Spain is, above all, a mosaic of cultures. Heterogeneous. Old and modern. Refined and popular. Holy and secular. Plural and diverse. The variety of its cultures attracts. The historic heritage dazzles. The vital power of its people fascinates. Spanish culture is extremely rich and touches upon all forms of artistic expression. From literature to painting, music to architecture, the theatre to sumptuary arts. In each of these aspects, at some time in history or other, Spanish culture has reached the highest artistic heights: from bygone times (with outstanding examples of cave art) until present day (a time in which Spanish architecture is universally avant-garde), culture and art in Spain are prominent features of the country.
Current Spanish culture is enjoying good health, as can be seen, for example, in a prosperous editorial industry that produces over 90,000 volumes per year. Cultural tourism is becoming an alternative to sun and beach tourism, as a result of the wealth and quality of the museums, monuments, fiestas and traditions, not to mention the expositions and various cultural displays. Just to give an example, Spain boasts one of the greatest collections of historical and architectural monuments in the world, as demonstrated by the fact that it is the country with the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage designations. An approximate inventory of the monuments in Spain would reveal over 20,000 important pieces.
Spanish theatre and cinema is becoming a reference point in Europe, thanks to events such as the Theatre Festivals of Mérida, Sagunto and Almagro and the San Sebastian and Valladolid cinema festivals. Spanish universities play a very important role in the diffusion of the national culture, and their summer courses, held in universities such as El Escorial, Salamanca, Santander and the International University of Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP), with seats in Santander, Barcelona, Cuenca, Galicia, the Pyrenees, Seville, Tenerife and Valencia are of particular relevance. Scientific and cultural research is carried out by the state-dependent Superior Council of Scientific Research.
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