With a 2006 population of 1,670,000, Barcelona is Spain's second-largest city and is located in the north east region of the country on the Mediterranean coast. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community within Spain that borders France and Andorra.
Barcelona is a buzzing, exciting place to visit. From its Mediterranean beaches to its rich culture and Art Nouveau architecture, there is no shortage of things to do and see here. The center of the old city is known as the Gothic Quarter in Catalan, and is a medieval plan featuring the well known Las Ramblas, a tree-lined pedestrian mall that is very popular with locals and tourists alike. The City Center features many medieval buildings as well as some that date back to the original Roman settlement of Barcelona.
Barcelona is also known for its Art Nouveau architecture, which was developed between 1885 and 1950. The most famous architect of this style is Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926). One of the most popular tourist sites is La Sagrada Familia – Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece which he devoted 40 years to, a Roman Catholic Basilica which is actually scheduled to be completed around 2026. Another of his famous works is the Casa Mila, an undulating apartment complex that was built between 1905 and 1907.
Barcelona is also a city of parks, with 68 municipal parks in total. One of the most notable was also designed by the omnipresent Gaudi, and inspired by English gardens, is called Park Guell. There are also 12 historic parks, as well as a zoo.
There are many great theaters in Barcelona, most notably the world renowned Gran Teatre del Liceu opera theater, and many fine museums as well. Be sure to visit the Picasso Museum and Fundacio Antonio Tapies to enjoy many great works from these artists. The National Museum of Art of Catalonia features a highly regarded collection of Romanesque art. For something more unusual, check out the Erotic Museum of Barcelona, and to see the 2006 European Museum of the Year award winner, be sure to visit the science museum Cosmocaixa.