Some news from Spain CXVI

And in this early cold January 2022, let me bring you back to my beloved Spain. Thank you for following me over the years and especially my some news from Spain series. Feliz Año Nuevo!!! Lets get right into the matter shall we. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The museums of the Madrid art triangle, (Museo del Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen), the Guggenheim in Bilbao and Caixa Forum have announced the balance of public influx for the year 2021, In 2021 the influx to large museums represents between a 30 and 60% of the volume of the last year prior to the epidemic. Not just museums but everything else, and we keep wearing mask and more vaccine shots coming lol!

The Prado Museum has received 1,175,296 visitors in 2021, which represents an increase of 32.2 percent over the previous year. In 2019, the Prado had 3.2 million visits. Although since the pandemic began more than half of the influx has been from the Community of Madrid, in 2021 there has been a progressive increase in visitors from the rest of Spain (20.2%) and foreign visitors (26.1 %). The number of visitors to the Reina Sofía Museum has grown by 30% in 2021 compared to last year. A total of 1,643,108, In 2019, 4.4 million people visited the Reina. In Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum has received 530,967 visitors , In 2019, 1.17 million people visited the Guggenheim. The la Caixa Foundation also increased its visits to the eight CaixaForum and CosmoCaixa, where it received 5.2 million visitors in the different cultural, scientific and educational proposals in 2021. Meanwhile, the two rooms of the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid and Barcelona registered 220,368 visitors, which means that its visits have increased by just over 62% compared to 2020.

The bullfighting calendar for 2022 recovers its structure prior to the pandemic, which destroyed the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The San Isidro Fair will return to its usual format in the month of May (from May 8 to June 5) in the last season of Plaza 1. And it will connect with the Sevilla April Fair, which with a late Easter Sunday -April 17- will start in the last week of the month to get into the next and even step on the first day of the isidrada with the miurada. A marathon of more than 40 consecutive afternoons adds up to the two cycles. The year 2022 will return San Fermín in its purest form, if the pandemic respects us after two years of absence. The House of Mercy has had no income for its nursing home for the elderly that long.

Puentedey is the only town of the 22 that have been presented that has managed to overcome the more than 40 criteria required to enter this organization of the most beautiful villages of Spain. The great 15-meter high arch could not be more than a work of God. Hence the name of this town of about 45 inhabitants among the valleys and meadows in the amazing Burgos region of Las Merindades, which has just entered the network of the most beautiful Villages in Spain. You must see Church of San Pelayo, a Romanesque construction with a single limestone nave that has an impost decorated with checkered, rhombuses and an undulating stem sheltering leaves at the base of the vault. The most interesting element is the façade, where a man armed with a shield and sword is represented who faces a reptile. The second outstanding building is of a civil order, and is known as the Brizuela palace, which is fortified almost until it takes the form of a castle and was built between the 15-16C, at the highest point of the Puentedey natural arch. One of the Most Beautiful Towns in Spain, is associated with the award of ‘One of the most beautiful towns on Earth’, as Spain presides over the Federation of the Most Beautiful Towns on Earth, made up of countries such as France, Italy, Belgium and Japan.

The most beautiful towns of Spain assoc : https://www.lospueblosmasbonitosdeespana.org/pueblos-con-encanto.html

The most beautiful towns in the world on Spain : https://lpbvt.org/spain/

The township Meridad de Val de Porres on Puentedey : http://merindaddevaldeporres.es/pueblo/puentedey

Take a trip out into Castilla La Mancha ! Villanueva de los Infantes province of Ciudad Real. Take a walk by La Providencia Calle Cervantes, 4, founded in 1885, is famous for its alfonsinos: a round sponge cake with a thin layer of pastry cream. drew up for King Alfonso XIII when he came for his hunts. They are so exquisite and famous that personalities of all kinds have passed and continue to pass through here: from politicians like Adolfo Suárez to actors like Emilio Gutiérrez Caba. In the Plaza Mayor we go straight to the tomb of Francisco de Quevedo. His remains are hidden inside the Church of San Andrés, which finally rests in peace when it was ruled true in 2007. Quevedo died in the Santo Domingo convent in 1645, where you can visit the cell in which he spent his last days, which he preserves. his bed and his desk, The Casa de los Estudios or house of studies ,calle Santo Tomás, 39 used to be a school where classes were held around its covered patio; now houses a scientific circuit of verifiable facts, The Alhóndiga is also curious where in the 16C cereals were bought, sold and stored, and which in 1719 became a prison, until it was closed in 1976 and today it is the Cultural House. The Casa de la Pirra (it belonged to a knight of the Order of San Juan) or that of the Knight in the Green Gabán (in which Cervantes was inspired to describe one that appears in chapter XVIII). The latter is at a crossroads where each corner is a noble building, completed by the Melgarejo palace, the vicarage of the Order of Santiago and the Casa del Marqués de Camacho.

