Barcelona, “la gran encisera”, the great enchantress

Monday, 28 March 2011 - 10:55 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Plaça Catalunya © tango7174

Plaça Catalunya © tango7174

Barcelona is the capital and the most populous city of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of 101.4 km2 (39 sq mi). The urban area of Barcelona extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of over 4,200,000 on an area of 803 km2 (310 sq mi), being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Ruhr area, Madrid and Milan. About five million people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. It is also Europe’s largest metropolis on the Mediterranean coast.

Barcelona is today one of the world’s leading tourist, economic and cultural centres, and its influences in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities. Indeed, it is a major economic centre and a growing financial centre (Diagonal Mar area); one of Europe’s principal Mediterranean ports can be found here as well as Barcelona international airport, which handles about 30 million passengers per year. It also boasts an extensive motorway network and is a hub of high-speed rail, particularly that which will link France with Spain and later Portugal. Barcelona was the 12th-most-visited city in the world and 4th most visited in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome. It is in addition the most popular tourist destination in Spain (receiving over 5 million tourists every year). Barcelona is the 16th most “livable city” in the world according to lifestyle magazine Monocle.

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 is located in Barcelona.

Plaça Catalunya © tango7174 View from Palau Nacional towards Plaça d'Espanya © Baikonur Barcelona Business Center © WelcomeInSpain Barcelona Collage © WelcomeInSpain Barcino_de_Joan_Brossa-Xavier_Caballe Casa Batlló © Johne Fader Casa Milà © David Iliff Catalunya National Museum of Art © Sergi Larripa Diagonal Mar area © Amadalvarez Harbor area with Columbus monument © Felix Guntrum Hospital de Sant Pau © Mongol Hotel Vela © Ardfern Plaça d'Espanya with the Bull-fight Arena © Anton Lefterov Port of Barcelona building © Carcharoth Port Vell © David Iliff Port Vell © Jopsens Sagrada Familia Church © Julien Lagarde Teatre de Liceu - Opera House © Andreas Praefcke Torre Agbar © Alexander Z.
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View from Palau Nacional towards Plaça d'Espanya © Baikonur
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).

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 held 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.

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 may only worsen matters.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of Barcelona, Barcelona Guide, Barcelona Tourism and Wikipedia Barcelona. Learn more about the use of photos.




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