Cuisine in Madrid


The city’s culinary history began when King Felipe ll established Madrid as the capital of Spain which attracted a major population influx from many people around all parts of the Spanish Empire. Trade thrived across the Atlantic between Spain and America and Madrid was able to enjoy a culture golden age between the 16th and 17th centuries. Madrid re-shaped the local gastronomy, dividing it into two independent branches including humble and aristocratic cuisine and this remained for the next 4 centuries. Many of the food traditions since first being created such as tapas. Many say they were created when King Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes in between meals. Today, the king doesn’t serve wine without it being accompanied by the small snack of tapas. In the city of Madrid, dinner is normally served around 10pm at the earliest, so when living or visiting Madrid the tapas can be useful to tie you over before a late dinner. 

Madrid is home to the world’s oldest restaurant allowing the city to have heritage and tradition of fine dining. You will find a wide variety of tasty treats tucked away whether it is in the city’s bodegas or sold from vendors on the street. A lot of Madrid’s food scene is centered around the world-famous markets located along the streets, where people buy quick and to go food while shopping for the local produce being sold. These customs that Madrid has have helped shape the city with foods that can be enjoyed authentically on a tight budget.

Bocadillo de Calamares

Madrid has its own gastronomy with the typical recipes which include tripe, snails, squid rolls and tapas. Although the city has its own practice of cooking they also follow culinary specialties from other parts of Spain to be enjoyed by the natives. Some popular dishes that have been created by the Spanish include Paella, a rice dish with your choice of seafood and/or meats of a variety, Roast Suckling Pig, Galacian Octopus, Bean Stew, prepared with white beans, sausage, black pudding and bacon, Fried Fish, and many more delectable dishes served for lunch and dinner. 

Regalitos de Rabo de Toro

Eating in Madrid is one of the best experiences for people visiting. Being able to find where each food gastronomic quarter is easy and there are many different places to try out. You can find traditional foods in the old city near Royal Palace of Madrid and Plaza Mayor. Modern and International can be found in the neighborhoods of Malasana and Chueca. Ethnic foods can be found in Lavapies, where you can find Indian and African restaurants. And if you’re trying a more sophisticated and fancy plate, you would head to the Salamanca quarter. While food in America is much different, Madrid, Spain has one of the healthiest diets compared to many countries all over the world including fresh meats and veggies. None of the foods served in the city are processed which make the city’s food more appealing to many individuals. 

Civil War History of Sevilla – James

The beginnings of a renaissance in Sevilla was triggered by the Ibero-American
Exposition of 1929. This exposition occurred on May 9, 1929 and ended June 21, 1930 showcasing the similarities held between Spain, Latin America, the United States, Portugal and Brazil. The goal was to improve relations between the attending countries. The Ibero-american Exposition coincided with the Barcelona International Exhibition of 1929, together the two expositions made up the General Spanish Expositions. During the exposition the gardens gifted by Duke de Montpensier were renewed.

During the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 the Nationalists had captured the area, preserving much of the city. The Spanish Civil war was triggered by an uprising in Seville on July 18 1936 which failed in many regions located in Andalusian cities but succeeded in the regions of Cordoba, Granada, Cadiz, and in the capital city of Seville. In Seville a city garrison ,which was led by nationalist General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano, occupied the city and carried out a bloody repression. In August 1936 the Nationalists led by Llano began their march to Madrid from Seville.

The Nationalist Uprising in Seville would last from July 18,1936 till July 25, 1936. A group of army officers from the Spanish Army would attempt to overthrow the Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic. The goal of their coup was to seize control of the main cities in the country, Seville would be one of these.

The Nationalist coup in Seville would be led by Quiepo de Llano. According to Llano he and a small unit of 130 soldiers and 15 civilians had managed to seize the Seville with him personally arresting the Republican general Villa-Abrile after convincing the republican garrison to join the coup. The Seville coup was organized by José Cuesta Moreneo, chief of staff of Seville, who struggled to find participants for the coup since most of the men were on summer leave.

The Coup in Seville began on July 18 when Llano and some of his supporters arrested Villa-Abrille as well as a colonel of the 6th Remient named Manuel Allengi, who had refused to join the uprising. Members of the artillery regiment joined the uprising and bombed the gobierno civil or the civil government. The Civil governor would surrender and join the uprising after Quiepo de Llano promised to spare his life, after the surrender the assault guards and police were executed.

