next to the natural moat formed by the Turia River which flows through the canyon formed by 160 meter high limestone walls. This canyon is currently one of Spain's rock climbing sanctuaries, with more than 500 routes. Here, at the foot of the rock walls, just a 30-minute walk from the village, we come across Charco Azul (Blue Pool), a haven of calm waters that mirrors the beauty of this vertical, solid rock landscape.

 

 

Charco Azul is an ideal place to have a refreshing swim in Summer and remember bygone days when the river flowed freely and unrestrained and logs cut in the mountains were floated downriver to the city of Valencia. Upon reaching this narrow canyon, where the lofty walls nearly touch each other, the logs became jammed and many loggers lost their lives trying to free them, and it is for this reason a chapel was built nearby.

The Charco Azul route is one of the nine self-guided routes that cross Chulilla's landscape. It starts and ends at Baronia square, the village's main square, and is well marked and very easy to follow and is even great for children.

Another route worth taking is the Pantaneros route, which follows the journey taken by the labourers who in the 1950s worked on the construction of the Loriguilla reservoir to travel from the village of Chulilla. It is a 5-kilometer walk (one-way) along the edge of the Turia River's canyon walls and has the added thrill of crossing the canyon on hanging bridges. To regain your strength after the long walk, there is nothing better than an 'olla churra', a stew based on white beans, cardoons, potatoes, pork, and cold meats, typical of this Valencian region of Los Serranos (also known as La Serranía or Alto Turia).


Olla churra and other stews, such as olla de berzas (cabbage stew) or rice with wild boar, are served at the restaurant hostal El Pozo in Chulilla. Another interesting option, of more modern cuisine, is the Restaurant Las Bodegas, which also has a bar that serves tapas and lunches accompanied by wines under the Valencia and Utiel-Requena designations of origin. So if you happen to pass through Valencia take a moment to visit Chulilla and its wonderful Charco Azul.

 



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Fried Fish Tapas Tour of Seville
03 June 2019

The "freiduría", or fish fryer, is the street food of Seville. Food stalls have always existed, in small stores on the ground floors of buildings, where chanquetes (transparent goby), sardines, shrimp, squid etc., are all fried and wrapped in paper cones that absorb the extra oil. The arrival of international restaurant chains didn't signal their end. Indeed, the people of Seville make good use of these traditional outlets each day, especially on summer nights.

Crossing the Andalusian capital you will encounter some classics. The Inchausti family run La Moneda which is by the Arco del Postigo and offers not only fish but also "puntillitas" (molluscs no longer than 5 cm, effectively baby squid - seen below in the photo) and mantis shrimp soup (a fairly flat crustacean, with not a lot of meat, but very flavorful). Since 1904, the same family has run El Arenal, near the La Maestranza bullring. Here, the specialities are adobos (Spanish marinades) and fried cuttlefish.

 

Visiting La Isla freiduría next to the cathedral we can try fried hake caviar, very popular in this Andalusian region. We should also keep in mind the breaded shrimp and the prices, which are quite reasonable compared to the rest of the establishments in the city centre.

 

 

Near the entrance to the Jewish quarter, the Puerta de la Carne freiduría is a must, founded in 1928. Fried, breaded, and boiled shrimp and cod are some of their specialities. They are open until midnight, with longer hours in the summer months.

 

 

Finally in the neighbourhood of Triana, probably one of the most popular in the entire city and a meeting point for lovers of tradition and tourists alike. Crossing the Isabel II bridge (popularly known as Puente de Triana, or Triana bridge) you will reach the Freiduría Reina Victoria. The establishment's interior is reminiscent of a school cafeteria, or an association hall, but that shouldn't detract from its appeal because founded by Galician immigrants, it boasts hake, cod and calamari served by few, but very effective, waiters. Before heading back to the centre, you should also visit Alboreá, with a spacious terrace and a bar, to have some weighed cold cuts. You can't leave without trying their tortillitas de camarones (shrimp fritters), quite common in Seville but difficult to find with such good quality. Enjoy the tour!