Just five km away is the sanctuary of Our Lady of Antigua.(Nuestra Señora de la Antigua) ,already in the 12C in this baroque church the patron saint of Villanueva de los Infantes was worshiped, although the Romanesque carving of the Virgin that is inside is from the 13C (and her vestments from the 18C), A few steps away, always next to the Jabalón river , awaits the archaeological site of Jamila, whose origin dates back to Roman times. It is one of the 40 places that the Military Order of Santiago repopulated in the region during the Middle Ages. The San Carlos del Valle is known as the Vatican of La Mancha. It is a small town about 28 km from Villanueva de los Infantes, and owes its nickname to its Plaza Mayor and the Church of Santísimo Cristo del Valle. to admire this little architectural gem from the 18C.

The town of Villanueva de los Infantes : http://infantes.org/

The most beautiful villages of Spain on Villanueva de los Infantes : https://www.lospueblosmasbonitosdeespana.org/castilla-la-mancha/villanueva-de-los-infantes

Something fitting for our times even if happening in Rome, Saint Teresa of Jesus or of Avila, the first woman doctor of the Church, has returned to Rome. The Baroque masterpiece, ‘The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa’, by the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, recently regained its original splendor with a complete restoration. Romans and tourists who come to the Eternal City during the Christmas holidays can find it again in the Cornaro Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, a place that offers not only an architectural and artistic representation, but also a very rich one. devotional symbology. The city of Rome tourist office on the Church: https://www.turismoroma.it/en/places/church-santa-maria-della-vittoria

Something that is eaten a lot in Spain these days similar to the Galette du Roi in France is the Roscón de Reyes or sort of cake of kings, The latest best maker of this sweet are PANDOMÈ : The Domenico Rosso’s workshop, at the Mercado de Tirso de Molina market and his shop off the Glorieta de Embajadores roundabout on calle Martín de Vargas, 6.

MOULIN CHOCOLAT : This pastry shop near Retiro park , and near the Puerta de Alcalà (Calle de Alcalá, 77); a good one indeed. Brioche dough, natural orange blossom water from the century-old Luca de Tena factory, aged rum and orange peels are the basis of the preparation of their roscón, which has a legion of followers. webpage: https://moulinchocolat.com/

PAN.DELIRIO : The Cocheteux family (Calle Juan Bravo, 21 / Calle Professor Waksman 8) make their roscón as it was done more than 60 years ago. They have a limited production and recommend to reserve webpage : https://pandelirio.es/

Now let’s go into some history and Spain has a lot of it.

We have the 3 Wise Kings or Epiphany, in our Spanish tradition, this is the day we give toys to our children, We had followed both for several years but the gifts are giving once in Christmas Day. Some enlightment on the subject.

The only text in the Gospels, that of Matthew, that mentions the fact. In Matthew’s narrative, there is no mention of kings, nor that there were three of them, nor that they were in the manger where Jesus would have been born, nor what their names were. The text speaks of some “wise men” who were interested in the study of the stars, who had arrived in Jerusalem guided by a star asking where the “King of the Jews was because they wanted to worship him.” Matthew adds that they came “to the house where Jesus was born and found him with his mother, Mary.” They don’t talk about the father. Finding him in a house seems to exclude that he was born in Bethlehem and in a manger. They could have visited him in Nazareth, which is where he was surely born, since all the Gospels speak of “Jesus of Nazareth” and not of Bethlehem.

