Founded by the romans between the river Llobregat (where-thou-shall-never-bath) and the river Besòs (which-shall-never-quench-your-thirst), the city is branded as one of the most beloved tourist destinations, being a cosmopolitan heart where fun, business and shopping get together.
Our town owes a lot to its history. What it is now, with its beautiful and quiet streets, secret places and great monuments, old districts and modern companies; it all comes for its achievements in the past. What we are –and what you can enjoy– has been part of a process that led us here, in the brink of our next challenge.
Founded by the romans near the 15 BC., started as a military camp called Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino, which is a very tricky thing to say at parties. Luckily for us, the city was known as Barcino around the empire and nobody made fun of us. As the Hispanic provinces provided Rome with metals (iron, copper and gold), Barcino was famous for producing and trading all around the Mediterranean with the cheapest and most drank wine in the old civilization. Not a very fancy trade, but somebody had to do it.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, Barcelona was conquered by the Visigoths in the 5th century, then by the arabs in the 8th century and finally liberated by the Franks at the beginning of the 9th (we were really not into building walls those days…). After being conquered by everyone, the counts of Barcelona started conquering as well. They incorporated the whole Catalonia to their dominion, merging in 1137 with the Kingdom of Aragon and forming a long lasting political union, which ruled the western Mediterranean (including southern Italy and Greece) until the 13th –when we became boring again.
In 1469 the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castille were united. This was the beginning of modern Spain and, years later when America was discovered and trade shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, prompted Barcelona to lose its old relevance. Later, at the end of the 17th century with la Revolta dels Segadors (“The Reapers” revolt, which sounds cool in every language) and at the beginning of the 18th with the Spanish succession war (a 15 year long world war with swords and muskets), Catalonia unsuccessfully revolted against the Kingdom of Castile, so we sat and started making business instead of wars.
During the 19th century Barcelona experienced both an industrial, cultural and physical expansion. The industrial revolution brought us factories, investments and railroads (the very first one line built in Spain).
People transferred from the country to the city, which needed new housing development for the increasing population. Ildefons Cerdà, engineer and urban planner, devised a new city: bigger, cleaner, growing beyond the walls (yeah, because by then we had finally walls and they were useless) and engulfing the surrounding towns into a big pounding metropolis. His idea became the Eixample (expansion in Catalan), our famous grid-pattern district.
As the city grew, business did as well. The town became one of the industrial centers of Spain, and new bourgeois families arose. They settled in the new district and, to plan their homes and palaces, hired the best architects whom dared each other to build the best house in the new Barcelona (back then you couldn’t settle your disputes with just a soccer game). Those families also became patrons of the arts. Europe was living and beating with the Romanticism movement, and so did Catalonia. The Renaixença (the rebirth) started as a literary movement that focused on recovering the Catalan language. They wrote about their past –both real stories and rural legends– as well as defending the roots of their national and personal freedom, thus promoting the birth of a real Catalonian culture.
Finally, Barcelona entered into his golden era in the late days of the 19th century, when the Renaixença movement got mixed with the European Art Noveau current and became our beloved modernisme.
The Sagrada Família stands in the biggest district in the town, the Eixample. Famous for its square pattern, the Eixample holds some of the best places to be and to see in Barcelona while taking a nice walk. The Sagrada Família stands between two parks, in a wide open area thriving with people, pubs, restaurants and the inexhaustible souvenir shops.More info
Previously a constructed building, Gaudí redesigned it at the morrow of the XX century. It is everything a modernist (art noveau) building had to be.More info
After a long and dreadful dictatorship government, Barcelona started breathing again. During the government of not-that-tall General Francisco Franco (not really his nickname), our town was one of the centers of migration from all Spain. A highly unemployed population from the south looked for opportunities in the north, greatly increasing our population and cultural diversity.
But, even after the funny-times (not historically accurate term) ended, Barcelona lacked the will to move on as it had done in the past. That’s when the 1992 Olympics transformed and old and sleepy city into the vibrant and modern town you find today.
Southern European door for trade, buzzing culture and trending center, Barcelona is at the top of the wave of modern times. Even during the current economic crisis, we keep our cool and know that with effort and courage, we’ll become greater.
For we have been rebels and pragmatists, we’ve felt wanderlust and the need for homecoming, we conquered and were conquered. We live under the deeds of past deeds from great man that shone under the Mediterranean sun. And we can sit down and watch the sea, not just enjoying the view with beer and friends, but knowing that we have the privilege of sharing it with millions of visitors every year. And we have the Futbol Club Barcelona. Take that!
Checkout the official turism website from Barcelona to know everything you need!