Barcelona, Spain: Wikis

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Barcelona article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  City  —


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Ciutat Comtal (City of Counts),
Barcelona is located in Catalonia
Location in Catalonia
Barcelona is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 41°23′N 2°11′E / 41.383°N 2.183°E / 41.383; 2.183Coordinates: 41°23′N 2°11′E / 41.383°N 2.183°E / 41.383; 2.183
Country  Spain
Autonomous Community  Catalonia
Province Barcelona
Comarca Barcelonès
 - Mayor Jordi Hereu i Boher (PSC)
 - City 101.4 km2 (39.2 sq mi)
Elevation (AMSL) 12 m (39 ft)
Population (2008)
 - City 1,673,075
 Density 16,499.8/km2 (42,734.2/sq mi)
 Metro 4,150,000
Population rank 2
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 08001–08080
Area code(s) +34 (Spain) + 93 (Barcelona)
Administrative Divisions 10
Website Official website

Barcelona (Catalan pronunciation: [bəɾsəˈlonə], Spanish: [baɾθeˈlona]) is the capital and the most populous city of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, with a population of 1,615,908 in 2008. It is the 11th-most populous municipality in the European Union and sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Rhine-Ruhr Area, Madrid and Milan, with a population of 4,185,000.[1] 5 million[2][3][4] people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. The main part of a union of adjacent cities and municipalities named Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) with a population of 3,186,461 in area of 636 km² (density 5.010 hab/km²).

It is located on the Mediterranean coast (41°23′N 2°11′E / 41.383°N 2.183°E / 41.383; 2.183) between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs and is bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (512 m/1,680 ft).

Barcelona is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts and international trade.[5][6] Barcelona is a major economic centre with one of Europe's principal Mediterranean ports, and Barcelona International Airport is the second largest in Spain after the Madrid-Barajas Airport (handles about 30 million passengers per year). Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the Counts of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, it became one of the most important cities of the Crown of Aragon. 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 is well known in recent times for the 1992 Summer Olympics. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean are located in Barcelona.

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 Province of Barcelona and the Barcelonès comarca (shire).



The name Barcelona comes from the ancient Iberian Phoenician Barkeno, attested in an ancient coin inscription in Iberian script as Barkeno in Levantine Iberian script,[7] in Greek sources as Varkinòn, Βαρκινών;[8] and in Latin as Barcino, Barcelo[9] and Barceno.[10]

During the Middle Ages, the city was variously known as Barchinona, Barçalona, Barchelona, and Barchenona.


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 thus the name Βαρκινών; . The second legend attributes the foundation of the city directly to the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino after his family, in the 3rd century BC.[11]

About 15 BC, the Romans redrew the town as a castrum (Roman military camp) centred on the "Mons Taber", a little hill near the contemporary city hall (Plaça de Sant Jaume). Under the Romans, it was a colony with the surname of Faventia,[12] or, in full, Colonia Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino[13] or Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino. Mela[14] mentions it among the small towns of the district, probably as it was eclipsed by its neighbour Tarraco (modern Tarragona); but it may be gathered from later writers that it gradually grew in wealth and consequence, favoured as it was with a beautiful situation and an excellent harbour.[15] It enjoyed immunity from imperial burdens.[16] The city minted its own coins; some from the era of Galba survive.

Some important Roman ruins are exposed under the Plaça del Rei, entrance by the city museum (Museu d'Història de la Ciutat), and the typically Roman grid-planning is still visible today in the layout of the historical centre, the Barri Gòtic ("Gothic Quarter"). Some remaining fragments of the Roman walls have been incorporated into the cathedral.[17] The cathedral, also known as basilica La Seu is said to have been founded in 343. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the early fifth century, by the Moors in the early eighth century, reconquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis who made Barcelona the seat of Carolingian "Spanish Marches" (Marca Hispanica), a buffer zone ruled by the Count of Barcelona.

The Counts of Barcelona became increasingly independent and expanded their territory to include all of Catalonia. In 1137, Aragon and the County of Barcelona merged by dynastic union[18][19] by the marriage of Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla of Aragon and their titles were finally borne by only one person when their son Alfonso II of Aragon ascended to the throne in 1162. His territories were later to be known as the Crown of Aragon which conquered many overseas possessions, ruling the western Mediterranean Sea with outlying territories in Naples and Sicily and as far as Athens in the thirteenth century. The forging of a dynastic link between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile marked the beginning of Barcelona's decline.

The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1469 united the two royal lines. The centre of political power became Madrid and the colonisation of the Americas reduced the financial importance (at least in relative terms) of Mediterranean trade. Barcelona was always the stronghold of Catalan separatism and was the center of the Catalan Revolt (1640–52) against Philip IV of Spain. The great plague of 1650-1654 had halved the city's population.[20] The Napoleonic wars left the province ravaged, but the postwar period saw the start of industrialization.

