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Barcelona ( , ) is the capital and the most populous city of the Autonomous Community of Cataloniamarker and the second largest city in Spainmarker, 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 Parismarker, Londonmarker, Rhine-Ruhr Area, Madridmarker and Milanmarker with the population 4,185,000. 4.9 million people live in Barcelona metropolitan areamarker. The main part of a union of adjacent cities and municipalities named Área Metropolitana de Barcelonamarker (AMB) with a population of 3,186,461 in area of 636 km² (density 5.010 hab/km²).

It is located on the Mediterraneanmarker coast ( ) between the mouths of the rivers Llobregatmarker and Besòs and is bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserolamarker ridge ( ).

Barcelona is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts and international trade. Barcelona is a major economic centre with one of Europe's principal Mediterraneanmarker ports, and Barcelona International Airportmarker is the second largest in Spain after the Madrid-Barajas Airportmarker (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 UNESCOmarker 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 Cataloniamarker, Barcelona houses the seat of the Catalan government, known as the Generalitat de Catalunya; of particular note are the executive branch, the parliamentmarker, and the Supreme Court of Catalonia. The city is also the capital of the Barcelonèsmarker comarca (shire).


The name Barcelona comes from the ancient Iberian Phoenician Barkeno, attested in an ancient coin inscription in Iberian script as , in Greek sources as ; and in Latin as Barcino, Barcelo and Barceno.

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

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, or, in full, Colonia Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino or Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino. Mela mentions it among the small towns of the district, probably as it was eclipsed by its neighbour Tarracomarker (modern Tarragonamarker); 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. It enjoyed immunity from imperial burdens. 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 Gòticmarker ("Gothic Quarter"). Some remaining fragments of the Roman walls have been incorporated into the cathedral. 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, Aragonmarker and the County of Barcelona merged by dynastic union 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 Naplesmarker 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.


Barcelona from space
Barcelona is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsulamarker, facing the Mediterranean Seamarker, on a plateau approximately wide limited by the mountain range of Collserolamarker, the Llobregatmarker river to the south-west and the Besòs river to the north. This plateau has , of which 101 km² (38.9 sq mi) are occupied by the city itself. It is 160 km (100 mi) south of the Pyreneesmarker and the Catalonianmarker border with Francemarker.

Collserolamarker, part of the coastal mountain range, shelters the city to the north-west. Its highest point, the peak of Tibidabomarker, high, offers striking views over the city and is topped by the Torre de Collserolamarker, 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 Carmelmarker (267 m), Putxet (181 m) and Rovira (261 m). The escarpment of Montjuïcmarker (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 Gramenetmarker and Sant Adrià de Besòsmarker to the north; L'Hospitalet de Llobregatmarker and Esplugues de Llobregatmarker to the south; the Mediterranean Sea to the east; and Montcada i Reixacmarker and Sant Cugat del Vallèsmarker to the west.


Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Barcelona is located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsulamarker, so Atlantic west winds often arrive in Barcelona with low humidity, producing no rain. The proximity of the Atlanticmarker, 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.

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 Londonmarker 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 at the Airport and over 10°C in the city. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of 24°C . The highest temperature recorded in the city centre is 38.6°C. The coldest temperature recorded was –6.7 °C on 11 February 1956 and –5°C on 12 January 1985. However, in the 19th century –9.6°C was recorded in January 1896.

At the Fabra Observatorymarker, situated on the Tibidabomarker hill, 412 m above the sea level, the record summer temperature is 39.8°C on 7 July 1982, and the lowest temperature ever registered, -10.0°C on 11 February 1956.Near the hills and the Airport annual rainfall reaches 650 mm, and in the city centre about 600 mm.

Snow falls and night frosts occur almost every year. Snowfalls seldom cause any disruption to traffic. Nonetheless, the city has experienced its share of heavy snowfalls, as for example at Christmas 1962, 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 6 January 2009, 27 January 2006, 28 February 2005, 29 February 2004, 18 February 2003 and 14 December 2001 and the rare snowfall of 21 November 1999 [](the only time in which has snowed so soon in at least 3 centuries).

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, 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.



Barcelona contains 68 municipal parks, divided into 12 historic parks, 5 thematic (botanical) parks, 45 urban parks and 6 forest parks. They range from vest-pocket parks to large recreation areas. The urban parks alone cover 10% of the city ( ). The total park surface grows about per year, with a proportion of of park area per inhabitant.

Of Barcelona's parks, Montjuïcmarker is the largest, with 203 ha located on the mountain of the same name. It is followed by Ciutadella Park (situated in the place of the old military citadel and which houses the Parliamentmarker building, the zoo and several museums; including the zoo), the Guinardó Park ( ), Park Güellmarker (designed by Antoni Gaudí; ), Oreneta Castle Park (also ), Diagonal Mar Park ( , inaugurated in 2002), Nou Barris Central Park ( ), Can Dragó Sports Park and Poblenou Park (both ) and the Labyrinth Park ( ), named after the garden maze it contains. 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 Barcelonetamarker beaches, both in length, 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.


