Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community that is officially part of Spain, and is in the north-east part of the country. The official language in Barcelona and Catalonia is Catalan, though everybody speaks and understands Castilian. The Catalans have fought for theirIndependence since the unification with Spain (around 1492). At the end of the war at the beginning of the seventeen hundreds (1700) Barcelona fell defeated to the French troops, who forbade the use of Catalan, though they never actually achieved wiping it out. Catalonia managed to form its own government around 1931, but after the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) the famous fascist dictator General Franco took over Spain and renamed all the streets of Barcelona and Catalonia. He ruled against the use of Catalan and the teaching of it. Franco’s rule lasted until 1975 when he died. In 1978 the first democratic constitution was created in Spain and Catalonia, which could reaffirm its genuine identity. Today Cataloniahas its own government, called the Generalitat, as well as the central Spanish government.
Barcelona can be a very hot city in summer. Normally its average temperature in summer is around 29 degrees (84F) and inwinter its temperature is around 11 degrees ( 52F). Rain is more common in April. Rarely does it snow in the city.
Over four million people live in Barcelona and the surrounding conurbation. It is the second largest city in Spain. The most important mainstays of the economy are its trade port and tourism.
Barcelona has been one of the tourist capitals of Europe since the 1992Olympic games. Nowadays, over seven million people visit us every year.
POLITICS AND CULTURE
Today Barcelona continues to be a city with the culture of its own language. However, due to the constant arrival of immigrants from Latin America and other places around Spain, Spanish is making itself evermore felt inthe city. Also on a political level, the majority of Catalans fight to achieve Independence from Spain.
They say that the cityof Barcelona is like an artist’s canvas. There are the collared curved buildings of Antonio Gaudí and the impressive medieval heritage blended to give the unique architecture of the city. Barcelona also has more modern buildings, such as the Olympic stadium and the figure of the whale in the Olympic port of Barcelona.
Night life in Barcelona starts very late, from 11 or 12 pm onwardsthe city becomes one of the capitals of the night in Europe. The night clubs can stay open until dawn. Barcelona offers musical culture for the tastes of everybody: electronic music clubs, Rock,pop,Latin music jazz, etc. Barcelona also offers a great variety of classical music and opera, in the Gran Theater the Liceo and in the Palau de la Música.You can also enjoy a night of Flamenco and dinner in the tablao del Carmen, one of the best places in Barcelona to enjoy flamenco.´
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
If you need an ambulance, police or firemen, call 112
British consulate- Tel: +34 93 366 62 00
Consulate United States- Tel: +34 93 280 22 27
Information for tourists:
There are various offices giving tourist information.
There you can ask questions, get maps and other types of information.
The main office is in Plaza Catalonia, very near to the el Corte Ingles.