The resistance of Barcelona to Franco's coup d'état was to have lasting effects after the defeat of the Republican government. The autonomous institutions of Catalonia were abolished[21] and the use of the Catalan language in public life was suppressed. Barcelona remained the second largest city in Spain, at the heart of a region which was relatively industrialised and prosperous, despite the devastation of the civil war. The result was a large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain (particularly Andalucia, Murcia and Galicia), which in turn led to rapid urbanisation. Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992, which helped revitalize the city.[22]

A panoramic view of Barcelona (click to enlarge)


Barcelona from space

Barcelona is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea, on a plateau approximately 5 km (3 mi) wide limited by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat river to the south-west and the Besòs river to the north.[23] This plateau has 170 km2 (66 sq mi),[23] of which 101 km² (38.9 sq mi)[24] are occupied by the city itself. It is 160 km (100 mi) south of the Pyrenees and the Catalonian border with France.

Collserola, part of the coastal mountain range, shelters the city to the north-west. Its highest point, the peak of Tibidabo, 512 m (1,680 ft) high, offers striking views over the city[25] and is topped by the 288.4 m (946.2 ft) Torre de Collserola, a telecommunications tower that is visible from most of the city. Barcelona is peppered with small hills, most of them urbanized and that gave their name to the neighbourhoods built upon them, such as Carmel (267 m), Putxet (181 m) and Rovira (261 m). The escarpment of Montjuïc (173 m), situated to the southeast, overlooks the harbour and is topped by Montjuïc castle, a fortress built in the 17–18th centuries to control the city as a replacement for the Ciutadella. Today, the fortress is a museum and Montjuïc is home to several sporting and cultural venues, as well as Barcelona's biggest park and gardens.

The city borders are the municipalities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Sant Adrià de Besòs to the north; L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and Esplugues de Llobregat to the south; the Mediterranean Sea to the east; and Montcada i Reixac and Sant Cugat del Vallès to the west.


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: [26]

Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate,[27] with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Barcelona is located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, so Atlantic west winds often arrive in Barcelona with low humidity, producing no rain. The proximity of the Atlantic, its latitude, and the relief, are the reasons why the summers are not as dry as in most other Mediterranean Basin locations. Lows (not surface lows but high-atmospheric "cold invasions") can easily affect the area of Barcelona (and Catalonia), causing storms, particularly in August. Some years, the beginning of June is still cool and rainy, like April and May. Together with August, September, October and November these months are the wettest of the year. The driest are February, March, June and July. As in many parts of Catalonia, the annual weather pattern varies greatly from year to year.[28]

So, on average, the rainy seasons are spring and autumn, and the dry ones are winter and summer. The order from wettest to driest is: AUT-SPR-WIN-SUM. The Western Mediterranean Climate is one of the most irregular climates in the world. For instance, one year October can be very dry and July or February wet months. Barcelona and London have the same annual rainfall, but London's climate is not as irregular and torrential as Barcelona's.

As for temperatures, December, January and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of 9 °C (48 °F) at the Airport and over 10 °C (50 °F) in the city. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of 24 °C (75 °F). The highest temperature recorded in the city centre is 38.6 °C (101.5 °F).[29] The coldest temperature recorded was −6.7 °C (19.9 °F) on 11 February 1956 and −5 °C (23 °F) on 12 January 1985. However, in the 19th century −9.6 °C (14.7 °F) was recorded in January 1896.

At the Fabra Observatory, situated on the Tibidabo hill, 412 m (1,351.71 ft) above the sea level, the record summer temperature is 39.8 °C (104 °F) [30] on 7 July 1982, and the lowest temperature ever registered, -10.0 °C (50 °F) on 11 February 1956. Near the hills and the Airport annual rainfall reaches 650 mm, and in the city centre about 600 mm.

Climate data for Barcelona
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.9
Average low °C (°F) 4.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 41
Avg. precipitation days 6 5 6 7 7 6 3 6 6 8 6 6 72
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[31]

Snow[32] falls are common but frost is common on some nights on the outskirts very rarely in the center . Snowfalls[33] seldom cause any disruption to traffic. Nonetheless, the city has experienced its share of heavy snowfalls, as for example at Christmas 1962,[34] when a true blizzard affected the city, with 50 cm of snow falling in the city and at least 1 metre on the hills. But, according to old news sources, the greatest snowfall took place in 1887, with over 50 cm. The third heaviest snowfall was in December 1933, with 30 cm on Montjuïc hill. The most recent ones were on 8 March 2010, 6 January 2009, 27 January 2006, 28 February 2005, 29 February 2004, 18 February 2003 and 14 December 2001 and, finally, the most exceptional snow storms such as the sooner of the history, the 21st November 1999 [](the only time in which has snowed so soon in at least 3 centuries) and the big storm of snow of the last 8th of march 2010 when the city rested two days with a huge disruption because the fall of at least 10 cm (3.94 in) of wet snow across the entire city.

Thunderstorms, which occasionally reach severe limits, are common from mid August until November. The most recent big heavy summer storm was on the 31 July 2002,[35] when over 200 mm of rain were recorded at some observatories.

Though Barcelona is normally not a windy city, it is affected by sea breezes from May/June to September and winds from the west and north-west in winter. Eastern gales sometimes cause floods on the coastline. East and NE winds can exceed 100 km/h. In winter Barcelona is sometimes affected by the tramontana or mistral winds—like other places in the Northwestern Mediterranean Basin.

