Barcelona the city dear to my heart. It has been a love affair since the first time I landed here.
That was back early 2000 where i used to go on holidays from London with my friends.
My eyes couldn't believe to the splendor of this vibrant city. Since then my love for this city began to grow.
I kept for years going regularly to enjoy music festivals like "Sonar' specialized in electronic music.... and clubbing ( the scene here is amazing ).
As the time went by I met my present husband who is from Barcelona, and obviously we have been coming here yearly ever since to meet his amazing family and beautiful friends.
In the past year ( 2021 onward ) we have had the opportunity to live here half part of the year ( then the rest in London when we are residents ) and this has given me the chance to discover Barcelona and its surrounding much more in depth and discovering all its details.
Here some Barcelonas's history
HOW WAS BARCELONA BORN?
The first human settlements in Barcelona date back to Neolithic and early Chalcolithic periods. These remains have been found on the coastal plain near the city. The ruins of an early settlement have been excavated in the El Raval neighborhood, including different tombs and dwellings dating to earlier than 5000 BC.
Later, in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the area was settled by the Laietani, who were an ancient Iberian Pre-Roman people of the Iberian Peninsula (the Roman Hispania ). They inhabited the area occupied by the city of Barcelona. One of the main connection route of the city, Via Laietana, is named after the Laietani at Barkeno ( as Iberians used to call it ) in the present-day Cuitat Vella, or "Old City". The Romans arrived on the on the 1st century BC choosing as capital, first the costal town Tarraco ( now Tarragona, south of Barcelona )
The city itself was founded at the end of the 1st beginning by the Romans who set up a colony called "BARCINO". The name Barcino ( now Barcelona ) was formalised around the end of the reign of Caesar Augustus (AD 14). By the 2nd century, the city had the form of an "Oppidum" ( the shape you see of Barcino in the picture below ). The colony had some thousands inhabitants and was bounded by a defensive wall, which the remains can still be seen in the old part of the town, called Gothic Quarter especially in the "Plaza del Rey".
The main economic activity was cultivation of the surrounding land, and its wine was exported widely. The archeological remains from the period indicate a relatively prosperous population.
Significant vestiges of Roman Barcino can be seen in the underground displays of the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA), which also maintains other heritage sites from Roman times in Barcelona.
During the third century, Barcino was destroyed by the Germanic tribes. It was then reconstructed and fortified with an enormous city wall of over 100,000 square meters long. The wall demonstrates just how important the city was for the Romans.
Barcino would remain an important, if provincial, centre of the Visigoth kingdom, notably because of its excellent defensive walls. In 415, the Visigoths attacked Barcino after crossing the Pyrenees fleeing from Southern Gaul. Barcelona was declared the seat of Visigoth King's court.
The there was also the Jewish population of Barcino dates from the mid-4th century at the latest. While the Jewish religion had been tolerated by the Romans, Jews suffered varying degrees of discrimination and persecution under the Visigoths.
So Barcino was controlled by the Visigoths for three centuries until, between 717 and 718, it was captured by the Moorish, under Muslim rules and lasted a little less than a century.
Following the Christian reconquest, it became a county of the Carolingian Empire in 865
Barcelona under the Crown of Aragon
In 1162 Alfonso II of Aragon inherited the Crown of Aragon thanks to the marriage in 1137 of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, with Petronila of Aragon, future Queen of Aragon, but the administrations of Aragon and Catalonia remained mostly separate. The city of Barcelona was by far the largest settlement in the Principality of Catalonia and a vital source of royal income and became one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon. The royal court passed much of its time moving from town to town and residing in each of them long enough to ensure the continued loyalty of the local nobility and steadily developed into a representative body known as the Courts of Catalonia. The economy of Barcelona during this period was increasingly directed towards trade. In 1258 James I of Aragon allowed the merchant guilds of Barcelona to draw ordinances regulating maritime trade in the city's port.
Barcelona became one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon. The fruitful medieval period established Barcelona's position as the economic and political centre of the Western Mediterranean. The city's Gothic Quarter bears witness to the splendor enjoyed by the city from the 13th to the 15th centuries.
( See below with the origin of Roman Barcino in the middle and the all around the expansion of the medieval walls)
above; XIV century medieval wall remains still visible and visitable along Avenida del Paral-lel
Barcelona under the Spanish monarchy
The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 united the two royal lines.
Madrid became the center of political power while the colonization of the Americas reduced the financial importance (in relative terms) of Mediterranean trade.
The unification of the Spanish kingdoms and the riches of the New World were not without political repercussions for Europe, leading ultimately to the War of the Spanish Succession from 1701 to 1714.
The Catalan nobility sided with the Habsburgs against the Bourbon Philip V which led to the abolition of Catalan autonomy in 1716, and to the diminution of the political influence of the city of Barcelona in Spain
However, from the end of the 18th century, the position of Barcelona as a Mediterranean port and the proximity of brown coal deposits from an inland county of Catalonia, became important factors in the Industrial Revolution. Catalonia as a whole, and Barcelona in particular, became important industrial centres, with an increase in wealth (if not political power). During the 18th century, a fortress was built at Montjüic overlooking the harbour.
