The Cathedral of Burgos

(Image – National Geographic)

For just over 800 years, this wonder of Gothic architecture has played a central role in Castilian and Spanish life. It’s a unique member of Spain’s more than 90 major churches in that it has elements of both Spanish and northern European features. It’s the only cathedral to be a UNESCO World Heritage site on its own. After a massive 20-year restoration in advance of its 800th anniversary in 2021, it’s looking as fine as ever. We recently returned to this temple for a renewed look at it and were not disappointed. And we don’t think you will either. Listen and enjoy!

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THE EDIFICIO COREA: An American colony in Franco’s Madrid

Here’s a different look at Madrid. In the 1950s, when the Torrejon Air Force Base was built and American military forces arrived, both personnel and their families moved into a neighborhood in the north of Madrid. The picture you see with the yellow rings shows you when it was just built and in the middle of nowhere. It would become a community of “Little America” as well as one of the hottest nightlife zones in the city. Listen and learn more!

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SPANISH UNIVERSITIES

Some of the oldest and most venerable higher learning institutions in Europe (and the world, for that matter) are located in Spain. Many were founded as this country was initiating a rise to world power. Swords to engage in warfare with their traditional enemies the Moors were now being substituted for pens to take on intellectual endeavors. Listen to this brief rundown on some of Spain’s earliest universities. Enjoy!

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Let’s Open a Bottle 7: Sidra, Spain’s Cider

As Christmastime winds down, there is just one more holiday left before it’s time to take down the holly and drop a few pounds after weeks of celebrating. The Three Kings’ Day, January 6th, is the day for gift-giving and eating roscón cake and toasting with sparkling apple cider, known as sidra. Sidra is inextricably linked to the region of Asturias, where it is a deeply-rooted part of the region’s gastronomy. And you’ll find much the same at any Asturian restaurant you encounter no matter where it is. Learn more about this popular drink and, especially, the zanny way it’s served. Enjoy!

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Spanish History 101, Ep. 21: The 13th Century

ALFONSO X the WISE

If you thought the situation in Spain would getter any easier to follow, think again!!! It continues to to be murky as we are often not talking about just one kingdom, but many at the same time. The different kingdoms and regions progress. Of them all, Castile and Aragon appear to be coming out on top. Muslim Spain, Al Andalus, has now been pushed back to the south, and culture in the Christian kingdoms is on the rise. Literature, music and universities appear! Listen and enjoy!

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FAMOUS SPANISH XMAS TRADITIONS: The Belén (Nativity Scene)

(Museo de la Historia de Madrid)

This is not just an image of 18th Century Spain, but rather a section of a nativity scene sculpted and designed in the Neapolitan barroque style. Few things at this time of year are as widely displayed as the nativity scene, known mainly as a “belén”, which is the Spanish word for “Bethlehem”. You can come across them just about everywhere in the country (in all sizes, shapes, numbers and styles) and many are major tourist attractions. Today we are going to learn a little about the history of the nativity scene in Spain and include some ideas on where to see them. Enjoy!

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LET’S OPEN A BOTTLE (6): Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine

The holiday season is the peak moment of the year for sparkling wine as people toast with popular sparkling wines like champagne, prosecco and, naturally, Spain’s very own “cava”. Produced mostly in the region of Catalonia, not far from Barcelona, it is also made in other parts of Spain, and the range is amazing. In this episode, we’re going to learn a little about sparkling wine in general, and then key in on the fantastic world of cava. Enjoy!

You can subscribe to our podcasts on Spotify, Amazon. Apple and Castos. Or if you wish to support Brian’s Spain Domain, click on our PayPal donate button or check us out at Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/briansspaindomain

December 6: Spain’s Constitution Day

December 6th is a holiday in Spain and it commemorates the referendum in 1978 when millions of Spaniards went to the polls to vote in favor of the new constitution, ushering in a new era of democracy for Spain after nearly 40 years of dictatorship. It’s a landmark in contemporary Spanish history, but the road leading to its approval was no cake-walk. Listen and learn a little about the history of Spain and its different constitutions. Enjoy!

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SPANISH HISTORY 101, EP. 20: 12th Century and the Plot Thickens

Alfonso I el Batallador – King of Aragon

The 12th Century and Spain is still a land of half a dozen kingdoms vying for control and a score of Muslim principalities known as taifas. Throw in an invasion or two by the Moors and what you have is unimaginable instability. Little by little, the Muslims are beginning to lose their grip on Al Andalus, but it is ever so slow. Castile is on the rise, Aragon has come of age, and even Portugal has come out and become its own kingdom. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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Let’s Open a Bottle (5): Wines from Madrid

Store featuring wines from Madrid in the Mercado de las Ventas

It may seem counterintuitive to think that the region of Madrid, with its massive capital and built-up bedroom communities, would in anyway be a place for bodegas to make wine, but the reality is quite the opposite. Wine-producing has been going on here for centuries, and after overcoming a rough streak in the middle of the 20th Century, the winemakers of D.O. Vinos de Madrid are enjoying a renaissance.  Listen and enjoy!

You can subscribe to our podcasts on Spotify, Amazon. Apple and Castos. Or if you wish to support Brian’s Spain Domain, click on our PayPal donate button or check us out at Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/briansspaindomain