Barcelona is generally a sunny city, however, some days of fog and spells of cloudy days are not rare. Sea fog is frequent in early spring, when the first warm African air masses come in over the cold sea water. Cloudy days are most frequent from April to October/November.



The entrance to Gaudí's "Park Güell"

Barcelona contains 68 municipal parks, divided into 12 historic parks, 5 thematic (botanical) parks, 45 urban parks and 6 forest parks.[36] They range from vest-pocket parks to large recreation areas. The urban parks alone cover 10% of the city (549.7 ha/1,358.3 acres).[24] The total park surface grows about 10 ha (25 acres) per year,[37] with a proportion of 18.1 square metres (195 sq ft) of park area per inhabitant.[38]

Of Barcelona's parks, Montjuïc is the largest, with 203 ha located on the mountain of the same name.[24] It is followed by Ciutadella Park (situated in the place of the old military citadel and which houses the Parliament building, the zoo and several museums; 31 ha/76.6 acres including the zoo), the Guinardó Park (19 ha/47.0 acres), Park Güell (designed by Antoni Gaudí; 17.2 ha/42.5 acres), Oreneta Castle Park (also 17.2 ha/42.5 acres), Diagonal Mar Park (13.3 ha/32.9 acres, inaugurated in 2002), Nou Barris Central Park (13.2 ha/32.6 acres), Can Dragó Sports Park and Poblenou Park (both 11.9 ha/29.4 acres) and the Labyrinth Park (9.10 ha/22.5 acres), named after the garden maze it contains.[24] A part of the Collserolla Park is also within the city limits.


Barceloneta beach

Barcelona has seven beaches, totalling 4.5 km (2.8 mi) of coastline. Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches, both 1,100 m (3,610 ft) in length,[24] are the largest, oldest and the most frequented beaches in Barcelona. The Olympic port separates them from the other city beaches: Nova Icària, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and Llevant. These beaches (ranging from 400 to 640 m/1,300 to 2,100 ft) were opened as a result of the city restructuring to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, when a great number of industrial buildings were demolished. At present, the beach sand is replenished from quarries given that storms regularly remove large quantities of material. The 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures left the city a large concrete bathing zone on the eastmost part of the city's coastline.


Plaça Catalunya

The area around the Plaça Catalunya makes up the city's historical centre and, alongside the upper half of Avinguda Diagonal, is the main commercial area of the city. Barcelona has several commercial complexes, like L'Illa in the higher part of the Diagonal avenue and Diagonal Mar in the lowest, La Maquinista, Glòries in the place of the same name and the Maremagnum by the port.

Barcelona has several skyscrapers, the tallest being the Hotel Arts and its twin the Torre Mapfre, both 154 m (505 ft) high, followed by the newest, Torre Agbar 144 m (472 ft). Barcelona is conveniently situated at just 125 km from the ski resorts of the Pyrenées. The skyline of the city is decorated in winter by the summit (1,712 m (5,616.80 ft) high) of the Montseny mountain, normally covered by snow.


Demographic evolution, 1900–2007, according to the Spanish Instituto Nacional de Estadística

According to Barcelona's City Council, Barcelona's population as of 1 June 2006 was 1,673,075 people,[39] while the population of the urban area was 4,185,000. It is the central nucleus of the Barcelona metropolitan area, which relies on a population of 4,992,193.[4]

The population density of Barcelona was 15,779 inhabitants per square kilometer (40,867/sq mi),[40] with Eixample being the most populated district. 62% of the inhabitants were born in Catalonia, with a 23.5% coming from the rest of Spain. Of the 13.9% from other countries, a proportion which has more than tripled since 2001 when it was 3.9%,[24] the majority come from (in order) Ecuador, Peru, Morocco, Colombia, Argentina, Pakistan and China.[41]

As the national language, Spanish is understood almost universally in Barcelona. 95% of the population understand Catalonia's native Catalan language, while 74.6% can speak it, 75% can read it, and 47.1% can write it,[42] thanks to the linguistic immersion educational system. While most of the population state they are Roman Catholic (208 churches), there are also a number of other groups, including Evangelical (71 locations, mostly professed by Roma), Jehovah's Witnesses (21 Kingdom Halls) and Buddhists (13 locations),[43] and a number of Muslims due to immigration.

In 1900, Barcelona had a population of 533,000 people,[23] which grew steadily but slowly until 1950, when it started absorbing a high number of people from other less-industrialized parts of Spain. Barcelona's population peaked in 1979 with 1,906,998 people, and fell throughout the 1980s and 1990s as more people sought a higher quality of life in outlying cities in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. After bottoming out in 2000 with 1,496,266 people, the city's population began to rise again as younger people started to return, causing a great increase in housing prices.[44]


Barcelona Business Centre
Area south of the park's Diagonal Mar, with some tall buildings as the illa llum (1), with 88 m (288.71 ft) tall.

