Barcelona is the capital of the homonymous province and autonomous community of Catalonia; its population amounts to 1,619,337 inhabitants, making it the most populous city after Madrid and ranging eleventh position in the European Union. Including the metropolitan area with the urban area of Barcelona, the figure reaches 5 million, being the sixth most populous city in the European Union.
Barcelona is located south of the Pyrenees mountain chain along the border with France and on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Today Barcelona is known as a cosmopolitan city due its culture, its importance for finance, trade and tourism. The city has one of the most important Mediterranean ports and also has been the setting of international events such as the 1888 Universal Exhibition, the International Exhibition of 1929, the Summer Olympics of 1992 and the Universal Forum of Cultures 2004. All these events have helped to increase its international reputation.
Barcelona has many means of transport in both trains (Suburban train Barcelona, High Speed train, Subway Barcelona, etc.) and buses (with 1070 buses spread over 103 lines); there is also the so-called Nitbus, which supplies the usual nightly closing of public transport.
Barcelona is a great city for lovers of the environment and citizens who are likely to opt for the bicycle as means of transport.
The city of Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and scattered showers during the year but concentrated in a few days with heavy rain; frosts are not common, the winters are soft and the summers are warm with minor variations in heat during the day.
The city has a long and rich architectural history, beginning with the ancient remains of a Roman settlement which founded Barcelona, of which there are left only ruins.
From the medieval period have survived a large number of buildings, many of them are situated in the Gothic quarter in the historic city centre, like the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and the Church of Santa Maria del Mar. Other highlights include the Hall of Tinell, Lloctinent Palace, the Palace of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Picasso Museum.
Barcelona is known as the capital of modernism and certainly the best known and recognized architect of this city is Antoni Gaudi by the church of the Holy Family which is visited by millions of visitors from around the world each year; other well known works of this artist are Parc Guell and Casa Mila.
The city of Barcelona has proven to be an important cultural centre, as there are many museums and public and private foundations. Highlights are the Foundation Joan Miró, the Antoni Tàpies Foundation or the Picasso museum. One of the most popular is the FC Barcelona museum located in the Camp Nou.
The administration of Barcelona fostered the merger of small museums to give rise to larger ones, as has happened to the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Museum of Catalonia, giving place to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
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From the Olympics 1992 and its subsequent regeneration of the beaches, these have become an important attraction. Barcelona is also known for its nightlife, numerous parks, and especially its various proposals regarding music, film, theater and other issues that make up culture.
Other places like Montjuic and Tibidabo allow visitors to see Barcelona almost fully from above, being beautiful lookout points and places to visit.
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