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Barcelona(bär'səlō`nə, Catalan bär'səlō`nə, Span. bär'thālō`nä), city (1990 pop. 4,738,354), capital of Barcelona prov. and of CataloniaCatalonia
, Catalan Catalunya, Span. Cataluña, autonomous community (2011 pop. 7,519,843), 12,390 sq mi (32,090 sq km), NE Spain, stretching from the Pyrenees at the French border southward along the Mediterranean Sea.
..... Click the link for more information. , NE Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea.
Situated on a plain between the Llobregat and Besós rivers and lying between mountains and the sea, Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain, its largest port, and its chief commercial and industrial center. It is also the seat of two universities and many other educational institutions. Textiles, machinery, automobiles, locomotives, airplanes, and electrical equipment are the chief manufactures. International banking and finance are also important.
Points of Interest
A handsome modern city, Barcelona has broad avenues, bustling traffic, and striking new buildings. The old city, with winding, narrow streets (Roman walls are still visible), has many historic structures, including the imposing Cathedral of Santa Eulalia (13th–15th cent.) with its fine cloisters, the Church of Santa María del Mar, the city hall, and the Lonja or exchange. Also notable is the Church of the Sagrada Familia (begun 1882), designed by Antonio GaudíGaudí i Cornet, Antonio
, 1852–1926, Spanish architect. Working mainly in Barcelona, he created startling new architectural forms that paralleled the stylistic development of art nouveau or modernismo.
..... Click the link for more information. . Barcelona is the site of the Fine Arts Museum of Catalonia, the Contemporary Art Museum, museums of Miró's, Picasso's and Dali's works, and a noted opera house.
Barcelona was founded by the Carthaginians, and, according to tradition, it supposedly derives its name from the great BarcaBarca,
surname, probably meaning lightning, given members of a powerful Carthaginian family: see Hamilcar Barca; Hannibal; Hasdrubal.
..... Click the link for more information. family of Carthage. The city flourished under the Romans and Visigoths, fell to the Moors (8th cent.), and was taken (801) by Charlemagne, who included it in the Spanish March. In the 9th to 10th cent. the march became independent under the leadership of the powerful counts of Barcelona, who wrested lands to the south from the Moors, thus acquiring all Catalonia. The counts also won suzerainty over several fiefs in S France.
The marriage of Count Raymond Berengar IV to the heiress of Aragón united (1137) the two lands under one dynasty; the title, count of Barcelona, was subsequently borne by the kings of Aragón, who made the city their capital, and later the kings of Spain. Under its strong municipal government Barcelona vastly expanded both its Mediterranean trade, becoming a rival of Genoa and Venice, and its cloth industry and flourished as a banking center. Reaching its peak around 1400, the city later shared in the general decline of Catalonia. It was repeatedly (1640–52, 1715, 1808–14) occupied by the French.
Barcelona was always the stronghold of Catalan separatism and was the scene of many insurrections. It was the center of the Catalan revolt (1640–52) against Philip IV of Spain. Later it also became the Spanish center of anarchism, syndicalism, and other radical political beliefs. It was the capital of the Catalan autonomous government (1932–39) and the seat of the Spanish Loyalist government from Oct., 1937, until its fall to Franco on Jan. 26, 1939. Barcelona remained a center of separatism and political liberalism; in the 1950s, it was the scene of sporadic demonstrations against the Franco regime. Present-day Barcelona is a cultural center of Spain, and since the 1970s it has reasserted its Catalan linguistic character. By the 2010s it was the capital of a economically vibrant Catalonia focused on greater autonomy or independence, increasingly in conflict with Madrid. It was the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics.
See A. Boyd, The Essence of Catalonia (1988), L. Permanyer, Barcelona Art Nouveau (1999).
city and port in northeastern Spain on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea between the Besós and Llobregat rivers.