Barcelona has a long-standing mercantile tradition. Less well known is that the region was one of the earliest to begin industrialization in continental Europe, beginning with textile related works from the mid 1780s but really gathering momentum in the mid nineteenth century, when it became a major centre for the production of textiles and machinery. Since then, manufacturing has played a large role in its history. The traditional importance in textiles is reflected in Barcelona's repeated attempts to become a major fashion centre. In summer 2000, the city became a host for the prestigious Bread & Butter urban fashion fair until 2009 when it was announced that it would be celebrated again on Berlin.[45][46] This was a hard blow for the city as the fair brought €100 m to the city in just three days.[47] There have been many attempts to launch Barcelona as a fashion capital, notably Gaudi Home.

Montjuic Plaça Espanya
Hotel Vela, Barcelona.

As in other modern cities, the manufacturing sector has long since been overtaken by the services sector, though it remains very important. The region's leading industries today are textiles, chemical, pharmaceutical, motor, electronic, printing, logistics, publishing, telecommunications and information technology services.

Drawing upon its tradition of creative art and craftsmanship, Barcelona is nowadays also known for its award-winning industrial design. It also has several congress halls, notably Fira de Barcelona (Trade Fair), that host a quickly growing number of national and international events each year, which had also meant the opening of new hotels each year. However, the economic crisis and deep cuts in business travel are affecting the Council´s positioning of the city as a convention centre.[48] In addition to the economic downturn, the recent mafia-style killing of the director of the city's International Convention Centre and the revelation in El Periódico newspaper of Thursday 12 February 2009 that the Bombay attacks were planned from Barcelona may only worsen matters.[citation needed] El Periódico pointed out that Barcelona´s International Convention Centre and its biggest luxury hotels are all near the waterfront and thus provide a tempting target.

Barcelona has one of the highest costs of living in Spain, and occupying the 31st position in the world rank according to a report by Mercer Human Resource.

Government and administrative divisions

Barcelona is governed by a city council formed by 41 city councilors, elected for a four-year term by universal suffrage. As one of the two biggest cities in Spain, Barcelona is subject to a special law articulated through the Carta Municipal (Municipal Law). A first version of this law was passed in 1960 and amended later, but the current version was approved in March 2006.[49] According to this law, Barcelona's city council is organized in two levels: a political one, with elected city councilors, and one executive, which administrates the programs and executes the decisions taken on the political level.[50] This law also gives the local government a special relationship with the central government and it also gives the mayor wider prerogatives by the means of municipal executive commissions.[51] It expands the powers of the city council in areas like telecommunications, city traffic, road safety and public safety. It also gives a special economic regime to the city's treasury and it gives the council a veto in matters that will be decided by the central government, but that will need a favourable report from the council.[49]

The Comissió de Govern (Government Commission) is the executive branch, formed by 24 councilors, led by the Mayor, with 5 lieutenant-mayors and 17 city councilors, each in charge of an area of government, and 5 non-elected councilors.[52] The plenary, formed by the 41 city councilors, has advisory, planning, regulatory, and fiscal executive functions.[53] The six Commissions del Consell Municipal (City council commissions) have executive and controlling functions in the field of their jurisdiction. They are composed by a number of councilors proportional to the number of councilors each political party has in the plenary.[54] The city council has jurisdiction in the fields of city planning, transportation, municipal taxes, public highways security through the Guardia Urbana (the municipal police), city maintenance, gardens, parks and environment, facilities (like schools, nurseries, sports centres, libraries, etc.), culture, sports, youth and social welfare. Some of these competencies are not exclusive, but shared with the Generalitat de Catalunya or the central Spanish government.

The executive branch is led by a Chief Municipal Executive Officer which answers to the Mayor. It is made up of departments which are legally part of the city council and by separate legal entities of two tipes: autonomous public departments and public enterprises.[55]

The seat of the city council is on the Plaça Sant Jaume, opposite the seat of Generalitat de Catalunya. Since the coming of the Spanish democracy, Barcelona has been governed by the PSC, first with an absolute majority and later in coalition with ERC and ICV. Since the May 2007 elections, PSC is governing in minority only with IC, since ERC decided against a renewal of the previous coalition. The second most voted party in Barcelona is CiU, followed by PP, both currently in the opposition.


Since 1987, the city has been divided into 10 administrative districts (districtes in Catalan, distritos in Spanish), each one with its own council led by a city councillor. The composition of each district council depends on the number of votes each political party had in that district, so a district can be led by a councillor from a different party than the executive council.

The districts are based mostly on historical divisions. Several of the city's districts are former towns annexed by the city of Barcelona in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that still maintain their own distinct character. The official names of these districts are in the Catalan language.


