Like many other cities on the Mediterranean, Barcelona was founded by the Romans. The original settlement, called Barcino, was a small port located on the same spot as today’s cathedral. The town was overshadowed by Tarragona, the capital of the province. Both the Visigoths and the Moors invaded Barcelona; however, their influence was not as important to the future of the city as the arrival of the Franks in the late 9th century. It was at that point that Barcelona and Catalonia started shaping their own identity, different from the rest of Spain.
This is most apparent in the language - Spanish, or Castilian, has many Arabic words, while Catalan has many French words instead. So Catalan is not a Spanish dialect, but a language in its own right, related to other Romance languages.
Barcelona’s history is seen everywhere in the city. The oldest areas are located by the sea, including the shopping enclave Barri Gotic. On the other side of the main boulevard, La Rambla, lies the legendary Raval district. Until the 1980’s this was the slum area, home to the city’s own Chinatown (Barrio Chino) and the red light district. Today, designer shops and cafés have moved in. Further north is fashionable Eixample, the area created as a result of the 19th century expansion of the city.
El Born Centre Cultural i de Memoria
11 September 1714 marks a crucial chapter in the history of Catalonia: the fierce siege of the Bourbonic troops of King Philip V, which ended in the capitulation of Barcelona and the loss of Catalan liberties. El Born CC shows the vivacious, dynamic Barcelona of 1700 and the events of 1714 in the context of the War of the Spanish Succession. The archaeological site contains the remains of the neighbourhood demolished by King Philip V of Spain.
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site
Sant Pau is Barcelona’s new wonder. The world’s largest Art Nouveau site has been restored and invites you to enjoy one of the most emblematic works of architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, Sant Pau is a city within the city, 12 buildings of great architectural value surrounded by gardens where history and architecture exist side by side.
The only ice bar in the world located directly on the beach, Icebarcelona offers a welcome respite from the oppressive heat of the Barcelona summer. Maintained at a chilled -5ºC, and the cool lighting and interesting ice sculptures complete the bar's unique ambiance.
Good to know
Tickets for the underground and trams can be bought from travel information booths and from stations. They are valid for one trip. Bus tickets are bought from the driver. There are also a selection of different travel cards to purchase if you know that you will travel a lot.
220 volts (125 volts in some older buildings), 50 Hz