Barcelona Travel Guide, Spain
In a privileged position on the northeastern coast of the Iberian peninsula and the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain in both size and population. It is also the capital of Catalonia, 1 of the 17 Autonomous Communities that make up Spain.
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, dry winters and warm, humid summers. January and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of 10 °C (50 °F). Snowfalls are so rare that they are remembered as special events. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F). The highest recorded maximum temperature in the city itself is 38.6 °C.
There are two official languages spoken in Barcelona: Catalan, generally spoken in all of Catalonia, and Castillian Spanish. The city of Barcelona has a population of 1,605,602 in 2006, but this number spirals to more than 4.000.000 if the outlying areas are also included.
As the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona houses the seat of the Catalan government, known as the Generalitat de Catalunya; of particular note are the executive branch, the parliament and the Supreme Court of Catalonia. The city is also the capital of the county (comarca) of the Barcelonès.
The capital of Catalonia is unequivocally a Mediterranean city, not only because of its geographic location but also and above all because of its history, tradition and cultural influences. The documented history of the city dates back to the founding of a Roman colony on its soil in the second century B.C.
The foundation of Barcelona is the subject of two different legends. The first attributes the founding of the city to Hercules 400 years before the building of Rome, and that it was rebuilt by the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino after his family, in the 3rd century BC. The second legend attributes the foundation directly to Hamilcar Barca.
Modern Barcelona experienced spectacular growth and economic revival at the onset of industrialization during the second half of the 19th century. The 1888 World's Fair became a symbol of the capacity for hard work and the international outlook projected by the city. Culture and the arts flourished in Barcelona and in all of Catalonia; the splendor achieved by Catalonian modernism is one of the most patent displays.
Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination and has a rich cultural heritage. Particularly renowned are architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner that have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city became even more popular when the 1992 Olympics were held here. The Olympic Games helped the city revitalize and since then lots of improvements have been made like restoring and modernizing Port Vell.
But Barcelona was well known even before the Olympic Games and its best ambassador is Antoní Gaudi whose works can be seen around the city. The architecture you can see around is impressive and there are many places where you just stop and wander at their beauty. Among them we can mention Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, La Seu cathedral, Palau de la Música Catalana, The Guëll park and many other.
It is impossible not to be impressed by this city that beautifully blends old and modern architecture, the Collserola hills with the 4,000-acre sea port, Spaniards with immigrants, a mix that came out quite unique just like a painter mixes colors hoping to get the best combination. But the city is in constant change and all for the best.
Gaudi’s admirers will find Barcelona the perfect place to study his works and they can start with Sagrada Familia his unfinished masterpiece, an attraction that impress both connoisseurs’ and those who don’t know much about art. The church’s construction began in 1882 and it is thought to continue for some good years on as it is still not finished. It is a grand design that had as the main architect Antoni Gaudí who started working on it since he was 31. When he died only a part of it was finished and it was difficult for the followers to continue with his ideas. Now construction is advancing bit by bit and when it will be finished it will be one of the most impressive churches in Europe. Gaudi is buried here and watches over the construction of his beloved church. There is a museum where you can find out about the artist’s life and about his creation.
There is another church that is finished and you can visit. It is called La Seu, a gothic cathedral named after Santa Creu.
But Sagrada Familia is not Gaudi’s only masterpiece. There is Casa Milà also known as La Pedrera, a building he worked on before Sagrada Familia.
After you prayed a bit in one of these churches you can start your journey through Barcelona on one of the most famous street called La Rambla that goes from Plaça de Catalunya to Monument a Colom. All important shops are here and it is a pleasure to walk along it.
Another very interesting and I would say unique attraction is the The Guëll park. You would be surprised by what you will see here as it has a design like no other parks. Antonio Gaudi had something to do with the design as he designed the main staircase, so you must expect the extraordinary and the surrealistic. There is a more ordinary park called Parc de la Ciutadella that offers good entertainment and relaxation opportunities having a zoo, some museums and lake.
The Plaça de Catalunya is Barcelona's busiest square, a place of gathering and spending time with friends while admiring the beautiful buildings around.
And if you think that what you have seen in Barcelona in terms of architecture is not enough you don’t have to go far as all the Spanish architecture has a sample in the Spanish Village or The Poble Espanyol built on the Montjuic hill. You can see 116 different architectural styles from all major regions in Spain.
But architecture is not all, Barcelona is at the top with all innovations and keeps itself at pace with everything that is modern.A city of contrasts, Barcelona will always be Europe’s favorite destination.
Things about Barcelona you may be interested in
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Read our members' reviews about Barcelona
- Best Hotel Accommodation
review by luciaubeda posted more then 30 days ago
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite...
- Tips for Barcelona visitors
review by compvend posted more then 30 days ago
I had really good time at Barcelona, it is an amazing city with such much things to do. Me and friends went to a hostel called Barcelona Sound (nou de la rambla 91 - http://www.barcelonasoundhostel.com/). The particularity is that we rent each other one bed for 16 euros but since we were 4, we...
- About Spanish cuisine
review by lindamura posted more then 30 days ago
Spain- cuisine Spain is a country whose inhabitants love culture, art but where cuisine is a form of art too. Spain offers a wide variety of dishes and tastes and you can find restaurants of high quality where a meal is a unique experience and where you can always try new tastes and combinations...
Read our members' travel tips about Barcelona
- Monument a Colon
travel tip by zsoldicsa posted more then 30 days ago
The Monument a Colon was built in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition. As its name suggests, the monument was raised to commemorate the discovery of America and the discoverer, Christopher Columbus. It is located right at the end of las...
- La Sagrada Familia
travel tip by crippity posted more then 30 days ago
This is Antoni Gaudi's finest creation. It's an epic church topped with 4 spires ascending to the heavens. Despite still being under construction, it's still very 'visit worthy'. Well, ask the 2+ million people that visit there per...
- Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Arts
travel tip by erato posted more then 30 days ago
While visiting Barcelona one cannot miss the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Arts. The building fits perfectly into the modern image of the city. The museum features the works of Spanish, Catalonian and international artists and has a...
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