 

 

 

 



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The Lamb Festival in Asturias
22 May 2019

 

Oven-cooked lamb is a Christmas special, but I bet you haven't tried it cooked this way....Without a shadow of doubt, the festival of roast lamb (Cordero a la Estaca) is one on the finest “al fresco” eating experiences there is. Up high on a mountain top meadow, fires are lit early in the morning and constantly topped up with firewood from Ash trees creating a slow burning pit of embers ideal for cooking whole splayed lamb for six hours or more.

The result is a succulent “cooked to perfection” meat with a delicious smokey flavor from the Ash wood and a wonderful added taste from the homemade chimichurri (a mix of herbs, garlic, vinegar, white wine and olive oil) which is squirted into the meat just before the end of the cooking process. This process of slow-roasting lamb has attracted the attention of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin who visited Asturias to see how it was done… who knows, maybe in future novels we will see the house of Stark celebrating with a “Cordero a la Estaca”.

Preparing and roasting lamb like this can be found throughout the region of Asturias during the summer with many towns hosting their own festival and is open to anyone wishing to try it. There are also many restaurants that offer “Cordero a la Estaca” throughout the year but keep in mind that you will probably you will have to pre-order the dish as it involves a lot of preparation.

One of the largest Lamb roasting festivals in Asturias is held in “Prau Llagüezos” (Llagüezos meadow) which is situated on the border between the council of Quirós and Lena 1330m above sea level. It is also one of the best situated thanks to its wonderful views and megalithic tombs and Dolmens which are located at the entrance of the meadow, called Alto de la Cobertoria. It has been held at this priviliged location annually since  1965.

Just in case you can't find the place, here are the coordinates!

Latitude     43° 9’11.57″N Longitude  5°54’23.45″W

Check out the video..

https://youtu.be/V2S74z-4icI

 

 



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The 'other' Giralda
10 May 2019

Driving along the road ‘N-340’ southbound, just entering the province of Tarragona you’ll find the town of L'Arboç (Baix Penedès), which boasts a scaled replica (1:2) of the famous Giralda in Seville, which was begun in 1184 by the then Muslim rulers of Spain, and was designed by mathematician and astronomer Jabir ibn Aflah.

 

The charming legend around the origin of the construction of this replica of Seville’s ever-famous minaret-bell tower is far more popular than the true story, even amongst many of the local town’s inhabitants.

The false story about the origin of the Giralda of L’Arboç  itells the story of a married couple who had emigrated from Seville  and after several years of living there,  greatly missed their Giralda, the emblem of their hometown. Sighing day and night and longed ever so much to see it again. The years passed and thanks to a lot of hard work they had amassed a great fortune, but their businesses were so important that it was impossible to return to their homeland. So they thought that if they could not go to live next to their treasured monument, they would have to bring it to them, and they commissioned an exact scaled replica so they could enjoy it every day for the rest of their lives.

 

            

 

But obviously this story, full of romance and nostalgia, is not exactly true but not far from it. The true story behind why there is a replica of the Giralda of Seville in the province of Tarragona, is as follows:

This striking monument which is more than a century old, was a tribute that Joan Roquer i Marí and Candelaria Negravernis wanted to pay for their trip to Andalusia on their first wedding anniversary. Extravagant, yes, but the young couple had received in 1886 a considerable fortune from the girl’s Indian uncle who had made his fortune in America. This led them to invest in several cultural projects, including the construction of the Teatro Romea in Barcelona or the Arbosense Theatre, originally the hometown of Joan, although he resided in Barcelona.

Their healthy economic position led  them to travel Andalusia and enjoy the buildings left by the Muslims during the time of Al-Andalus.

After several years of travel and business, in 1898 they decided to buy a plot of land of considerable size and commissioned a replica of those places that had fascinated them during their travels around the south of Spain.

A year later construction began, which lasted until 1907 and opened a year later (the ‘Giralda’ was finished in 1902). But not only the minaret was built there. Inside you can find a replica of the ‘Patio de los Leones’ from the Alhambra in Granada and a lounge covered by a Byzantine dome lined with 30 kg of gold leaf, a copy of the  ‘Hall of Ambassadors’ found in the Real Alcazar of Seville .

