Catalonia is situated in the Northeast of Spain. It covers a quasi-triangular area of 32,000 sq. km, has about 6 million inhabitants and generates approximately 20% of Spain's GNP. The Catalonian region and its people have gradually shaped their own history, language (Catalan) and culture. The main cities in Catalonia are: Barcelona, which is a major European city. Tarragona's importance lies in its Roman remains. Lleida has Roman and Arabic remains. Girona is a city of great character where each culture has left important traces.
The name Barcelona comes from Barcino, the roman settlement in the 2nd century BC. Many remains of that ancient Barcino can still be seen today at different places in the Old City. In 985 the Almansour's muslin troops razed the city to the ground. It was rebuilt soon afterwards and it kept growing and progressing through the Middle Ages.
Until the end of the 19th century, Barcelona comprised the area now known as "Ciutat Vella", or the Old City. This district is mainly composed by the Gothic Quarter, "La Rambla" and "El Raval", and is famous for its historic monuments, narrow streets and vaguely bohemian atmosphere. The "Eixample" is the area over which the city began to spread from 1860, following the demolition of the medieval city walls. This area is an example of urban planning in Europe with a great number of modernist buildings, many of them designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi (Sagrada Familia, Parc GŘell and La Pedrera).
Nowadays, Barcelona is a city open to the sea. The trading port is the third most important one in the Mediterranean and the favourite stop-over point for luxury cruise liners. The coast continues through the "Barceloneta", a traditional fishing and sailing area, to the Olympic Village. In between the Olympic Marina and the 4km of beach constitute and excellent area of sports and leisure.
Barcelona has many museums, exhibition halls and religious building. From the two adjacent hills, "Tibidabo" and "Montju´c", which are areas of amusement, leisure and cultural activities, you can have a terrific view over the city.
# Barcelona (QuickTime format)
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