Most likely, as in the case of his birthplace, which was located in Bethlehem because, according to the prophets, Jesus was of royal blood like David, who was a native of that city, the narration of the Magi is linked to biblical texts that announced the arrival of a king who would save the tribe of Israel from the persecutions of tyrants. That there were three arose from the three gifts that were brought to the child: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The names of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar do not appear neither in the official text of Matthew nor in the apocryphal Gospels, which are distinguished by the many details they offer about the childhood of Jesus, practically ignored by the canonical Gospels. The names of the magi appear for the first time in a 6C mosaic in the Basilica of Saint Apollinare the New in the beautiful Italian city of Ravenna. Starting in the 13C, the initials of kings (M, G, B) are carved on the doors of houses and stables to ward off demons and witches from people and animals. Only in the Syrian and Armenian Orthodox churches are there 12 magicians, instead of three. And the fact of being three also symbolized the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth, who after the universal flood repopulated the Earth according to the narrative of the Bible.

So there, it seems well written that we have followed tradtions that came much later in the hope of propagating the myth and the faith, Take your pick,I rather stay with the nice story of the 3 Wise Kings ,in Spanish: Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar.

And yet another, where the Catholic Kings Isabel and Fernando came to Granada and did it all, Well read on.

Granada was placed as a priority for the Catholic Monarchs, who had grown up under the threat posed by the rise of the Ottoman Empire, which in 1453 achieved the fall of Constantinople, and were not willing to tolerate the challenge of Muley Hacen, the emir of Granada, that during this period had seized several bastions on the Christian frontier and stopped paying the tribute stipulated with the Christians.

Upon learning in Medina del Campo of the Muslim attack on Zahara, Fernando El Catolico, whose inhabitants were enslaved or murdered, had been conquered by the Aragonese’s grandfather, Fernando de Antequera, in 1410. It was a familiar matter for him to strike back. Therefore, the Pope Sixtus VI supported the military enterprise by instituting a Crusade, by way of financial assistance. Three-quarters of the funds that financed this war, rich in episodes of great violence on both sides, came from ecclesiastical taxes. The nobility, high clergy, Italian bankers, and Jewish communities provided the rest of the funds. Above all, German, English, Burgundian, German knights and adventurers came … ready to participate in the last Crusade of the Christian West. The Christians had numerical superiority and morale on their side, but the characteristics of the terrain prolonged a war of sieges and skirmishes, without major battles in the open field, for six years. During the first stage of the war, between 1482 and 1484, the Improvisation and isolated performances by great Andalusian nobles, including the Duke of Medina-Sidonia or the Count of Cabra, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba’s older brother, set a slow pace in the conflict. Christian luck improved in the second stage, because the armies of Isabel and Fernando increased their services and conquered the valleys of Ronda, Loja, Marbella, Malaga, an essential port for the reception of supplies and reinforcements from North Africa, and Baza . Especially important was that the Kings associated themselves with Prince Abu Abd Allah, known to the Spanish as Boabdil, ‘The Little King’, which plunged the Muslim side into a civil war. To intensify the pressure on the emir, the Catholic Monarchs began in the summer of 1491 the construction of the Santa Fe camp, built in a square in front of Granada, with the firm decision that they would only raise it after the fall of the city. On January 2, 1492, the surrender was staged in a ceremony devoid of humiliations, as evidenced by the fact that Boabdil did not kiss the hands of the Kings. He handed over the keys to the city to the Count of Tendilla, Íñigo López de Mendoza, who would be the first captain general of the Alhambra. The last emir continued to live in Spain, in a territory assigned by the Kings in the Alpujarras of Andalucia, but after eighteen months he crossed the strait to die in Fez decades later. The Kings issued the Pragmatic of February 11, 1502, which forced the baptism or exile of Muslims.

As all wars, this one was won but the decision later were typical brute of the times, The only good thing is that right after the Columbus phenomenon began and a new world to the Europeans was found, Hope you enjoy the story as I,

There you go folks, another dandy round of some news from Spain by yours truly, The Spain everything under the Sun a tourist slogan from the 80’s still holds true in the second most visited country in the world (UN-WTO).

And remember, happy travels good health and many cheers to all !!!

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