Districts of Barcelona
  • Ciutat Vella ("Old City"): El Raval (also known in Spanish as the Barrio Chino, ("Chinatown"), the Barri Gòtic ("Gothic Quarter"), La Barceloneta and the Barri de la Ribera.
  • Eixample: Sant Antoni, Esquerra de l'Eixample ("the left side of the Eixample" facing away from the sea), Dreta de l'Eixample ("the right side of the Eixample"), Barri de la Sagrada Família, Fort Pienc, Sant Antoni
  • SantsMontjuïc: Poble Sec, La Marina, La Font de La Guatlla, La Bordeta, Hostafrancs, Sants, Badal.
  • Les Corts: Les Corts, La Maternitat, Pedralbes.
  • Sarrià-Sant Gervasi: Tres Torres, Sarrià, Vallvidrera, Bonanova, Sant Gervasi, Putxet-Farró, Galvany.
  • Gràcia: Vallcarca, El Coll, La Salut, Gràcia, El Camp d'en Grassot
  • Horta-Guinardó: Horta, El Carmel, La Teixonera, El Guinardó (Alt i Baix), La Clota, La Vall D'Hebron, Montbau
  • Nou Barris: Can Peguera, Porta, Canyelles, Ciutat Meridiana, Guineueta, Prosperitat, Vallbona, Verdum, Vilapicina, Roquetes, Trinitat Nova, Torre Baró, Torre Llobeta and Turó de la Peira.
  • Sant Andreu: La Sagrera, Congrés, Trinitat Vella, Bon Pastor, Sant Andreu, Navas, Baró de Viver
  • Sant Martí: Diagonal Mar, Fort Pius, San Martí de Provençals, Poble Nou, La Verneda, El Clot, Vila Olímpica del Poblenou.


Barcelona from the air looking East. At the back we can see the Mediterranean Sea.

Barcelona has a well-developed higher education system of public universities. Most prominent among these is the University of Barcelona, a world-renowned research and teaching institution with campuses around the city. Barcelona is also home to the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the newer Pompeu Fabra University and, in the private sector, the Ramon Llull University encompassing internationally renowned institutions like IESE Business School and ESADE Business School. The Autonomous University of Barcelona, another public university, is located in Bellaterra, a town in the Metropolitan Area.

The city has a network of public schools, from nurseries to high schools, under the responsibility of the city council (though the student subjects are the responsibility of the Generalitat de Catalunya). There are also many private schools, some of them Roman Catholic. Like other cities in Spain, Barcelona now faces the integration of a large number of immigrant children from Latin America, Africa and Asia.


In La Rambla, famous for its living statues
The façade of the Liceu, viewed from La Rambla

Barcelona's cultural roots go back 2000 years. To a greater extent than the rest of Catalonia, where Catalonia's native Catalan is more dominant, Barcelona is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken. The Catalan spoken in Barcelona, Central Catalan, is the one closest to standard Catalan. Since the arrival of democracy, the Catalan culture (very much repressed during the dictatorship of Franco) has been promoted, both by recovering works from the past and by stimulating the creation of new works. Barcelona is designated as a world-class city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.[56]

Entertainment and performing arts

Barcelona has many venues for live music and theatre, including the world-renowned Gran Teatre del Liceu opera theatre, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, the Teatre Lliure and the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall. Barcelona also is home to the Barcelona and Catalonia National Symphonic Orchestra (Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, usually known as OBC), the largest symphonic orchestra in Catalonia. In 1999, the OBC inaugurated its new venue in the brand-new Auditorium (l'Auditori). It performs around 75 concerts per season and its current director is Eiji Oue.[57]

Yearly two major pop music festivals take place in the city, the Sónar Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival. The city also has a thriving alternative music scene, with groups such as The Pinker Tones receiving international attention.[58]


Barcelona has a great number of museums, which cover different areas and eras. The National Museum of Art of Catalonia possesses a well-known collection of Romanesque art while the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art focuses on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art. The Fundació Joan Miró, Picasso Museum and Fundació Antoni Tàpies hold important collections of these world-renowned artists.

Several museums cover the fields of history and archeology, like the City History Museum, the Museum of the History of Catalonia, the Archeology Museum of Catalonia, the Barcelona Maritime Museum and the private-owned Egyptian Museum. The Erotic museum of Barcelona is among the most peculiar ones, while Cosmocaixa is a science museum that received the European Museum of the Year Award in 2006.

Several museums offer free entry on the first Saturday or first Sunday of each month.


The La Sagrada Família church, Gaudi's masterpiece

The Barri Gòtic ("Gothic Quarter" in Catalan) is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. Many of the buildings date from medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. Catalan modernisme architecture (often known as Art Nouveau in the rest of Europe), developed between 1885 and 1950 and left an important legacy in Barcelona. A great number of these buildings are World Heritage Sites. Especially remarkable is the work of architect Antoni Gaudí, which can be seen throughout the city. His best known work is the immense but still unfinished church of the Sagrada Família, which has been under construction since 1882, and is still financed by private donations. As of 2007, completion is planned for 2026.

Barcelona is also home to Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion. Designed in 1929 for the International Exposition for Germany. It is an iconic building designed by one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.

Barcelona won the 1999 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for its architecture,[59] the first (and as of 2009, only) time that the winner has been a city, and not an individual architect.

World Heritage Sites in Barcelona


El Periódico de Catalunya (Catalan and Spanish editions) and La Vanguardia (Spanish) are Barcelona's two major daily newspapers while Sport and El Mundo Deportivo (both in Spanish) are the city's two major sports daily newspapers, published by the same companies. The city is also served by a number of smaller publications such as Avui and El Punt (both in Catalan), by nation-wide newspapers with special Barcelona editions like El Pais and El Mundo (both in Spanish), and by several free newspapers like Metro, 20 minutos, ADN and Què (all bilingual).

