Spain is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status as an economic, financial, administrative and service centre, with a large cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history.
The largest part of the territory is located in the Iberian Peninsula, the remainder, approximately 12,500 square kilometres, are islands, -Balearics and the Canary Islands- plus 32 square kilometres that are accounted for by the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, situated on the coast of Africa. The situation of the Iberian Peninsula in the extreme south west of Europe and only 14 kilometres away from the African continent, endows Spain with a great strategic value: projecting into the Mediterranean on one side and acting as an intersection on the path to Africa and America on the other. The fact that a large part of Spain is peninsular also explains the length of its coastline, which runs along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. As a result of its position, between 36 and 43 degrees North latitude, the climate ranges from the mild oceanic climate in the North, to the continental Mediterranean in the centre and the Mediterranean in the East and South, factors which combine to create a wet Spain in the North and mountainous areas, green Spain with luxuriant forests and a dry Spain in the Mediterranean.
Spain has a very extensive network of libraries and museums throughout the Spanish territory where some of the most valuable cultural and world art treasures are held.
The most important library is the National Library in Madrid, inaugurated in 1712. There are 25 million items in its collection, of which many are unique, singular, ancient and incunabular books. It also holds an extraordinary collection of recordings and manuscripts.
This also applies to the museums. In Spain there are over 1.400 museums and graphic museum collections. The most famous museum of all is the Museo del Prado, although there are many more that offer immeasurable heritage value.
During the last four decades the Spanish tourism industry has grown to become the second biggest in the world. Today, the climate of Spain, historical and cultural monuments and its geographic position together with its facilities make tourism one of Spain's main national industries and a large source of stable employment and development.