In 1812, Barcelona was annexed by Napoleonic France and incorporated into the First French Empire as part of the department Montserrat.
In 1888, Barcelona hosted the Esposiciòn Universal de Barcelona, which led to a great extension of its urbanised area from Parc de la Cuitadella to Barceloneta.
In 1897, the city absorbed six surrounding municipalities and the new district of the Eixample (meaning "the extension") was laid out by by architect Ildefons Cerdà ( called then by his name the Cerdá's plan ). The annexed towns included Sants, Les Corts, Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, Gràcia, Sant Andreu de Palomar and Sant Martí de Provençals. Horta was annexed in 1904 and Sarrià in 1924.
The relative prosperity of the city restored its role as a cultural centre, as is witnessed by the architecture of Antoni Gaudí still visible around Barcelona
A second mayor international exhibition was organised in 1929, leading to the urbanisation of the area around Plaça Espanya and providing the impetus for the construction of the metro, inaugurated in 1924.
The Second Republic and civil war
Barcelona was repeatedly bombed by air raids. The most severe lasted three days beginning on 16 March 1938, at the height of the Spanish Civil War. Under the command of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini , Italian aircraft bombed the city 13 times, dropping 44 tons of bombs aimed at civilians. These attacks were requested by General Franco as retribution against the Catalan population. More than 1,000 people died, including many children, and over 2,000 were injured. The medieval Cathedral of Barcelona was bombed as well, though it did not suffer major damage, and some parts of the Barri Gotic ( Gothic Quarter, the Cathedral neighbourhood), including several blocks in front of the cathedral, were damaged.
The city finally fell into Nationalist hands on 26 January 1939
The resistance of Barcelona to Franco's coup d'etát was to have lasting effects after the defeat of the Republican government. The autonomous institutions of Catalonia were abolished and the use of the Catalan language in public life was suppressed and effectively forbidden, although its use was not formally criminalised as often claimed. Barcelona remained the second largest city in Spain, at the heart of a region which was relatively industrialised and prosperous, despite the devastation of the civil war. The result was a large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain (particularly Andalucia, Murcia and Galicia ),which in turn led to rapid urbanisation.
In the 50's Barcelona's suburbs, such as L'Hospitaledd de Llobregat, Bellvitge, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Adria' de Bèsos, and Badalona, also saw a dramatic population increase over a single decade.
The city now had an extremely dense population in 1970, often housed in very poor quality accommodations. The massive immigration also contributed to the gradual decline of the specifically Catalan culture of Barcelona—while the use of Catalan in private was tolerated in the later years of the dictatorship, the immigrants to Barcelona spoke only Spanish. Catalan language education was unavailable, even if there had been any social pressure to learn the local language (which was far from the case in urban areas).
The increase in population led to the development of the metro network, the tarmacking of the city streets, the installation of traffic lights and the construction of the first "rondas", (ring roads).
The provision of running water, electricity and street lighting also had to be vastly improved, if not always fast enough to keep pace with the rising population.
The death of Franco in 1975 brought on a period of democratization throughout Spain. Pressure for change was particularly strong in Barcelona, which considered that it had been punished during nearly forty years of Francoism for its support of the Republican government. Massive, but peaceful, demonstrations on 11 September 1977 assembled over a million people in the streets of Barcelona to call for the restoration of Catalan autonomy. It was granted less than a month later.
Patrons and Saints celebrated and Celebration's days in Barcelona
Santa Eulalia main Saint Patron of Barcelona.
Santa Eulalia is the main Saint Patron of Barcelona . Santa Eulalia is always celebrated on 12 of February, each year in squares and streets all across the city of Barcelona.
There are parties, full of diverse popular culture activities for all ages.
Among the events, highlights include the procession of Laies, the Santa Eulalia parade, human towers in the diada castellera, sardana dancing, and a fire run involving fire beasts and devils.
Above Typical Catalan human towers known as "Diada Castellera"
La Mercè, (Our Lady of Mercy) Barcelona’s Second Patron Saint
The September 24 is the official day celebrating the saint, every year the city hosts a massive celebration that lasts several days. In spite of the festival’s religious origins, the modern-day version of the celebration includes all kinds of activities: from traditional parades, concerts and children’s activities.
Sant Jordi ( Saint George )
23rd April is the day of Sant Jordi in Barcelona - as in all of Catalonia - people give one another a rose or a book. Not only couples do this.
At many attractions in Barcelona today you can see the cult of Sant Jordi. One example is the so called Casa Batlló, built by Gaudí, whose roof resembles a dragon.
La Castanyada and All Saints Day( Day of the Dead)
La Castanyada is the “Catalan Halloween” because it occurs on October 31st, it comes from a centuries-long tradition. Roast Chestnuts are usually purchased from the street Vendors.
All Saints Day takes place on the 1st and 2nd on November and is it a remembrance of the deads.