Several major FM stations include Catalunya Ràdio, RAC 1, RAC 105 and Cadena SER. Barcelona also has several local TV stations, among them BTV (owned by city council) and 8TV (owned by the Godó group, that also owns La Vanguardia). The headquarters of Televisió de Catalunya, Catalonia's public network, are located in Sant Joan Despí, in Barcelona's metropolitan area.


Barcelona has a long sporting tradition and hosted the successful 1992 Summer Olympics as well as several matches during the 1982 FIFA World Cup. It has also hosted the Eurobasket twice and the X FINA World Championships.

FC Barcelona is a sports club best known for its football team, one of the largest in Europe, three-time winner of the UEFA Champions League. FC Barcelona also has teams in the Spanish basketball ACB league (Regal FC Barcelona), the handball ASOBAL league (FC Barcelona Handbol), and the roller hockey league (FC Barcelona Hoquei). The club's museum is the second most visited in Catalonia. Twice a season, FC Barcelona and cross-town rivals RCD Espanyol contest in the local derby in La Liga. FC Barcelona's basketball section has its own local derby in Liga ACB with nearby Joventut Badalona. Barcelona also has other clubs in lower categories, like CE Europa and UE Sant Andreu.

Barcelona has two UEFA 5-star rated football stadiums: FC Barcelona's Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, and the publicly owned Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, used for the 1992 Olympics and, until last season, home of RCD Espanyol, while the club's new stadium was being built.

The Open Seat Godó, a 50-year-old ATP World Tour 500 Series tennis tournament, is held annually in the facilities of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona (Barcelona Royal Tennis Club). Several popular running competitions are organized year-round in Barcelona: Cursa del Corte Inglés (with about 60,000 participants each year)[citation needed], Cursa de la Mercè, Cursa Jean Bouin, Milla Sagrada Família and the San Silvestre. Also, each Christmas, a swimming race across the port is organized. Near Barcelona, in Montmeló, the 131,000 capacity Circuit de Catalunya racetrack hosts the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix and the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix. Barcelona has also become very popular with skateboarders, which has led to a new anti-skateboarding law, which came into effect in 2006.

Transportation and Infrastructure


Barcelona is served by Barcelona Airport in the town of El Prat de Llobregat, about 17 km (11 mi) from the centre of Barcelona. It is the second-largest airport in Spain, and the largest on the Mediterranean coast. It is a main hub for Vueling Airlines, and also a focus for Spanair, Air Europa and Iberia. The airport mainly serves domestic and European destinations, but some airlines offer destinations in Asia and the United States. The airport is connected to the city by highway, commuter train and scheduled bus service. The airport handled 32,800,570 passengers in 2007.[60] A new terminal (T1) has been built, and entered service on 17 June 2009.

Sabadell Airport is a smaller airport in the nearby town of Sabadell, devoted to pilot training, commercial flights, aerotaxi and private flights. Some low-cost airlines, such as Ryanair and Martinair, prefer to use Girona-Costa Brava Airport, situated about 90 km (56 mi) to the north of Barcelona and, Reus Airport, situated 77 km (48 mi) to the south.


Port Vell as viewed from the Monument a Colom at the end of La Rambla.

The Port of Barcelona has a 2000-year history and a great contemporary commercial importance. It is Europe's ninth largest container port, with a trade volume of 2.3 million TEU's in 2006.[61] The port is managed by the Port Authority of Barcelona. Its 7.86 km2 (3 sq mi) are divided into three zones: Port Vell (the Old Port), the commercial port and the logistics port (Barcelona Free Port). The port is undergoing an enlargement that will double its size thanks to diverting the mouth of the Llobregat river 2 km (1¼ mi) to the south.[62]

The Port Vell area also houses the Maremagnum (a commercial mall), a multiplex cinema, the IMAX Port Vell and Europe's largest aquarium, containing 8,000 fish and 11 sharks contained in 22 basins filled with 6 million litres of sea water. The Maremagnum, due to being situated a designated tourist zone, is the only commercial mall in the city that can open on Sundays and public holidays.

Public transport

The Port of Barcelona building, in the Port Vell area.

Barcelona is served by a comprehensive local public transport network that includes a metro, a bus network, two separate modern tram networks, a separate historic tram line, and several funiculars and aerial cable cars. The Barcelona Metro network comprises nine lines, identified by an "L" followed by the line number as well as by individual colours. Most of the network is operated by the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), but three lines are FGC commuter lines that run through the city. When finished, the L9 will be the second longest underground metro line in Europe with 42.6 km; only shorter than London's 76 km Central Line.

TMB also provides most of the services of the city's daytime bus network, as well as a tourist bus service. The tourist bus service gives the opportunity to visit the city on open-topped double-decker buses. The Barcelona Bus Turistic runs along three sightseeing routes, and passengers can get on and off as many times as they like. The night bus network, known as Nitbus, is operated by Tusgsal and Mohn. Transports Ciutat Comtal operates the Aerobus (to the airport) and the Tibibus (bus from Plaça Catalunya to Tibidabo amusement park) services. Other companies operate services that connect the city with towns in the metropolitan area.