After the coup all members of the Republican parties and the leftist parties were rounded up by Nationalists and imprisoned. The entire operation was organized by captain Diz Criado, a Spanish infantry officer. Many Republican supporters were executed after the coup in retaliation for the 13 nationalists that had been executed during the coup. Llano sent a column of Civil Guards, Falangists, requetes and soldiers to occupy other towns in the province; this army would be financed by the wealthy landowners. Many prisoners would be sent to the columns in Seville to be executed. The rebel actions in Seville were key to a strategic victory .


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The Spanish civil war begins – archive, 1936

Madrid’s Art Walk

 By taking a short walk through Madrid’s golden triangle of art you can see works by some of history’s greatest artists within the span of about one kilometer. The Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Reina Sofía are all located within close proximity to one another along the Paseo del Prado and are must-see historic sites when traveling to Madrid. The Prado Museum is one of Spain’s main national art museums, featuring artists such as Francisco Goya, El Greco, Titian, and Diego Velázquez, it is considered by many to be one of the greatest museums in the world. The nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza was the second-largest private art collection at one time, second only to the British Royal Collection. The third museum on the Paseo del Prado is the Reina Sofía which was named after Queen Sofia when it was opened in 1992. This museum is Spain’s national museum of 20th-century art and is home to works by artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, making its collection the more modern of the Golden Triangle. When visiting Madrid, either studying towards a degree, brushing up on art history to polish up some lectures, or just to take in some of the wonderful sites that Spain has to offer, the Paseo del Prado is certainly worth checking out.

Industrial History of Bilbao

One of the most significate aspects of the city of Bilbao is its location. Situated on the ibaizabal-nervion in northern Spain, which would become a common passageway for merchants selling goods. Along with selling goods, the city would also export iron ore found in the ibaizbal-nervion. The ironwork done in Bilbao would produce goods that would sell all around Europe. This port city would become one of the main attractive factors under the kingdom of Castile under King John. This would cause Bilbao to become an economic mecca for the basque region with many foreign workers coming to the city to find work. Iron mining would be a staple of the region for the coming centuries. In the early 20th century workers would form a metal works company called Altos Hornos de Vizcaya which would become one of the largest producers of iron goods during the time in Spain. Supporters of the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya would come from major cities like Madrid, Vizcaya, Barcelona, and even London England. But in the late 1990s, the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya would see a decrease in production due to new European tariffs on imported iron and metal goods. 

One of the best museums I’d recommend visiting is Itsasmueum which is a museum that is the Euskalduna ship yeard recreated into a museum covering maritime history. In the museum, you will have a ton of different permanent exhibits. Many exhibits explore maritime sea rescue, navigation, industrial port, shipbuilding, and many more. With admission being free some days the museum is definitely worth a visit and is a good way to learn about the history of the port city and also the economical value of the port. 


In 1937 during the Spanish civil war as Nationalists were invading the city of Bilbao, the Spains government would create Bilbo’s Iron Ring. This Iron Ring would consist of a line of fortifications which included trenches, bunkers underground fortifications, used to defend the city and surrounding regions around Bilbos. The Iron Ring would quickly fall to the nationalist when Alejandro Goicoechea would switch sides with the nationalist giving up the groundworks of the fortification which would be easily taken out within the coming days with modern weapons. These weapons would include German airplane bombing raids that would destroy most of the city. But today the Iron Ring is still seen in the mount sides of Artxanda which is the mountain range around Bilbao. The Artxanda is available to the public as you can take a day trip up the mountain to see the fortifications and also get a view of the city. 

Beautiful Basque Country

Bilbao in the 20th century saw itself go from a booming industrial city after the reconstruction of damages caused by the Spanish Civil War. To a down fill-in, economic strength due to local terrorism by the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna has started to recover over the past few decades. Bilbo still stands as one of Spain’s cities that have a rich history of industrialism, art, and culture. 

Sports in Toledo

Toledo is home to many different kinds of sports and activities, ranging from just walking around the beautiful landscapes, to their very own Football Club. Since Toledo is a city in Spain, football, which of course is known as soccer to us in the United States, is very popular. Not only is their interpretation of football very popular in Toledo, but with the rapid spread of the NFL into foreign countries, maybe one day an NFL game will be held somewhere in the city of Toledo.

Club Deportivo Toledo, better known as CD Toledo, is the regional football team that plays in Toledo, Spain. Founded about 100 years ago in 1928, CD Toledo is a relatively young club team even when comparing it to their nearby neighbors, Real-Madrid Club de Fútbol, who was founded in 1902. CD Toledo holds their games in Estadio Salto del caballo which is in the middle of the city and can hold more than 5,000 spectators. Watching a football game is a great way to connect with the culture and the spirit of Spain.

