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Barcelona Through The Ages

May 27, 2008
Barcelona is Spain's second largest city, both from a geographical perspective and from a population perspective. It provides a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new. Its rich history and culture have strong Mediterranean influences, setting it apart from other cities in Spain. This influence, along with its exciting history, makes Barcelona a fascinating holiday destination today.

Barcelona was founded around the year 230 BC by the Carthaginians. It changed hands many times and was invaded and then inhabited by the Visigoths, the Muslims and then the armies of what is now France.

The Empire that controlled Barcelona saw periods of growth and decline over the centuries and these typically corresponded with times of peace and of war. Today, Spain is made up of seventeen autonomous communities and Barcelona is the capital of the community known as Catalonia. It is located on the northeastern shores of the Iberian Peninsula. It has two official languages Catalan and Castilian Spanish.

Barcelona has made an effort to preserve its historic Gothic center and this adds to the juxtaposition of old and new that is evident in the city. You can find an old maze of narrow streets that contrasts with the modern grid-like layout of the new infrastructure in the Eixample which is Barcelona's enlargement and urban planning project. Many buildings in Barcelona provide evidence of those who once inhabited the land. You can see many monuments to the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods of the city. However, Barcelona is also a center of Modernist architecture and it is at the forefront of international trends. These contrasting styles that can be found side-by-side in Barcelona make it a fascinating city.

Barcelona experienced a major economic revival during the onset of industrialization and since the mid 1800s it has continued to grow. It hosted the World's Fair in 1888. Today, Barcelona is one of the economic leaders in the area. It is a modern cosmopolitan city with a large variety of entertaining and vibrant night time activities. The city is home to many discos and pubs, concerts and terraces. It also hosts a number of popular fiestas and shows.

Barcelona boasts a large variety of holiday accommodation options. You can stay in hotels which range in quality and price. Hotels in Barcelona have 85% room occupancy throughout the year, so if you choose to stay in a hotel, you must make sure to book your room well in advance. Another option, that is not widely taken advantage of in Barcelona, is holiday rental apartments. These are a very worthwhile choice as they offer you privacy and space. As they are not widely chosen as an accommodation option, there are many available throughout the city including areas where it is very difficult to find hotel accommodation, such as near the beach.

Other accommodation options include aparthotels. These are apartments that are attached to a hotel. They offer more space and privacy than staying in the hotel would, however they do not offer all the amenities that would be available in the hotel itself.
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