Torre Agbar, Barcelona
Barcelona taxi

Another company, TRAMMET, operates the city's two modern tram networks, known as Trambaix and Trambesòs.[63] The historic tram line, the Tramvia Blau,[64] connects the metro to the Funicular del Tibidabo. The Funicular de Tibidabo climbs the Tibidabo hill, as does the Funicular de Vallvidrera. The Funicular de Montjuïc climbs the Montjuïc hill. The city has two aerial cable cars: one to the Montjuïc castle and another that runs via Torre Jaume I and Torre Sant Sebastià over the port.

Barcelona is a major hub for RENFE, the Spanish state railway network, and its main intercity train station is Barcelona-Sants station. The AVE high-speed rail system was recently extended from Madrid to Barcelona. Renfe cercanías/rodalies and the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) run Barcelona's widespread commuter train service. The Estació del Nord (Northern Station), a former railway station that was renovated for the 1992 Olympic Games, now serves as the terminus for long-distance and regional bus services.

Barcelona has a metered taxi fleet governed by the Institut Metropolità del Taxi (Metropolitan Taxi Institute), composed of more than 10,000 cars. Most of the licences are in the hands of self-employed drivers.[65] With their black and yellow livery, Barcelona's taxis are easily spotted.

On 22 March 2007,[66] Barcelona's City Council started the Bicing service, a bicycle service understood as a public transport. Once the user has their user card, they can take a bicycle from any of the 100 stations spread around the city and use it anywhere the urban area of the city, and then leave it at another station.[67] The service has been a success, with 50,000 subscribed users in three months.[68]

Roads and highways

Barcelona is circled by three ring roads or bypasses, Ronda de Dalt (on the mountain side), Ronda del Litoral (along the coast) and Ronda del Mig (separated into two parts: Travessera de Dalt in the north and the Gran Via de Carles III), two partially covered[69] fast highways with several exits that bypass the city.

The city's main arteries include Diagonal Avenue, which crosses the city diagonally, Meridiana Avenue which leads to Glòries and connects with Diagonal Avenue and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, which crosses the city from east to west, passing through the centre of the city.

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

Barcelona is twinned with the following cities:(in chronological order)[70]

Other forms of cooperation and city friendship similar to the twin city programmes exist to many cities worldwide.[85]

