Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia and Spain’s second largest city, with a population of over one and half million people (over five million in the whole province). Barcelona is the city of the football club FC Barcelona.This city, located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history, having been under Roman, then Frank law before declaring its independence. In 1992, Barcelona gained international recognition by hosting the Olympic games which brought a massive upturn in its tourism industry. This had the effect of changing the city in ways that are still felt today with neighbourhoods renovated (and in some cases leveled) and the intense focus of modern design permeating all aspects of life in Barcelona from public buildings to something as simple as a park bench or an event poster.For visitors, this has translated into the very modern, yet incredibly old city you see now in the 21st century, where the new elements work to both preserve and celebrate the ancient.This beautiful city is full of what European cities are known for (outdoor markets, restaurants, shops, museums and churches) and is fantastic for walking with an extensive and reliable Metro system for more far-flung destinations. The core centre of town, focused around the Ciutat Vella (“Old City”) provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona while the beaches the city was built upon provide sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeably warm weather.The exact circumstances of the founding of the city of Barcelona are uncertain, but the remains of a settlement many thousands of years old have been found in the neighborhood of Raval. While legend has Hannibal’s father founding Barcelona in the 3rd Century B.C., there is no substantiating evidence.The Roman PeriodAround 15 B.C., the Romans established the military camp of Faventia near the present-day Barcelona city hall. The colony was, at first, dwarfed in size by nearby Tarraco but soon grew large and prosperous, largely due to its excellent harbor.To this day, there are vestiges in Barcelona of its Roman past, many on display at the Barcelona City History Museum. In the city’s historic center, the original Roman street grid is still discernible. There are also fragments of ancient Roman walls built into the Basilica La Seu, a cathedral dating from the 4th Century A.D.Medieval TimesInvading Visigoths captured Barcelona in the 5th Century and made it, though briefly, the capital of Gothic Spain. By the 8th Century, Islamic invaders took the city, but in 801, the French wrested it back into Christian hands and made it the capital of a new buffer state called the “Hispanic March.The Hispanic March was ruled by the Count of Barcelona, and as time wore on, local counts became increasingly independent of French rule. The County of Barcelona soon annexed all Catalonia and generally prospered, though in 985, the city was sacked by Almanzor, ruler of Muslim Andalusia. In 1137, the County of Barcelona was united to Aragon by royal marriage, ultimately forming the single Crown of Aragon. The County of Barcelona, united with the rest of the Catalan Counties, formed the Principality of Catalonia, which remained in personal union with the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca and others under the same Crown. Aragon then built up an empire, which included Naples and Sicily and achieved naval domination of the western Mediterranean.In 1469, the Crown Aragon was united to Castile, again by royal marriage, and soon after Madrid instead of Barcelona became the capital of the new Monarchy of Spain. When Spain gained a New World Empire, the importance of Mediterranean commerce, and thus of Barcelona, declined.Modern TimesBarcelona remained a hotbed of insurgency long after union with Castile, and this led to the failed Catalan Revolt of 1640 to 1652. Also damaging the city at this time was the Great Plague, which killed half the population. Barcelona took some damage during the Napoleanic Wars, but the 19th Century Industrial Revolution improved the city’s fortunes, while at the same time it turned into a revolutionary center.In 1931 Barcelona was one of the first cities to proclaim the Second Spanish Republic and it was declared the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia the same year. During the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s, Barcelona was a stronghold of Republicanism but was eventually overrun by Anarchists and Communists until the Fascist Franco regime took the city and won the war. Francisco Franco ruled as dictator until his death in 1975, after which the monarchy was re-established under Juan Carlos I, who in turn, transitioned to democratic rule.In more recent decades, Barcelona, again the capital of the autonomous Catalonia, has gained importance as an economic center and as one of Europe’s busiest ports. In 1992, the city garnered attention by hosting the Summer Olympics.The city of Barcelona has a classic “Mediterranean climate” with mild, humid winters and hot, dry summers. While there are four distinct seasons to the year, they are not at all of equal length if measured by conditions rather than equinoxes: “summer” lasts from May till October (half the year), cooler winter temperatures continue for three months, (December, January and February), and the transitional periods of spring and fall are only represented by the single months of April and November.The hottest month of the year is August, which has average highs of 29 C (84 F) and average lows of 23 