Barcelona is the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in north-eastern Spain. The city rests on the Mediterranean coast and it boasts a population of 1,593,075 inhabitants. It is thought that Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, the Carthaginian politician and statesman, originally founded the city. Since than, the city has been under the control of the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors and the Napoleonic French Empire. Following the fall of Napoleon, the city was returned to Spanish rule. At the start of the 20th century, Catalan nationalists began the struggle for autonomous rule, which was finally granted in 1978 following the death of Franco.
This rich history is apparent in many of Barcelona's streets. Visitors can wander the charming, winding streets of Barri Gotic – the well-kept medieval city centre. The city also boasts a beautiful Gothic Quarter, home to impressive buildings such as the Church of Santa Maria del Pi and the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia. For those interested in more modern architecture, the city is dotted with the beautiful work of the late Barcelona resident, Antoni Gaudí. Some examples of his stunning work include, the Palau Güell mansion and the Parc Güell, both of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Barcelona is a bustling, modern metropolis in which visitors are guaranteed a glimpse of lively city life if they wander down the busy tree lined walkway known as La Rambla. For those looking for a more relaxing look at life in Barcelona, a trip to the Gàrcia area offers numerous cafes to quietly watch the world go by. Barcelona also boasts beautiful beaches and boardwalks, where visitors and locals can enjoy the sunshine. The city is home a famous zoo, which holds an impressive conservation record.