Other sights

See also




  1. ^ Demographia: World Urban Areas
  2. ^ United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs: World Urbanization Prospects (2007 revision), Table A.12
  3. ^ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development: Competitive Cities in the Global Economy, OECD Territorial Reviews, (OECD Publishing, 2006), Table 1.1
  4. ^ a b Àmbit Metropolità. Sèrie temporal (catalan)
  5. ^ "The World According to GaWC 2008". Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network, Loughborough University. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  6. ^ "Inventory of World Cities". Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  7. ^ Emerita: Revista de Lingüística y Filología clasica 11 (1943), p.468
  8. ^ Ptolemy, ii. 6. § 8
  9. ^ Avienus Or. Mar.,
  10. ^ Itin. Ant.
  11. ^ Oros. vii. 143; Miñano, Diccion. vol. i. p. 391; Auson. Epist. xxiv. 68, 69, Punica Barcino.
  12. ^ Plin. iii. 3. s. 4
  13. ^ Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 426, nos. 5, 6.
  14. ^ ii. 6
  15. ^ Avien. Ora Maritima. 520: "Et Barcilonum amoena sedes ditium."
  16. ^ Paul. Dig. 1. tit. 15, de Cens.
  17. ^ "Roman walls, Barcelona". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  18. ^ T.N. Bisson (1986). "II. The age of the Early Count-Kings (1137-1213) (The Principate of Ramon Berenguer IV 1137-1162)". in Clarendon Press - Oxford. The medieval Crown of Aragon. A short story. p. 31. ISBN 0-19-820236-9. 
  19. ^ Cateura Benàsser, Pau. "Els impostos indirectes en el regne de Mallorca." (PDF). Retrieved 2008-04-24.  El Tall dels Temps, 14. (Palma de) Mallorca: El Tall, 1996. ISBN 84-96019-28-4. 127pp.
  20. ^ Chapter 15: A History of Spain and Portugal, Stanley G. Payne
  21. ^ Decree of 1938-04-05.
  22. ^ "Barcelona (Spain)". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  23. ^ a b c "Barcelona". Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana. 3. Barcelona: Edicions 62. July 1971. pp. 193–229. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f Guies Estadístiques. Barcelona en Xifres. Novembre 2006.
  25. ^ "Barcelona Spain Tibidabo Sagrat Cor Church. Full Screen QTVR panoramic image". Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  26. ^ "Valores Climatológicos Normales: Barcelona / Aeropuerto - Agencia Estatal de Meteorología - AEMET" (in (Spanish)). Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  27. ^ "Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  28. ^ "Joan Arъs's Home Page". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  29. ^ Grup dels Sis: 2003: Un Estiu Infernal
  30. ^ Grup dels Sis: Climatologia de Catalunya
  31. ^ "Weather Information for Barcelona". 
  32. ^ "TETHYS". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  33. ^ "Barcelona es, o no, ciudad de nieves | Associació Catalana de Meteorologia". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  34. ^ "Situacions extraodinaries | Associació Catalana de Meteorologia". 1962-12-27. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  35. ^ "Montgat". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  36. ^ Parcs i Jardins > Els Parcs > Els Parcs de Barcelona
  37. ^ Parcs i Jardins > Els Parcs > Història > La ciutat i el verd
  38. ^ Parcs i Jardins > Els Parcs > Història > La democràcia
  39. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Indicadors demogràfics. 2005
  40. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Densitat de població. 2005
  41. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Nacionalitat per sexe. 2005
  42. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Coneixement de la llengua catalana per grans grups d'edat. 2001
  43. ^ Barcelona: Directory: Theme: Religion
  44. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Evolució de la població. 1900-2005
  45. ^ "Bread & Butter Barcelona. Dates, Times, Location". Bread & Butter. 
  46. ^ EFE (2009-01-23). "El presidente del Bread&Butter confirma oficialmente que la feria abandona Barcelona". El Periódico. Retrieved 2009-07-22. "[Karl Heinz Muller, the entrepreneur behind B&B in announcing the move in a press conference held on January 23, 2009 said] No llores Barcelona, levántate y haz algo [don't cry Barcelona, get up and do something about it] Barcelona in Europe is a metropolis of fashion." 
  47. ^ Leticia Blanco (2009-01-20). "La feria de moda urbana Bread and Butter deja Barcelona". El Mundo. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  48. ^ La crisis pone en jaque los proyectos de nuevos hoteles en Barcelona y Madrid
  49. ^ a b BOE - LEY 1/2006, de 13 de marzo, por la que se regula el Régimen Especial del municipio de Barcelona.
  50. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona > Ajuntament > El Govern de la Ciutat
  51. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona: Organització política
  52. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The city government> Council Executive
  53. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The city government> Plenary
  54. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The city government> Committees of the Municipal Council
  55. ^ Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The municipal administration
  56. ^ "Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network - Inventory of World Cities". Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  57. ^ L'Auditori: OBC
  58. ^ Roberts, Nina (2006-08-06). "Catalan Musical Stew Keeps Barcelona Up All Night - New York Times". Barcelona (Spain): Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  59. ^ RIBA Royal Gold Medallists
  60. ^ Aena statistics (see annual report for 2007)
  61. ^ van Marle, Gavin (2008-01-31). "Europe terminals stretched to limit". Lloyd's List Daily Commercial News (Informa Australia): pp. 8–9. 
  62. ^ Port de Barcelona
  63. ^ News related with the council plans for the tram network union.
  64. ^ Information of Tramvia Blau
  65. ^ L'Administració i la gestió del Taxi de Barcelona
  66. ^ Bicing: Noticies: Data d'inici 22 de març a les 14:00 h. Pots realitzar l'alta al servei a partir del dia 16/03/07.
  67. ^ Bicing: Què és Bicing?
  68. ^ Bicing: Notícies: El Bicing ja té més de 50.000 abonats.
  69. ^ The covered Rondes (by-pass)
  70. ^ "Barcelona internacional - Ciutats agermanades" (in Catalan). © 2006-2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona.,4022,229724149_257215678_1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  71. ^ List of Busan's sister cities, Busan Metropolitan City; (English) [1], (Korean) [2]
  72. ^ a b "São Paulo - Sister Cities Program". © 2005–2008 Fiscolegis - Todos os direitos reservados Editora de publicações periodicas - LTDA / © 2008 City of São Paulo. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  73. ^ International Relations - São Paulo City Hall - Official Sister Cities
  74. ^ "Saint Petersburg in figures - International and Interregional Ties". Saint Petersburg City Government. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  75. ^ "Sister City, Friendly City, Friendship & Cooperation City" (in Japanese). © 2007–2009 City of Kobe. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  76. ^ "Sister Cities of Istanbul". Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  77. ^ Erdem, Selim Efe (2009-07-01). "İstanbul'a 49 kardeş" (in Turkish). Radikal. Retrieved 2009-07-22. "49 sister cities in 2003" 
  78. ^ "Dublin City Council: Facts about Dublin City". © 2006-2009 Dublin City Council. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  79. ^ daenet d.o.o.. "Sarajevo Official Web Site : Sister cities". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  80. ^ Twinning Cities Agreements UAE Official Website
  81. ^ "Twinning agreement brings a taste of Spain to Dubai UAE - The Official Web Site - News". Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  82. ^ "Barcelona team arrives". The Hindu. 2009-01-10. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  83. ^ "Kerala capital to get a cousin in Europe". arabnews. 2009-01-10. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  84. ^ "Province eyes investors from Spain -, Philippine News for Filipinos". Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  85. ^ "Barcelona internacional - Cooperation agreements". ©Ajuntament de Barcelona.,4022,229724149_257217612_3,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 

External links

Barcelona travel guide from Wikitravel

Simple English

Redirecting to Barcelona

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address