C (74 F). The coldest month is January, with highs averaging 14 C (59 F) and lows averaging 9 C (49 F). April has average highs of 19 C (66 F) and average lows of 13 C (55 F), while November has highs of 18 C (64 F) and lows of 12 C (53 F).As Barcelona’s position on the Mediterranean coast makes it a haven for swimming and sailing, the sea temperature is of interest to many tourists. The average annual mean of seawater near Barcelona is 20 C (68 F). In January, the mean is 13 C (13 C), and in August, it is 26 C (79 F).Temperatures tend to be relatively steady in Barcelona, rarely going through drastic fluctuation during the day- and this is especially the case in the summer. During winter, the warm seawater prevents most frosts, temperatures almost never drop below freezing and snow only falls once or twice in a decade.Barcelona receives 640 mm (25 Inches) of rainfall per year, with the rainiest season being autumn and the least-rainy season being the summer. A typical year has 55 rain days, meaning days during which rainfall is one millimeter or greater. The important things for tourists to note are that September and October see a good deal of rain, June and July are very dry and the rest of the year has moderate to light rainfall.Relative humidity averages 72% across the year, with July being the least-humid month (69% humidity) and October being the most-humid month (75% humidity). While fog is relatively infrequent in Barcelona during most of the year, in early springtime sea fog often lingers in the area as warm African air masses move in over significantly colder sea water.There are over 2,500 sunlight hours per year, and there is great seasonal fluctuation. December has the fewest sunshine hours at 138 and 4.5 per day, and July gets the most sunshine at 310 hours and 10 hours per day. Overall, Barcelona is not a particularly windy city, but sea breezes are not uncommon in the summer, and they can occasionally bring storms that flood the coastline. During the summer and fall, thunderstorms are common and occasionally quite severe. Winds blowing from the Atlantic and across the Iberian Peninsula usually arrive in Barcelona with little humidity and no rain.Barcelona has a population of 1.6 million within its city limits and 5.3 million within its metropolitan area, making it the second-most populous city in Spain. Its also one of the most densely populated cities in all of Europe, having over 16,000 residents per square km. Furthermore, since half the city’s territory contains only 10% of the population, the other half has nearly double the density of the city as a whole.Sixty-two percent of Barcelona’s people are native to Catalonia, and another 24% moved there from some other part of Spain. Thus, a large majority of the population are of Spanish descent. However, 17% of residents hail from another country €” up from only four percent in 2001. The foreign-born populations consists of Arabs, Italians, Chinese, Ecuadorians and Bolivians among others. There is also a Jewish community of 3,500 €” the largest in Spain €” and a small Japanese community.Spanish is spoken almost universally in Barcelona, but the Catalan language has also made a comeback due to intensive efforts in the school systems in recent years. Catalan is understood by 95% of residents, spoken by 72% and written by 53%.While a majority of Barcelona’s people have historically been Roman Catholic, a 2011 survey found that just 49.5% identify as Catholic. There are a number of other religious groups in the city that have sizable followings. First, there are over 300,000 Muslims, which is the largest Muslim population in all of Spain. The Jewish community of 3,500, as one could well guess, continues to follow Judaism. Finally, there are a good number of Evangelicals, Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Buddhists present in Barcelona.Economically, Barcelona’s people are fairly well off. The nominal GDP of Barcelona’s metro area was ‚¬151.1bn in 2016 according to Eurostat. Meanwhile, GDP of the city itself is estimated at about ‚¬50bn or ‚¬28,510 per capita.Ever since the 18th Century, when Barcelona and Catalonia were among the first parts of Europe to industrialize, manufacturing has been a major occupation of the city’s residents. Commerce has an even longer history in Barcelona, and that tradition continues to the present day. Trade fairs, media outlets, fashion centers, educational institutions and scientific endeavors are also all prevalent in the city. Tourism, however, is one of the biggest industries. Specifically, Barcelona is the tenth-most visited city on the planet and the third-most visited in Europe, seeing over eight million tourists every single year.”As the capital and main cultural center of Catalonia, Barcelona is also the central “literary hub” of works produced in the Catalan language. Under the long rule of the Franco dictatorship, Catalan was systematically suppressed and discouraged, but in recent decades, it has emerged with new life. It is being taught once again in Barcelona’s school system, and most of the city’s people now understand it. Spanish works are also, of course, important in Barcelona’s literary tradition, and is the vehicle through which the city interacts with the rest of Spain and much of the world.Some of the most popular literary works of Barcelona, both in Catalan and in Spanish (and often with an English translation) are as follows:August is probably the busiest time in Barcelona

Airport: BCN Barcelona International Airport Cities in Spain

Country: Spain