Welcome to Spain, the Land of Flamenco, Paella and Don Quixote
While most of our Spanish souvenir fridge magnet collection features specific cities, towns and buildings in Spain, some celebrate the nation as a whole. This first group of magnets are just that type of souvenir, appropriate no matter where you traveled in Spain or, if you're simply an admirer of Spainish culture, history and cuisine in general. The first magnet depicts two classic Spanish pursuits: the Torero (or bullfighter) dodging the charging bull with his cape and the flamenco dancers with their elaborate traditional costumes. Representing two of Spain's most important regions - the bullfighter from the central highlands of Castilla, Leon and Extremadura and the flamenco dancers from the warm southern lands of Andalucia - this magnet is a fusion that represents some of the best of Spain. The next magnet is very different, but just as traditional: a leg of slowly dried jamon serrano, one of the nation's greatest delicacies. The make jamon serrano, the artisans carefully salt and then clean the meat, drying it out in a cool place for several months; while the process is simple, the flavor is complex and much desired. The next image is a more playful one: a brightly colored metallic lizard similar to designs found in the Modernisme architecture of Barcelona's turn of the century buildings. The final magnet captures Spain's musical spirit, with the guitar, sombrero and dancing shoes of the flamenco tradition.
Classical Guitar, and Flamenco Music Share the Stage on These Musical Magnets
While France and Italy may be most famous for their cuisines and Belgium for its beers, Spain is renown for its musical traditions. The mixture of Christian, Muslim, Gitano (Gypsy), Jewish and even New World rhythms creates a unique, captivating musical culture. The first fridge magnet depicts a playful Spanish guitar player wearing a broad-brimmed sombrero. The next magnet continues the guitar theme, but with a reference to Barcelona. The city is known for its musical festivals, including the Sónar and the Grec Festival. The city is also the center of the Catalan Music tradition. The next two magnets also feature guitars, but this time labeled with the more general "España" on them. Spain, of course, has a fine tradition of Classical Guitar, both accompanied by voice and on its own. The first magnet has the "España" logo on a scroll beneath the guitar and the second is written on the guitar itself. The final magnet of this section of the collection combines the classical acoustic guitar, castanets - also called finger cymbals - and flamenco dancing shoes. As both the shoes and the cymbals beat out the flamenco rhythm, all three can be considered musical instruments integral to the performance of true flamenco music.
These Magnets Come from the Central Meseta, the Heart of Ancient Spain
Tradition holds that the Spanish spirit was forged in the "Reconquista," when the Christians pushed the Muslims back and the central region of Castilla holds many castles from those wars. While modern Spaniards instead prefer to view their country as a diverse land that holds many cultures within it, the Meseta of Castilla and Leon still holds a particular attachment for many Spaniards and captivates many visitors with its dry, harsh beauty. Our first magnets come from the Christian capital during these wars: the city of Toledo. The first magnet shoes the Puerta de Bisagra, one of the surviving medieval fortifications. The city's impressive defenses continue into the second magnet, depicting the Alcazar - the central castle which at one time served as the royal court of Castilla. The other prominent building of the city, the Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, graces the third and last of the Toledo-themed magnets. However, the next magnet is from not far away, as it depicts the historic monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe, one of the most important and impressive in the country for centuries and the mother-monastery for the famous el Escorial royal monastery. The final magnet from this expanded collection depicts the Cibeles Monument in the heart of today's Spanish capital: the city of Madrid.
These Magnets Feature Two of the Gems of Castilla: the Cities of Salamanca and Segovia
Continuing our journey through central Spain, these souvenir fridge magnets show scenes from two famous Castillian cities: the university center of Salamanca and Segovia, rich in the remains of the Roman Empire. Our first magnet features the traditional entrance to Salamanca: the Roman bridge dating from the 1st Century AD, behind it rises the city's beautiful Romanesque Old Cathedral. The next magnet is a depiction of the Plaza Mayor, the central square of the city - notable for its symmetrical harmony and baroque style (not to mention its fine ice cream shops). However, few visit the city for it's Roman remains and fine plazas, instead usually for the topic of the following magnet: the University, founded in 1134 and the third oldest in the Western World. This magnificent institution has sat at the heart of Spanish, Catholic and European scholarship for centuries. While Roman ruins are only a sidelight in Salamanca, in Segovia the ancient Empire still seems to live because of its incredible achievement: the great Aqueduct of Segovia. Running right through the heart of the city, it is the center of tourism and the theme of many souvenirs, including our final magnet.