 

 

Thanks to the restless spirit of their owners, in the years following the Giralda of Arboç became a meeting place for characters linked closely to arts and culture, where events and music festivals were held. Today it is a cenvention center where you can even hold a wedding.

 



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Time Travellers in Salamanca?
17 April 2019

Salamanca, apart from being an old city known for its beautiful buildings and its university, has many hidden gems amongst them the mysterious carvings on two of it most renowned buildings. Students at the University of Salamanca, the oldest in Spain and third oldest in the world, are greeted with the old legend of the frog. It is presented as a challenge and ritual, that the students must spot the frog on the façade of the University, otherwise, they will not be able to graduate as doctors. This superstition still continues to this day and has also become a ritual for tourists in search of good luck, if you spot it without help you'll get more luck than chucking a coin into the Trivi Fountain. To find it you must go to  La Puerta de Salamanca, the University’s façade. It’s a plateresque design intricately carved out of stone. However I am going to give you a clue, I wouldn't want anyone leaving there without their "good luck"- the frog can be found sitting on a  skull. Apparently, after studies by an academic Benjamin Garcia-Hernández, the skull would represent Prince Juan of the Reyes Catolicos who died in 1497 just before turning 20 despite endless efforts by the "doctors" to save his life. The frog represents the physician who treated him, Doctor Parra, thus giving the frog its nickname "Parrita". So to help you out this is what you need to look for...

However, nothing is more confusing to archaeologists and historians then old hoaxes, hoaxes that are now themselves parts of history and have caused hours and hours of wasted research. One of the most famous was the crystal skulls, for example, which were "discovered" in the jungles of Belize in the 1920s and said to be 3,600-year-old Mayan artefacts, but were actually carved in the 1840s, or the Voynich Manuscript, an undecipherable coded and illustrated manuscript from between the 1300s and 1400s, which is likely a series of gibberish meant to either discredit Jesuit Priest Athanasius Kircher, or possibly to gain fame and fortune for the unknown author. 

The thing that makes old hoaxes so frustrating is that they are hard to tease out from their actual history. Something fabricated in the 1600s made to look like it is from the 1400s can be very hard to pick out. However, this brings me to another carving on the facade of Salamanca's cathedral. An astronaut. Salamanca has two cathedrals, the old and the new. The Old Cathedral was built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style and it is dedicated to Saint Mary of the See. It is closed to the public and only opened during very special occasions. The New Cathedral is not exactly “new”. It was built between the 16th and 18th centuries in the Gothic and Baroque styles, commissioned by Ferdinand V of Castile of Spain, the Catholic King. For some time there were numerous debates online about the fact that one of the carvings is decidedly an astronaut. Obviously, there were no astronauts back in the 18th century, so some bright sparks deduced that it was evidence of time travel or ancient space travel via alien intervention. Some minds are easily influenced. The Astronaut is hidden in the carvings of the lateral entrance of the cathedral. Additionally more evidence to support these ridiculous theories was a gargoyle eating an ice-cream which also appears to be laughing at you. Which is rather ironic. But on this occasion neither are hoaxes even though they may appear to be.

 The astronaut and the gargoyle on the Cathedral of Salamanca were both approved as a modern addition to the Cathedral, however, they have all the hallmarks of something which may provide for great confusion some 500 years from now. Built between 1513 and 1733, the Gothic cathedral underwent restoration work in 1992. It is generally a tradition of cathedral builders and restorers to add details or new carvings to the facade as a sort of signature. In this case, after conferring with the cathedral, quarryman Jeronimo Garcia was given the go-ahead to add some more modern images to the facade including an astronaut floating among some vines as well as the dragon eating ice cream. A lynx, a bull, and a crayfish were also added. The astronaut represents 20th-century technology and the gargoyle is said to represent the students of Salamanca.

So there you have it if you decide to visit Salamanca one day don't forget to pass by and pick up your dose of good luck and pay your respects to the ancient time travellers.

Good luck finding them!



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