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Barcelona: the economic engine of Spain

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is the economic engine of Spain. The city rises along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. With a population of almost 2 million inhabitants, it is, after the capital Madrid, the most populous city in the country.

The city of Gaudí is rich in history and art. There are wonderful examples of Catalan Gothic art and admirable examples of Modernism. The city is famous for its nightlife and entertainment which has made it a popular holiday destination for young people.

WHAT TO SEE IN BARCELONA: THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS

In Barcelona, ancient and modern combine perfectly and it is possible to walk in places of medieval and modern interest. Including “El Barrio Gótico”, “Las Ramblas”, “Plaza Catalunya”, “Puerto Olimpico”, the “Picasso Museum”, the “Fundaciò Miró” and the splendid architectural works of Antonio Gaudí, such as “La Sagrada Familia” and “La Pedrera”.

THE GOTHIC QUARTER

The Gothic Quarter (Barrio Gótico) is one of the oldest and most interesting neighborhoods in Barcelona. In this neighborhood are the Palacio de la Generalitat, the Palacio del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), Plaça del Rei, Plaça Reial, the Gothic cathedral of Sant’Eulalia and the medieval palaces of Casa del Canonges, Pia Almoina and Ardiaca.

LAS RAMBLAS: THE MOST FAMOUS STREET IN BARCELONA

The most famous street in Barcelona is Las Ramblas. A 2 km long avenue full of cafes, theaters, shops, galleries, clubs where people of all ages, of different cultures, nationalities and social classes flock. Along Las Ramblas are the Iglesia de Betlem, the Palacio de Moya and the Academia de Sciencias, the Mercado de la Boquería, the Palacio de la Virreina and the Casa Bruno Cuadros. At the end of Las Ramblas on the sea side there is the Port with the Colon Tower (Christopher Columbus Tower), a few steps away is the Maritime Museum dedicated above all to the naval history of the Mediterranean Sea.

THE WORKS OF ANTONI GAUDÍ

El Ensanche (L’Eixample) is the modern center of the city, built between 1870 and 1936, designed by the architect Cerdá. The most famous structures are those designed and built by Antoni Gaudí, such as Park Güell, Palacio Güell, and the immense cathedral of the Sagrada Familia. Other works by Gaudì are the Casa Milà (La Pedrera), the Casa Vicens and the Casa Batlló. All of Gaudi’s works were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

The Plaza de Cataluña is the central square of the neighborhood. An example of Catalan modernism is instead Palau de la Música Catalana by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. This building is located in the San Pere district on Laietana street, parallel to the Rambla. It too was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 together with the Hospital de Sant Pau.

The Parc de la Ciutadella is an interesting park full of monuments, which houses the Barcelona Zoo, the Museu de Ciències Naturals, and the Catalan Parliament.

THE MONTJUÏC HILL

To enjoy a splendid panorama of the whole city you can go up to Montjuïc, the small mountain located near the port, on top of which is the Castle of Montjuïc, an ancient military fortress. In Montjuïc there is the botanical garden which presents a unique collection of cacti. The hill was also the main venue for the 1992 Olympics. Here are some structures designed for the Olympics. Including the Olimpic Lluís Companys stadium, designed by the Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti. The sports palace (Palau San Jordi), designed by Arata Isozaki, the swimming pools and the communications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Among the Barcelona museums, the Fundació Joan Miró, the Museu Picasso, the National Museum of Catalan Art (one of the largest collections of Romanesque art in the world), and finally the Museum of Contemporary Art are worth a visit.

HOW TO MOVE: UNDERGROUND AND URBAN TRANSPORT OF BARCELONA

Barcelona is served by a six-line metro network that spans a total of 86.6 kilometers with 123 stations. In addition to the metro network, the city also has an urban railway network managed by the Generalitat of Catalunya (FGC). All public transport in Barcelona (Metro, bus and city rail) are integrated into a single system of fares managed by the Transport Metropolitan Authority (ATM). The network of city buses that connect every part of the city is very widespread.

HOW TO GET THERE: FLIGHTS TO BARCELONA

The Barcelona airport is the Barcelona El Prat International Airport (IATA: BCN), it is located 10 km from the city center in the suburb of El Prat de Llobregat. Barcelona airport is the second largest in Spain after Madrid. All major European countries and numerous nations of Africa and America are connected by flights with Barcelona.

Another airport used, especially by low cost airlines, is that of Girona-Costa Brava Airport, which is located about 90 km away.

The climate of Barcelona.

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