While CD Toledo is not very well known for being the best Fútbol club in Spain, only an hour away from Toledo, Real Madrid plays their games. Real Madrid is one of the most famous clubs in the world and have been dominant in the sport for many years. Real Madrid is known for having famous football players to play for them such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, and many more. Many Toledo born football fans quickly become fans of Real Madrid due to the proximity and the popularity of the team.

The Plaza de Zocodover in Toledo is a town square where many people have met up throughout Spain’s history. It was designed by Juan de Herrera during Philip II’s reign and since then has acted as the city’s main square. Many different celebrations are held here, it is a common meeting place for the people of Toledo, and it is a popular place for children to play on the playgrounds and even for people of all ages to play sports in the streets of the square. 

According to the 2019 Bloomberg Health Report, Spain ranked number 1 amongst 169 other countries in health variables such as life expectancy, tobacco use and obesity. Another key part to keeping Toledo and the rest of Spain so healthy is the amount of outdoor activities that you can partake in. With the many mountains in and around Spain, there are countless opportunities to hike around the mountains in between Madrid and Toledo or even rock-climb in some areas. There are also many water activities such as wakeboarding, kayaking, or paddle boarding in the Tajo river. Not only are there extreme activities like wakeboarding or rock climbing, but there are a ton of parks in Toledo where you can just walk around or play soccer with your buddies after school. Whatever your taste is, whether it be watching a football match or hiking a mountain, Toledo has something that will satisfy it.

History of Seville

There is a great amount of history in Seville. The city of Seville is about 2,220 years old. Seville used to be Iberian town and was actually founded by the Romans. The original people of Seville were known as The Silingi Vandals. The town fell to the Muslims in 711 BC. After the Muslims took over, Seville became a leader in cultural and commercial centers under the Abbasid Dynasty. Seville was the capital of Alomad in the 12th century. Seville also enjoyed great programs in terms of building. Unfortunately in 1248 Muslim reigned ended in Seville after being taken over by Spanish Christians rule. The leader of this group was Ferdinand III. After Spanish Christians took over Jewish and Moorish communities were thrown into exile, which had a devastating impact on their economy and left it in shambles.

The Spanish Christians brought new prosperity to the city of Seville. Seville became the place for exploration  of the Americas through The Casa de Contratacion, which translates to the house of trade and was created in 1503 in order to regulate the selling of and buying of goods between the New World and Spain. Seville was the richest Cities in Spain during the 16th century. Sevilles was also the most populated city in Spain during the 16th century as well. The population of Seville in the year 1588 was 150,000 people. Seville economy declined in the 17th century as a result of relying on other colonies for their goods instead of relying on trading with others from Spain. 

Art and literature were also an important part in Seville’s history as well. Some famous painters in Seville were: Fransicso de Zurbaran, Bartolome Etseban Murillo, and Diego Velazquez. Fransicso de Zurbara pieces of art were Eternal Father and Temptations of Saint Jerome. Diego Velazquez also had paintings such as Don Cristobol Suraez de Ribera and Saint Ildefonzo Receiving the Chasuble from the Virgin. Some paintings that were created by Bartolome Eteban Murillo were Saint Anne teaching the Virgin to read and La Colasal Immaculate Conception. These paintings are all currently in the Museum of fine arts of Seville today. Juan Martinez Montanes was a famous sculptor in Seville. He was born in 1568 in Alcala la Real, Spain and died in the year 1649 in Seville, Spain at the age of 81 years old. Some of his works of art in included Child Jesus Standing, which was created in 1625, and Saint John the Evangelist that he created in 1638. Some famous poets in Seville were Miguel de Cervantes and Fernando de Herrera. Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcala de Henares, Spain in 1547 and died in Madrid, Spain in 1616. One of Miguel de Carvantes most famous book was called Don Quixote, which he wrote while he was in a Seville Jail. Some of his other books included La Galatea and The Little Gispy Girl, and both books were written in the year 1613. Fernando de Herrera was born in Seville in 1534 and died in Seville in 1597. Some famous books that he wrote included Poesia, which was his most popular book and Sonetos. 

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Segovia’s Historical Architecture

Segovia is a fascinating place, as it is home to many different historical structures. The city of Segovia is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Madrid, and is located in the north western region of Spain. Segovia is surrounded by the beautiful Guadarrama Mountain range, which adds much more visual pleasures to the already historic city. Due to being so close to the mountain range, Segovia averages one of the highest altitudes in all of Spain at nearly 750 meters (2460 feet) high. 