Castilla's Hidden Gems Are the Theme of These Magnets
The smaller towns and cities of Castilla hold much to offer the intrepid traveler to makes his or her way out to visit them and these magnets show scenes from a few of the best. The first image is from the town of Avila, the "City of Stones and Saints " and its legendary city walls. Remarkably intact, these fortifications date back to 1090 AD and run over two and a half kilometers. Within the city has one of the most remarkable collections of Medieval and Gothic buildings in Spain. After Avila we pass on to Burgos, and the magnet from this city depicts the facade of the Cathedral. Burgos was long the capital of Castilla and her Gothic cathedral is a remarkable building; today, its distinctiveness has allowed it to be recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the only Spanish cathedral to have this honor in its own right. The next magnet is from Santa Maria de Leon and shows this city's cathedral from the side. This building is known as the "House of Light" and is also a Gothic masterpiece; its main attraction (and the source of its name) are its incredible stained glass windows - over 1,800 square meters. The next magnet depicts a dramatic statue of two horses from La Jerez de la Frontera, the town that gave the world the beverage known as sherry. The horses represent the town's other claim to fame: it is home to the purebred Andalusian horses, a national treasure. The final magnet in this selection is from La Alberca, a small village and a historic landmark: it is a beautifully preserved medieval village with numerous churches, monasteries, shrines and hermitages surrounding it.
The Spanish Mediterranean Sun Shines Through in These Magnets From the Levante Region
The regions of Spain's eastern coast include Catalonia in the north, Valencia in the center, Murcia in the south and, out in the Mediterranean itself, the shining islands of the Baleares. We start in the north with a magnet to make you smile: an image of the Catalan Burro, an unlikely symbol of national pride. But the Catalan burro is one of the oldest breeds of donkey in the world and the origin of the North American donkey; recently it has become a symbol of Catalonia like the bull is a symbol of Castilla. Moving down from Barcelona we arrive at Catalonia's Costa Brava - "Brave Coast" - so named for its rugged, rocky shoreline. The second magnet shows the seaside town of Lloret de Mar and its famous castle clinging to a rock over the town. Continuing our coastal journey and leaving Catalonia behind, we enter the "Land of Valencia," with a magnet that depicts the capital city's three most famous monuments: the Torres de Serranos (part of the old city walls), the Cathedral and the
"Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències" ("City of Arts and Sciences"). The final one is perhaps the most remarkable: an incredible collection of hyper-modern museums and performances spaces in the bed of the old Turia River (long since diverted outside of the city). From here, our fridge magnet tour of Spain moves out to the Balearic Islands, and in particular the largest island of Majorca. Our first magnet shows the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma on Majorca, a Gothic cathedral completely renovated and redecorated by the famous Barcelonan architect Antoni Gaudi. The second magnet is a more playful, metalized image of the Catalan name for the island, "Mallorca", with the Ferro Windmill, an icon of the island, behind it. Our tour of the Levante is completed with a final magnet from the small Balearic island of Ibiza- similarly metalized with the name "Ibiza" and a lizard, an emblem of the island.
Spain's Sunny South: Andalusia Part One, Seville and Cordoba
The famous Spanish poet Garcia Lorca once famously wrote "Verde, Verde, Te Quiero Verde" ("Green, Green, I love you Green!") when writing about the landscape of Andalusia and the Muslim Moors of North Africa, upon invading, thought that they had found a land like the garden of Eden. Today Andalusia retains it beauty as any traveler to the cities of Seville or Cordoba and the lands surrounding them can tell you. The first magnet is from Seville and has its Spanish name "Sevilla" on it; it depicts the city's best known monument: the Tower of Gold, where the galleons carrying Aztect and Incan treasures unloaded their cargoes. It also has the main tower of the city's Cathedral. The second magnet features this same Cathedral tower directly along with the charming quiet streets of the city's Old Quarter. Crossing Andalusia's rich plains, we arrive at our next destination: Cordoba. The magnets from this city depict its claim to fame: gorgeous Moorish (Muslim North African) architecture. While many tourists visit the city's renown Mosque (now a Cathedral) - and World Wide Gifts has numerous souvenirs from this site - these new magnets depict another, lesser-known building: the Medina Azahara. This was the palace of the Caliph of Cordoba and is today a sprawling, ruined archaeological site. It has many architectural similarities to the Mosque, including the famous candy-cane stripped arches.
Spain's Sunny South: Andalusia Part Two, Granada and Cadiz
While Seville and Cordoba are often the focus of first-time visitors to Andalusia, two other ancient cities are just as beautiful, historic and enjoyable: Granada and Cadiz. Like in Cordoba, the attraction of Granada is primarily due to its Muslim roots. The Sultan of Granada's palace, the Alhambra, is justifiably renown around the world for its complex beauty and near-perfect design. The first magnet depicts the Alhambra as it looks from the city below it, framed on the skyline with the mountains rising behind it. The next magnet moves into the palace, for an image of its central courtyard, the Patio of Lions with its distinctive fountain at the center. It was the beauty of courtyards like this that inspired Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra. The final magnet combines the images of the earlier two: with the Patio of Lions in the foreground and the outline of the palace behind it. From here we move down to the coast to the city of Cadiz, the oldest city in southwestern Europe, originally founded by the ancient Phoenicians. Our first magnet shows the city's Gran Teatro Fallo, a prominent theater in the heart of the city build int he 19th century but inspired by the Moorish architecture of buildings like the Alhambra. Our final magnet show the skyline of Cadiz from the water - Cadiz has always been a port-town first and foremost and is today the center of the Spanish Navy.
