History of Barcelona: Overview
One legend claims that Barcelona was founded by Hercules 400 years before Rome was built. Another story credits Hannibal’s father, Hamilcar Barca, who named the city Barcino in the 3rd century BC. In 15 BC the Romans made the town a military camp centered on a little hill near the contemporary city hall known as Placa de Sant Jaume. Barcelona was given several names by the Romans over the centuries and continued to flourish because of its beautiful harbor and panoramic view of the Mediterranean. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the 5th century and the Moors took control in the 8th century. The territory continued to expand and all of Catalonia was under the control of the Count of Barcelona by 1137. Through the centuries Barcelona was devastated by plagues, bank crashes, rebellions and wars. The rich history along with the turmoil it endured gives the city a special quality and a cultural atmosphere that is truly unique.
Thanks to Barcelona’s desire to be a thriving and functioning part of the Autonomous Community of Catalina, the city is the second largest in Spain and the Spanish capital. There are 1,625,000 people living in the city and it is the sixth most populated urban area in the European Union with 4,185,000 people living in the metropolitan area. The city is now Europe’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Barcelona sits on the coast between the Llobregat and Besos River and the Serra de Collserola ridge is to the west. The city is an important finance, entertainment, media and arts center as well as an international trade center. Barcelona is a major tourist destination because of its cultural heritage and the architectural works of Antoni Gaudi and Liuia Domenech i Montaner.
Most important districts in Barcelona
- Ciutat Vella - an old town in Barcelona.
- Eixample - Modernist quarter.
- Gràcia - with narrow streets
- Barceloneta - beaches, restaurants and cafes.