The area around the Plaça Catalunyamarker makes up the city's historical centre and, alongside the upper half of Avinguda Diagonalmarker, 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 Marmarker 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 Artsmarker and its twin the Torre Mapfremarker, both high, followed by the newest, Torre Agbarmarker . Barcelona is really well situated for the ski resorts of the Pyrenéesmarker, just 125 km. from the city. Anyway the skyline of the city is decorated in winter by the summit (1712 m. high) of the Montsenymarker 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 was1,673,075 people, while the population of the urban area was 4,185,000. It is the central nucleus of the Barcelona metropolitan areamarker, which relies on a population of 4,928,852.

The population density of Barcelona was , with Eixamplemarker being the most populated district. 62% of the inhabitants were born in Cataloniamarker, 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%, the majority come from (in order) Ecuadormarker, Perumarker, Moroccomarker, Colombiamarker, Argentinamarker, Pakistanmarker and Chinamarker.

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, 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 Hall) and Buddhists (13 locations), and a number of Muslims due to immigration.

In 1900, Barcelona had a population of 533,000 people, 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.


Barcelona Business Centre
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. This was a hard blow for the city as the fair brought €100 m to the city in just three days. There have been many attempts to launch Barcelona as a fashion capital, notably Gaudi Home.

Montjuic Placa Espanya
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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. The plenary, formed by the 41 city councilors, has advisory, planning, regulatory, and fiscal executive functions. 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. 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.

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 Ravalmarker (also known in Spanish as the Barrio Chino, ("Chinatown"), the Barri Gòticmarker ("Gothic Quarter"), La Barcelonetamarker and the Barri de la Riberamarker.
  • Eixamplemarker: 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
  • SantsmarkerMontjuïcmarker: Poble Sec, La Marina, La Font de La Guatlla, La Bordeta, Hostafrancs, Sants, Badal.
  • Les Cortsmarker: Les Corts, La Maternitat, Pedralbes.
  • Sarrià-Sant Gervasi: Tres Torres, Sarrià, Vallvidrera, Bonanova, Sant Gervasi, Putxet-Farró, Galvany.
  • Gràciamarker: Vallcarca, El Coll, La Salut, Gràcia, El Camp d'en Grassot
  • Horta-Guinardó: Horta, El Carmelmarker, 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 Andreumarker: La Sagrera, Congrés, Trinitat Vella, Bon Pastor, Sant Andreu, Navas, Baró de Viver
  • Sant Martí: Diagonal Marmarker, Fort Pius, San Martí de Provençals, Poble Nou, La Verneda, El Clot, Vila Olímpica del Poblenou.


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

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.


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 Francomarker) 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.

Entertainment and performing arts

Barcelona has many venues for live music and theatre, including the world-renowned Gran Teatre del Liceumarker opera theatre, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunyamarker, the Teatre Lliuremarker and the Palau de la Música Catalanamarker 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.

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.


Barcelona has a great number of museums, which cover different areas and eras. The National Museum of Art of Cataloniamarker possesses a well-known collection of Romanesque art while the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Artmarker focuses on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art. The Fundació Joan Mirómarker, Picasso Museummarker and Fundació Antoni Tàpiesmarker 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 are offer free entry on the first Saturday or first Sunday of each month.


The Barri Gòticmarker ("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 Pavilionmarker. Designed in 1929 for the Internation 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, 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 Despímarker, 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 biggest 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 Noumarker, the largest stadium in Europe, and the publicly-owned Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companysmarker, used for the 1992 Olympics and, until last season, home of RCD Espanyol, while the club's new stadiummarker 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 Barcelonamarker (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) , 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 Montmelómarker, the 131,000 capacity Circuit de Catalunyamarker racetrack hosts the Formula One Spanish Grand Prixmarker and the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prixmarker. 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 Airportmarker in the town of El Prat de Llobregatmarker, about 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 Statesmarker. The airport is connected to the city by highway, commuter train and scheduled bus service. The airport handled 32,800,570 passengers in 2007. A new terminal (T1) has been built, and entered service on 17 June 2009.

Sabadell Airportmarker is a smaller airport in the nearby town of Sabadellmarker, 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 Airportmarker, situated about to the north of Barcelona and, Reus Airportmarker, situated to the south.


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. The port is managed by the Port Authority of Barcelona. Its are divided into three zones: Port Vell (the Old Port), the commercial port and the logistics port (Barcelona Free Portmarker). The port is undergoing an enlargement that will double its size thanks to diverting the mouth of the Llobregatmarker river 2 km (1¼ mi) to the south.

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

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 Tibidabomarker amusement park) services. Other companies operate services that connect the city with towns in the metropolitan area.

Barcelona taxi
Another company, TRAMMET, operates the city's two modern tram networks, known as Trambaix and Trambesòs. The historic tram line, the Tramvia Blau, connects the metro to the Funicular del Tibidabomarker. The Funicular de Tibidabo climbs the Tibidabo hill, as does the Funicular de Vallvidreramarker. The Funicular de Montjuïc climbs the Montjuïcmarker hill. The city has two aerial cable cars: one to the Montjuïc castle and another that runs via Torre Jaume Imarker and Torre Sant Sebastiàmarker over the port.