Barcelona is the administrative center of Catalonia and the province of Barcelona. In terms of population, it is the second largest city in the country after Madrid. The population is 1,800,000 (according to the census of 1968; 1,081,200 in 1940; 1,280,200 in 1950; 1,538,700 in 1960). The area of the municipal region of Barcelona is approximately 10,000 hectares.
Historical survey. Barcelona was probably founded by the Carthaginians in the third century B.C. Between 877 and 1137 it was the capital of the province of Barcelona, which was later united with Aragon. From the 13th to 15th century Barcelona was a very important commercial city on the Mediterranean Sea, on a par with Genoa and Venice. Beginning in the 17th century Barcelona became the center of the national liberation struggle of the Catalan people against Spanish absolutism. Beginning in the mid- 19th century it was the most important center of the Spanish workers’ movement. In 1870 the First Congress of the Spanish Section of the First International took place in Barcelona. In 1909 a general strike in Barcelona developed into an armed uprising (the Bloody Week of July 26–31). From 1918 to 1920 an acute struggle took place in Barcelona between the workers and democratic forces and the forces of reaction (on the one hand, the general strikes of 1919–20; on the other hand, the white terror of 1920). Barcelona was a main stronghold during the national revolutionary war of the Spanish people (1936–39). (From November 1937 to Jan. 26, 1939, it was the provisional capital of the Spanish Republic.) In Franco’s Spain, Barcelona is one of the main centers of the democratic and workers’ movements (especially since the 1950’s).
Economic and geographical survey. Barcelona is an important economic center of Spain. It is a junction for maritime, railroad, air, and automobile transportation. The port of Barcelona has a man-made harbor (length of docks, 9,500 m). In terms of freight turnover (7.7 million tons in 1965) and the number of ships it can accommodate (13,400), it is one of the largest ports on the Mediterranean Sea. The country’s important banks are concentrated in Barcelona. It is the largest industrial city in Spain. Eighty-five to 90 percent of Catalonia’s industrial production is concentrated in Barcelona and its province. Among the major industries are textiles (largest center in Spain), electrometallurgical products, machine-building (mainly ships, automobiles, locomotives, and machine tools), chemicals, electrical engineering products, cement, food-processing, woodworking, and leather products. Barcelona is a commercial center of international importance. The international exhibitions of 1888 and 1929 were held there.
Barcelona is made up of three parts: the Old City, the New City, and the former suburbs. Mount Tibidabo (532 m) dominates the city. Barcelona has a subway (25 km). The industrial suburbs are San Andrés, Gracia (in the north), and San Martin (“the Spanish Manchester,” in the south), Barcelona has a university (founded in the 15th century) and other institutions of higher learning. There is a theater of opera and ballet, a conservatory, an astronomical observatory, museums (historical, archaeological, geological, naval, fine arts, modern art, and others), and a zoo.
Architecture and planning. The business center of the city is the Plaza de Cataluña, which is located between the Old City, with its narrow streets and flat-roofed houses (in the vicinity of the port) and the New City (southwestern Barcelona), with its rectangular blocks and wide, tree-lined avenues. Among the many architectural monuments that have been preserved are the Church of San Pablo del Campo (founded in the tenth century, rebuilt in 1120; Romanesque facade, 13th century); the Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona (1298–15th century); the Church of Santa Maria del Mar (1320–70); the stock exchange (1380–92; annexes, 1763); the Audiencia law court (mid-15th century); the Baroque Church of Nuestra Señora de Belén (1687–1729); and the Güell Palace (1885–89) and Church of the Sagrada Familia (begun in 1884), both built according to A. Gaudfs design. Among the newest buildings are the SEAT Automobile Factory (1954–56, by the architect R. de la Joya and others); the building of the law faculty of the university (1956, by the architect G. Dávila and others); the soccer stadium (1959, by the architect L. G. Barbon and others); and the building of the College of Architects (1963), with a frieze after a sketch by P. Picasso.
REFERENCESAinaud de Lasarte, J. La ciudad de Barcelona, vols. 1–2. Madrid, 1947.
Romero, L. Barcelona. Barcelona, 1954.