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Information about Barcelona

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Information about Barcelona

Facts about Barcelona

The (national) flag
Official name Barcelona
Surface 101km²
Inhabitants 1.6 million inhabitants (2016). But in the whole metropolis (so including suburbs and commuters towns) live more than 5 million people.
Population density 16.416 people per km²
Capital Barcelona is the largest city of Catalonia and the capital of the autonomous region (Comunitat Autònoma) Catalonia and of the provence of Barcelona.
Currency The euro since 2002. 1 € is about $1.17 (2017)
Road network The roads are good, although we mainly used public transportation
Fuel prices For actual fuel prices in all European countries see Autotraveler.ru.
Code licence plate E
Telephone countrycode 34
Internet countrycode .es
Time difference GMT+1; the same time as in the Netherlands

Geographic data

Barcelona is part of the province Catalonia. The city always has been the centre of Catalan separatism and the striving for independance. It is also the centre of the biggest industrial area in Barcelona, except for Bilbao. And it is an important port. Prat is the international airport. There are two universities, lots of highschools, opera, many museums and two arena's. In 2000 there lived almost 1.5 million people in Barcelona. Including the suburbs it is almost 2.8 million.

There are 5 districts in Barcelona (not counting the suburbs):
- Gotic district: with the Roman walls, the cathedral de Santa Eulàlia, Plaza del Rei, originally a patio of the palace of the earls of Barcelona and the historic town museum.
- La Ribera: also a medieval district, is situated just outside the first city wall. Now it is a district of commerce and seamen.
- El Eixample: a modern district where Casa Batlló and Casa Milá can be found, both build by Gaudí. The famous La Sagrada Familia is also located here.
- The avenue La Rambla: consists of seven different boulevards. The most charasteristic is the Rambla de les Flors. The world inheritance monument Plaza Reial is worth a visit.
- In the Coastal Zone: one can find the Olympic Village, build for the Olympic Games of 1992. The Montjuïc has become a large recreation area. The World Exhibition of 1929 was held here as were the Olympic Games in 1992.

HistoryNaar boven

Barcelona was a flourishing city already in Roman times, then called Barcino, from where later christianity would spread over the north of Barcelona. In 415 Athaulf, king of the Visigoths, conquered Barcelona, and the city would stay the capital of the Visigothic empire for a long time. In 713 the city was taken by Moors. Soon the Arabic stadholder declared himself independant from the caliphate of Córdoba, but in 781 he had to recognise the Frankish king as his lord. But in the opinion of Charles the Great the stadholder still behaved too independantly and he sent his son, Louis, to Barcelona to subdue the city. After a long siege Barcelona was taken and became capital of the Spanish Mark. But after the death of Charles the Great it regained it's independance and was in possession of the islamites again. After that there was a period of independant earls of Barcelona, whose land was united with Aragón in 1150. Under the rule of Aragon Barcelona started to flourish as a commercial town. It enforced many prerogatives from Aragon and got independance to a great extent. For a long time Barcelona was the centre for the pursuit of independance for Catalonia. In the War of Succession Barcelona first took sides with the Austrians, but was captured in 1714 by the French for Philippe V. During the Civil War, Barcelona became seat of the republican government in November 1937, but on January 26th, 1939, the city fell into the hands of Franco.
Read more about the history of Barcelona on Wikipedia

Places of interest, Gaudi

The city is build north of the mouth of the river Llobregat, surrounded by hills of granite and slate. The historical centre lies at the foot of the slate mountain Montjuïc (191 m) on which a fortress was build. South of the mountain (or hill) lies the Montjuic park. Until the 19th century this historical centre was surrounded by walls, now there are Rondas and Ramblas, circular and rectangular avenues. Around this area there are residential and industrial areas. Some parts of the city walls have been preserved. A well known shopping street is Paseo de Gracia, bordered by plantains.

This is the most famous and most typical street of Barcelona. The avenue, once a river, stretches for two kilometers from the Plaza de Catalunya to the harbor. La Rambla consists of five different "Ramblas" and two squares.

San Jaume
The square of San Jaume is the heart of the city, also the political centre. The palaces of the city council (El Ayuntamiento or Casa de la Ciudad) and the province council (Palacio de la Generalidad) are located here. In Roman times the Plaza Romana or Forum was situated here, build in the 2nd century BC.