Barcelona is a major hub for RENFE, the Spanish state railway network, and its main intercity train station is Barcelona-Santsmarker station. The AVE high-speed rail system was recently extended from Madridmarker 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. With their black and yellow livery, Barcelona's taxis are easily spotted.

On 22 March 2007, 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. The service has been a success, with 50,000 subscribed users in three months.

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: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanesmarker in the north and the Gran via Carles III), two partially covered fast highways with several exits that bypass the city.

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

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

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

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

Other sights

image:Sta-eulalia.jpg|Barcelona CathedralmarkerFile:Sagrada familia by night 2006.jpg|Sagrada Família at nightFile:InteriorSantaMariaMarBarcelona.jpg|Santa Maria del Marmarker ChurchFile:050529 Barcelona 099.jpg|Santa Maria del Pi ChurchFile:Spain.Barcelona.Porta.del.Angel.jpg| Portal de l'ÀngelFile:Jfader batto facade.jpg|Casa BatllómarkerFile:Casa Milà - Barcelona, Spain - Jan 2007.jpg|Casa Milàmarker (La Pedrera)File:050529 Barcelona 135.jpg| The Palau Nacionalmarker which houses the MNACmarkerFile:Domènech.i.Montaner.Palau.Musica.Catalana.8.Barcelona.JPG| Palau de la Música CatalanamarkerFile:Arc de Triomf Barcelona.jpg| The Arc de TriomfmarkerFile:Casavicens.jpg| Casa VicensmarkerFile:Barcellona palazzo.jpg|Castell dels tres DracsFile:PlayaBacelonetta2.JPG|Hotel Artsmarker (l.) and Torre Mapfremarker (each in height) seen from Platja de la BarcelonetaFile:Torre Agbar - Barcelona, Spain - Jan 2007.jpg|Torre AgbarmarkerFile:PortVell.JPG|Rambla de Mar in Port Vell (Old Harbour)File:Barcelona.Tibidabo.Torre.Collserola.jpg| The Torre de Collserolamarker in the Tibidabo Hill is the highest structure in Barcelona (288m).File:Barcelona park!.jpg| The View from Gaudi's Park GüellmarkerFile:A meat stand in La Boqueria.jpg|A meat stand in La BoqueriamarkerFile:Christophercolumbustw.JPG|
Statue of Christopher Columbus

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. Àmbit Metropolità. Sèrie temporal (catalan)
  5. Emerita: Revista de Lingüística y Filología clasica 11 (1943), p.468
  6. Ptolemy, ii. 6. § 8
  7. Avienus Or. Mar.,
  8. Itin. Ant.
  9. Oros. vii. 143; Miñano, Diccion. vol. i. p. 391; Auson. Epist. xxiv. 68, 69, Punica Barcino.
  10. Plin. iii. 3. s. 4
  11. Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 426, nos. 5, 6.
  12. ii. 6
  13. Avien. Ora Maritima. 520: "Et Barcilonum amoena sedes ditium."
  14. Paul. Dig. 1. tit. 15, de Cens.
  15. El Tall dels Temps, 14. (Palma de) Mallorca: El Tall, 1996. ISBN 84-96019-28-4. 127pp.
  16. Guies Estadístiques. Barcelona en Xifres. Novembre 2006.
  17. Grup dels Sis: 2003: Un Estiu Infernal
  18. Grup dels Sis: Climatologia de Catalunya
  19. Parcs i Jardins > Els Parcs > Els Parcs de Barcelona
  20. Parcs i Jardins > Els Parcs > Història > La ciutat i el verd
  21. Parcs i Jardins > Els Parcs > Història > La democràcia
  22. Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Indicadors demogràfics. 2005
  23. Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Densitat de població. 2005
  24. Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Nacionalitat per sexe. 2005
  25. Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Coneixement de la llengua catalana per grans grups d'edat. 2001
  26. Barcelona: Directory: Theme: Religion
  27. Ajuntament de Barcelona: Estadística: Evolució de la població. 1900-2005
  28. La crisis pone en jaque los proyectos de nuevos hoteles en Barcelona y Madrid
  29. BOE - LEY 1/2006, de 13 de marzo, por la que se regula el Régimen Especial del municipio de Barcelona.
  30. Ajuntament de Barcelona > Ajuntament > El Govern de la Ciutat
  31. Ajuntament de Barcelona: Organització política
  32. Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The city government> Council Executive
  33. Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The city government> Plenary
  34. Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The city government> Committees of the Municipal Council
  35. Ajuntament de Barcelona > Council> The municipal administration
  36. L'Auditori: OBC
  37. RIBA Royal Gold Medallists
  38. Aena statistics (see annual report for 2007)
  39. Port de Barcelona
  40. News related with the council plans for the tram network union.
  41. Information of Tramvia Blau
  42. L'Administració i la gestió del Taxi de Barcelona
  43. 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.
  44. Bicing: Què és Bicing?
  45. Bicing: Notícies: El Bicing ja té més de 50.000 abonats.
  46. The covered Rondes (by-pass)
  47. List of Busan's sister cities, Busan Metropolitan City; [1], [2]
  48. Twinning Cities Agreements UAE Official Website


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