Segovia Palace

One of the most fascinating parts of Segovia is the Royal Palace first founded in 1122. Almost 900 years later it is still standing strong, and a very popular tourist spot in Spain. In fact most of the city was built around the 11th century, and the roman influence is still a large part of the city’s culture. The Royal Palace known as Alcazar Fortress, was originally founded by King Alfonso at the end of the 11th century and was originally used for military purposes. The palace has had three different renovations since then, the first were in the 13th century that had gothic influences under King John and Henry. The next renovation was in 1587 by architect Francisco Largo Caballero. FInally in 1764 King Charles II renovated the building to found the Royal College of Artillery. The castle is located between the Eresma and Clamores river, and there are many secret passages throughout the Castle that lead to the rivers. The fortress has been a staple of Segovia’s architectural history for the last 10 centuries, and will continue to be an important piece of Segovia’s future.

Segovia Cathedral

Another important monument in Segovia is the Cathedral. The Cathedral was built between 1525 and 1577 under King Charles after the original cathedral was destroyed during war. The Cathedral features 3 vaults with fine windows, Italian marble and stained glass. The tallest vault is 90 meters (295 feet) tall and filled with religious artwork. Religion and history have strong influence throughout the cathedral and is a great place to experience the culture of Segovia. The many unique artworks and designs make the Cathedral a must see on a tour in Spain. Walking through the Cathedral would offer insights that simply are not replicable by a textbook or photograph. Within the Cathedral there is also a Chapter House designed by García de Cubillas. The house features a coffered ceiling designed in 1559, and Flemish tapestries showcasing the Queen of Palmyra. It also hosts a museum with one of the first books printed in Spain. The Chapter House is more evidence of the historical influences in Segovia. 

While Segovia is not the biggest city nor is it the most popular, between the natural landmarks with the rivers and the mountain range, or the historical architecture Segovia offers people of all ages a unique perspective of Spain. Both the Cathedral and the Palace are unique to Segovia and are an experience that is unmatched anywhere else in the world!

Brief History of Madrid

College Professors looking to establish a study abroad program or educational trip should look no further than Madrid, the Capital of Spain! Since the Royal Court was moved there in the 16th century Madrid has thrived as the center of the Spanish Empire and its massive wealth experienced several dramatic changes in political power, and birthed some of the most influential European works of art and architecture.  With such a colorful history there is something for teachers of many different humanities studies to offer their students whether it’s history teachers and their students exploring the Madrid History Museum, art students studying in the numerous art museums around the city, or language or religion classes taking advantage of Madrid’s religious history and culture. Take a closer look at what Madrid offers Professors looking to establish a study abroad program. 

Madrid History Museum

Above is the Madrid History Museum, originally the San Fernando Hospice. It was converted into a Museum in 1928 and experienced a number of interruptions to its normal operations as a result of maintenance and the civil war as well where the Museum played a crucial role in preserving the art and culture of Spain throughout the violence. The building itself is worth studying as an example of Baroque art and Spanish history in addition to providing exhibits with a wide variety of paintings, artifacts, and displays on the history of Madrid and the day-to-day lives of its people since its establishment as the capital of Spain all the way to the 20th century. Professors can look forward to showing their students European and Spanish history through the lens of Spain’s capital city. The museum houses images and information on kings, politicians, artists, and otherwise notable figures in Madrid’s history as well as a number of famous artworks such as the Allegory of the Villa de Madrid by Francisco de Goya, Porcelain from the Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro, and the Model of Madrid by Leon Gil. Further information on the Museum and its contents can be found here. The history of the museum itself presents a good look into the history of the city.

Madrid’s History

Madrid was not nearly as large or significant of a city prior to the Royal Court being moved there in 1562. The city quickly began to grow as Madrid solidified itself as the political seat of the Spanish empire and the kings that ruled it added to the city with various Royal projects including one of the significant Plazas in the City’s layout, the Plaza Mayor. Madrid sided with the Bourbons during the War of Succession and under the Bourbons Madrid further grew and evolved. The Royal Palace was built under Bourbon rule as well as other famous works such as the famous gates: the Puerta de Alcala and the Puerta del Sol. Following Bourbon rule, Madrid was ruled by Napoleon’s brother Joseph but an uprising against his rule put Madrid back into Spanish hands. Madrid was also a significant part of the Spanish Civil War as the seat of the Republic fighting against the fascist nationalist party. The Republic ultimately lost the civil war and much of Madrid was destroyed as a result of aerial bombardment and fighting. Reconstruction efforts during the post-war period as well as modernization and globalization efforts in the late Franco regime and after its fall have caused Madrid to be rebuilt into a massive city with a very unique history as Spain has a different story than most European countries.