Plaza Nova
In this square in the centre of the old town, Barrio Gotico, stands the Cathedral Santa Eulalia from the 14th and 15th century. The neo-gothic facade dates from the 19th century. The cathedral is devoted to Eulalia, patroness of the city, who is buried here in a crypt. The octagonal western towers were build in the 14th century. Inside there are magnificent choir stalls, a retabel and a rich church treasure. At the back is a 14th century ambulatory, existing of four galleries with cross vaults. There are very old trees in the garden.

San Pablo del Campo
A church originally build in the 10th century, with a 13th century cloister and one of the most beautiful churches of Barcelona. There is a triple colonnade and a garden.

Santa Maria del Mar
This church is from the 14th century. It is a good example of Catalan gothic. There are massive pillars and the octagonal towers end in terraces.

Sagrada Familia.
The most striking and still unfinished building of Barcelona is the basilica of the Holy Family, designed by Antoní Gaudí. The construction of it started in 1884. The facades symbolize Birth (west), Life and Death (east) and the glorification of Christ (south). The eight towers stand for the apostles. There are three entrances in the front: faith, hope and love. In the crypt is the tomb of the famous architect Gaudi, who died in 1926. He also created remarkable buildings like Casa Batllo with ceramic roofing and Casa Mila.

Casa Batllo
The impressive pillars resemble the feet of a mammoth and the roof gives the impression of a prehistoric reptile. The balconies look like bird's nests hanging from a rock face. There are no fixed lines or right angles this building and the walls seem to be undulating.

Casa Mila
This building got the nickname "La Pedrera", the stone pit. It looks like a steep rock with cave-houses in it. The undulating front reminds one of dunes and beaches, or maybe a honeycomb.
In Parc Güell, also designed by Gaudi, is a museum dedicated to this great architect.

Escudella i carn d'olla: soup with meat, vegetables and rice, vermicelli and potatoes; cocido: a dish with white beans; butifarra: some sort of sausage; pilota: a sort of minced meat; zarzuela: paella with fish, shrimps, mussels and calamares.

Joan Miró
Miró was born April 20, 1893, in Barcelona and was an unusual artist of the first decades of the 20th century. His work before 1920 shows wide-ranging influences, including the bright colors of the Fauves, the broken forms of cubism, and the powerful, flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Barcelona. He moved to Paris in 1920, where, under the influence of surrealist poets and writers, he evolved his mature style. Miró drew on memory, fantasy, and the irrational to create works of art that are visual analogues of surrealist poetry. These dreamlike visions, such as Harlequin's Carnival or Dutch Interior, often have a whimsical or humorous quality, containing images of playfully distorted animal forms, twisted organic shapes, and odd geometric constructions. The forms of his paintings are organized against flat neutral backgrounds and are painted in a limited range of bright colors, especially blue, red, yellow, green, and black. Amorphous amoebic shapes alternate with sharply drawn lines, spots, and curlicues, all positioned on the canvas with seeming nonchalance. Miró later produced highly generalized, ethereal works in which his organic forms and figures are reduced to abstract spots, lines, and bursts of colors.
The Spanish Civil War made a deep impression on Miro which can be seen in his work from the thirties: deformation of the human figure into monstrous shapes. When Wold War II started, he went back to Barcelona.
After 1945, Miró also experimented with wall painting, several graphical techniques and he was also working in watercolor, pastel, collage, and paint on copper and masonite. His ceramic sculptures are especially notable, in particular his two large ceramic murals for the UNESCO building in Paris (Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun, 1957-59). Miró died in Majorca, Barcelona, on December 25, 1983.
A part of his work can be seen in the Fundación Joan Miró in park Montjuich in Barcelona.

Antoni Gaudi
Antoni Gaudi was born in Reus in 1852. As an architect he mostly worked in Barcelona. His very individualistic buildings with many gothic and moorish influences often have organic and whimsical forms, decorated with colorful mosaics of glass and broken tiles and originally wrought iron. Gaudi experimented a lot with structures and light and was inspired by the laws of growth in nature. Not only he designed several buildings, but also the interior and the furniture. His lifework was the Sagrada Familia on which he worked for more than 40 years. The last 12 years of his life were totally dedicated to this masterpiece which is still unfinished. When he died in 1926 only the eastern facade had been finished. The construction stopped in 1930, but recommenced in 1952. For his protector, count Güell, Gaudí designed the Palacio Güell and park Güell, where a Gaudí-museum is established. He was tagged as an eccentric for a long time, only recognised by the surrealists, but later Gaudí's work has become a great influence on other artists and architects.
2002 is the international year of Gaudí. More information about this great man and his works on our special Gaudi theme page!

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