Andalusia Without All the History: The Legendary Costa del Sol
Of course, vacations are not all about ancient palaces, ruins and mosques but also about relaxation, endless golden beaches and all-important sun tans. There are few better places on the globe to enjoy that kind of vacation than Spain's Costa de Sol (the aptly named "Sun Coast"). The first magnet depicts the former fishing town of Nerja, today a summer resort popular with boaters (as you can see from the image of the sailing ship) and sun-lovers. The second is from the town of Mijas, home to golfing resorts, picturesque villages and, as we can see on the magnet: burros. Tourists can enjoy a ride on a burro taxi from the towns most famous residents or simply pick up a souvenir magnet. Finally, we come to a magnet showing the seaside town of Malaga, the largest city on the Costa del Sol. It shows the town's harbor and lovely beachfront properties.
Barcelona's Beautiful Modern Buildings Are Featured in These Fridge Magnets
Spain's second city is Barcelona, the capital of the region of Catalonia and the gem of the Spanish Mediterranean. Our first magnet shows four of the cities iconic images, common on many tourist souvenirs: the Pedrera housing complex, the Drac (Dragon) Statue in Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia basilica as well as the Agbar Tower. The first three are all products of the aesthetic genius of Barcelona's most famous architect: Antoni Gaudi, who worked in the late 19th century in an Art Nouveau-like style called Modernisme who incorporated sinuous, organic motifs into buildings. The Agbar Tower (Torre Agbar) is a more recent addition, the rainbow-colored tower was opened in 2005. The next two magnets continue the theme of featuring a number of prominent buildings because it is a city known for its architectural genius. The first shows the two great churches of Barcelona: on the left is the Cathedral, an impressive Gothic building off the Ramblas, and on the right is the much newer Sagrada Familia - famous (amongst other things) for having the only Cubist church facade in the world. In the center is a monument to Christopher Colombus. The third magnet also depicts the Colombus monument and the Sagrada Familia, though here they are joined by Torre Agbar and some of Gaudi's most famous works: the Drac, the Pedrera House and Casa Batlo. The fourth magnet shows only the facade of the Sagrada Familia set on a mosaic-style background of a setting sun. We move away from buildings with our last few Barcelonan magnets to other parts of Catalan culture. The first magnet depicts a jamon serrano - a leg of salt-cured ham popular thoughout Spain and integral to Catalan cooking. We then have a picture of three traditional elements of Flamenco dance: the wide brimmed man's hat, acoustic guitar and colorful dancing shoe. The last two magnets also feature Flamenco shoes, though they are three dimensional (in the case of the first shoe) and semi-three dimension (in the case of the second).
This Magnet From the Basque Country Shows San Sebastian
Along with Catalonia, one of the most distinctive areas of Spain is the Basque Country, with its own unique language, Basque. This magnet shows the harbor of San Sebastian, one of the north-coast's more beautiful towns. Often known by its Basque name "Donostia," today it plays host to the Guggenheim museum.
Life and Death, Man and Beast Perform in the Ancient Spectacle of the Bullfight
The Bullfight is one of Spain's most spectacular (and controversial) traditions. The figure of both the Bullfighter (or "Torero") and the bull (or "toro") have become integral parts of Spanish culture and identity as we all internationally known symbols of the nation. They are also perennial favorite themes for souvenirs. World Wide Gifts is pleased to announce a large expansion of its collection of bull and bull-fighting themed resin fridge magnets. The first three magnets show bulls themselves: the first has a wide grin, and the second appears to be made of a broken-tile mosaic, and the final is a "torito," a mini-magnet. These magnets are followed by ones show the toreros in their colorful traditional outfits. The first reads "Espana" and the second has a blank space where you can fill in your favorite Spanish destination. The third and fourth show bullfights in various poses with their famous red capes. Next comes a more humorous look at bullfighting with a bull wearing a torero's outfit, though we might doubt his dexterity with his great pot-belly! Our final bullfighting themed magnet is a more traditional design: a torero locked in his deadly dance with a bull.
The Soul of Southern Spain Can Be Felt in the Flamenco
Along with bullfighting, one of the most famous Spanish traditions is the Flamenco Dance. While Flamenco originated in the southern region of Andalusia, today it is practiced throughout Spain and is an emblem of the national tradition. This collection is our one-stop shop for images of flamenco dancer fridge magnets, serious and humorous. Our first five magnets depict flamenco dancers in their traditional polka-dotted dresses and peineta, or large decorative hair comb. The fifth continues the same theme, but humorously with a cow in a woman's dress. The next two magnets are of dancers and are made of particularly high quality, with great attention to detail and beauty of design. The eighth and ninth magnets are of similarly high quality but expand the dance to include the male dancer along with his female companion. In the next two images, which also has a flamenco dancer, the woman can be seen using castanets - or "finger cymbals" - which, along with the woman's shoes, accompany the flamenco guitar. In the twelfth image, the dancer does not use castanets but instead the traditional fan. The final two magnets show groups dancing: the thirteenth with two women and a man in a traditional dance hall and the last one a cute dancing couple.