Barcelona is a huge, sprawling city in the northeast of Spain. It was founded, according to tradition, by Hamilcar Barca sometime around 237 BC. Hamilcar was the leader of the Carthaginians, father of the famous Hannibal. This ancient city now supports a population of some 5 million Catalans, making it the second largest in Spain.



The city is famous as a sea-port and also as a center of art and culture. Its avenues are very broad, and it is laid out on a huge grid system. In 1992, it was the location for the Olympic Games. Jim and Diane stand at the edge of a cliff overlooking the city and sea-port in a park near the Olympic center.

Barcelona’s grand cathedral, St. Eulalia, dominates the Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city. Barcelona was ruled by the Romans, and there are many Roman remains here. It was conquered by the Visigoths in the 5th century, and Charlemagne in the 801 AD. Eventually, it became the most important city in the kingdom of Aragon, but declined after Aragon and Castile were united. The native language is Catalan which is now undergoing a revival.

For a time, Barcelona rivaled Genoa and Venice a great sea-trading powers. It is perhaps not surprising then that the Genoa-born Christopher Columbus came to Spain to find support for his journeys to the new world. A great statue to the man King Ferdinand eventually dubbed “the Admiral of the Ocean Sea” is found pointing out to sea in the port area of Barcelona.


Barcelona is a great city of art. Almost everywhere one turns sculptures, old and new, abound. Parks are a favorite venue for large sculpture pieces. And architecture, from the baroque to the post-modern, is always a fascination.


Barcelona has many interesting styles of architecture. Here is a baroque style building near the port. The people of Barcelona love to get out with their families and celebrate the joys of life.

Perhaps the most famous architect whose works still draw attention in Barcelona, is Antonio Gaudi. His Sagrada Familia, a great basilica, dominates the skyline and is a continuing wonder. (For views of this great Church, click here.)


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