Catalonia is a region of Spain located in the northeastern end of the Iberian Peninsula. This region to the north is bordered by France and Andorra, while to the east and south it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea with about 580 km of coasts, finally it borders with the Valencian Community to the south, and Aragon to the west.
The region in the past was part of the possessions of the king of Aragon, and still differs in its language, Catalan. But all the inhabitants obviously also speak Castilian (Spanish). A curious thing is that another official language besides Catalan and Spanish is Aranese, an Occitan dialect spoken in the Arán valley by just over four thousand people.
Catalonia is made up of 4 provinces: Barcelona, Gerona (Girona), Lérida (Lleida), and Tarragona. The capital is Barcelona, which is the second largest city in Spain by population and represents the driving force of the Spanish economy. The economy of Catalonia is the most important in Spain, the region is in fact highly industrialized.
Geographically, Catalonia is enclosed between the sea and the Pyrenees. In the center of the region there is a low plain where the Segre river flows, a tributary of the Ebro, while in the far south it is crossed by the Ebro. Most of the region’s territory is mountainous, along the coast there are the mountain ranges of the Cordillera Litoral and the Cordillera Prelitoral. In the latter, the Turó de l’Home in the Sierra de Montseny exceeds 1,700 meters in height. To the north the majestic peaks of the Pyrenees rise, here, along the border with France, there is the highest mountain in Catalonia, the Pica d’Estats (3,143 meters).
Tourism is one of the pivotal activities of the regional economy. The main tourist destinations in Catalonia are the city of Barcelona, with its ramblas, the Sagrada Familia, the Barrio Gótico. The Roman remains of Tarragona. The beaches and resorts of the Costa Brava and Costa Daurada. The beautiful Pyrenees mountains with their ski areas and nature trails. Like those of the only national park in Catalonia, the Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes y Lago de San Mauricio, located in the central part of the Catalan Pyrenees, the region also has 8 natural parks.
In Catalonia there are 6 sites declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site: The archaeological ensemble of the city of Tarragona. The Romanesque churches of the Valle de Boí. The monastery of Poblet. The Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona. Antoni Gaudí’s works in Barcelona (Sagrada Família, Parc Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Casa Vicens, Casa Batlló and the church of Colònia Güell in the Barcelona suburb of Santa Coloma de Cervelló). The prehistoric art of the Mediterranean basin in the Iberian Peninsula (numerous sites in different regions of Spain).
- Area: 32.114 km²
- Population: 7,500,000 (2019)
- Capital: Barcelona