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8 Things You Never Knew About Spain
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July 1, 2019
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Travel Trivia Editorial
europe

Though most commonly referred to simply as Spain, Europe's second-largest country is officially known as the Kingdom of Spain. The country houses 46.7 million residents and is ruled by the parliamentary constitutional monarchy.

Take a look at eight other facts that you may not have known about Spain.

The Eiffel Tower Was Almost Built in Spain

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The Eiffel Tower is practically synonymous with Paris, France. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the historic structure. But most people probably don't know that the Eiffel Tower was originally offered to Spain. Designers wanted to build the structure in Barcelona, but city officials were worried that the tower would be an "eyesore." As it so happens, Paris was looking for a piece to put at the entrance of its world fair.

Spain Is the World's Largest Exporter of Olive Oil

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Spain's climate is ideal for growing olives, and the country boasts nearly 300 million olive trees. While most people associate Italy with olive oil, recent climate changes have actually caused the country to have severe oil shortages. Now, Italy actually imports a large amount of olive oil from Spain.

But Spain was the leader in olive oil production long before Italy faced problems. Spain currently produces over 40% of the world's olive oil.

The World's Largest Food Fight Takes Place in Spain

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Though you may not know its name, you've probably heard of Spain's Tomatina festival. Every year, thousands of residents and tourists gather in the streets to hurl ripe tomatoes at each other. The event takes place on the last Wednesday of August and has been a popular event since the early 1940s.

The details surrounding its origin are mixed. Some residents claim it started when angry residents threw tomatoes at the city's councilmen while others say it began exactly as what it has become: a simple food fight. Regardless of how it started, it has become one of Spain's most popular events. It attracts thousands of tourists every year.

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If you enjoy walking around sans clothes, Spain is the place for you. There are currently no laws against public nudity in the country. That being said, you won't typically see people walking around in their birthday suits around town. While it's completely legal, it's not something most residents partake in. If you feel like ditching the clothes and feeling the warmth of the sun on your back, your best bet is to head down to one of the country's numerous nudist beaches.

Travel tip: The above guidelines do not apply to Barcelona. Public nudity is against the law in the city and even walking around town in your swimsuit can get you in trouble.

Move Over Ireland and Germany, Spain Has More Bars

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Believe it or not, Spain has more bars per resident than any other country in the European Union. According to ThinkSpain, there are 279,243 bars in the country. That's one bar for every 169 residents.

The World's Oldest Restaurant Is in Spain

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Casa Botin was founded in 1725 and is currently listed as the world's oldest restaurant. The restaurant is located in Madrid and serves traditional Spanish food. Its most popular dishes include suckling pig and roasted lamb. The rest of the menu features an extensive collection of seafood, meat, and Spanish wine. The restaurant operates on four floors and is reminiscent of old-world Spain. It is open seven days a week, and you can get both lunch and dinner.

The Tooth Fairy Is a Rat

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No, this is not an exaggeration. In Spain, children who have lost their teeth do not believe in the tooth fairy. Instead, they believe in a small creature called Ratoncito Peréz. Traditionally, children in Spain will leave their lost tooth underneath their pillow, where the friendly rat will come and replace it with a gift. This may or may not include money. The tradition has been around since the 1800s and is common in other Hispanic cultures, including Mexico and Peru.

The Country Has a Very Strong Smoking Ban

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Spain became the first country to ban smoking in the workplace. It has since added to this ban, eliminating smoking in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other public spaces. There are very few exceptions to these rules. This ban likely contributes to Spain having one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. The country also has laws prohibiting advertising of tobacco and requiring the health warning to take up 65% of the packaging.