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The Natural Beauty of Toledo

The city of Toledo is located in the middle of Spain and is a natural beauty. It is a small city that sits beneath the capital of Spain, Madrid. the natural landscapes and parks speak to the history itself. Situated on a hill above the plains it captivates the river that snakes between the city and the rest of the Spanish hills. It is home to many different types of landscapes from extremely tall mountains, to vast open waters. Toledo houses some beautiful sights that both tourists and residents love to see.

Barrancas de Burujón

The city of Toledo contains not many but a few natural parks and landmarks. One of these few parks includes the Barrancas de Burujón. The Barrancas de Burujón is a nature reserve that consists of two very different boundaries. On one side of the reserve, there are steep claystone gullies, while on the other side sits the Castrejón Reservoir. This site can be described as a ravine with walls made of rocks and marvelous viewpoints. One of these viewpoints is the Cambrón and Los Enebros, a plateau area atop the ravine that overlooks the Castrejón Reservoir. It is a great place to visit, not only one of the most beautiful sites in Toledo but in all of Spain!

Cabañeros National Park

Another gorgeous view that you can see in Spain is the Cabañeros National Park, located in the mountains of Toledo and is known to be one of if not the best representations of a Mediterranean forest. This national park shows something different year-round with the changing seasons; the different colors of leaves along with the different animals it attracts. Much like the Barrancas de Burujón, it is also split into two different landscapes. One consists of a lowland depression and the other a higher mountain range, which is one of the things it’s known for, its vastly different scenery. There are also a few different opportunities to tour this great spectacle of nature. Not only are there 16 separate hiking routes but there are also tours in 4-wheel-drive motor vehicles, bicycles, and even horseback. At night the park becomes a whole new world with the extremely clear starry night sky.

Mirador del Valle Toledo

Last and best of all is the Mirador del Valle Toledo, also known as El Mirador Toledo, it is most famously known as the best viewpoint in Toledo. This viewpoint is located just south of the city and across from the Tejo river and there anyone will be able to see why it has the name it does. Once reached, the top of the entire city of Toledo including the surrounding river, Tejo, can be seen in one breathtaking look. Everything within the city limits can be seen from this point. Especially Toledo’s massive monuments such as the Catedral de Toledo and the exemplary Jesuit Church. Surprisingly this amazing sight is not only open to anyone who wants to enjoy it but it is also completely free, making it a must-see natural attraction just outside the city of Toledo.

Tasty Toledo: Carcamusas

Carcamusas is one of the most traditional recipes you can find in Toledo. You can find Carcamusas in a wide variety of restaurants, often as a bar snack. This dish is a pork stew, most commonly containing venison, that contains peas and whatever other vegetable or ingredients your heart desires. Your ingredients are normally sauteed with chili powder along with other spices then simmered. When done, crushed fresh red tomatoes are added to make it a stew. This dish is normally a bit spicy and served with slices of freshly baked bread- yum!


Tasty Toledo: Tapas

Tapas means little plates, and while you don’t eat the actual plate, the food served on top of them is so good it will have you licking the plate! Tapas refers to the style of serving food in small, savory portions, which is perfect for anyone who likes to try a variety of different types of food without being overwhelmed by a single large meal.

Both busy students and professors will enjoy having a varied meal that doesn’t cost too much or take long to eat.

You typically can order tapas at bars, but there are sit-down restaurants that serve tapas as well.

When you have tapas you could have a croquette on one, stew in the other, seafood on the next, and dessert or a cocktail on the house! 

Order as many or as little as you like, sit down and be served speedily and all for an affordable price! The average cost of a two-to three tapas meal is about 10 euros, which is roughly equivalent to 10 USD. 

Toledo is covered in small local restaurants run by families and small businesses. You will hardly see a single chain restaurant, which means that you get to experience authentic cuisine with a personal touch, as the owners and staff are happy to host you and will introduce you to their favorites.

No meal is complete without a glass of the local red Mancha wine. Mancha wine is known for being just right- not too sweet, not too bitter, with delightful aromas. This is due to the ideal climate of Toledo, in which grapes that the wine is made from grow. Semi-mediterranean and semi-arid – not too hot, not too cold!

Manchego cheese pairs beautifully with the wine, is from the Manchego sheep, which only are a historically significant breed herded in the Mancha region (which is Toledo and its around-bouts).