Study in Barcelona, Spain

Study in Barcelona, Spain

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Inside La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona

Barcelona is a Gothic and Modernist marvel on the Mediterranean Sea, a city well known for its quirky, cosmopolitan, cool character. Whether it’s by unearthing Barcelona’s past in the hidden courtyards of the Barri Gòtic, or by enjoying the charms of the modernist city, visitors here will discover many interesting things that make Barcelona one of Spain’s most livable and energetic cities and one of the most interesting cities in Europe. 

There are two Spanish legends concerning the founding of Barcelona. One legend says that it was founded by Hercules, 400 years before the building of Rome.  But, according to the other legend, the city was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal.  He named the city Barcino after his family, the Barca family of Carthage. 

Today, Barcelona is Europe’s largest metropolis on the Mediterranean coast.  In addition, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, and the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Ruhr area, Madrid and Milan.

Barcelona is one of the world's leading tourist, economic, trade fair and cultural centers, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.

Since 2011 Barcelona has been a leading smart city in Europe. It is a busy transport hub, with the Port of Barcelona being one of Europe's principal seaports and busiest European passenger ports. The city boasts an international airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which handles over 35 million passengers per year, an extensive motorway network and a high-speed rail line with a link to France and the rest of Europe.

Barcelona is the first and only city to win a RIBA Royal Gold Medal for its architecture. The Royal Gold Medal for architecture has been awarded annually since 1848, by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual’s or group’s substantial contribution to international architecture. In 1999, Barcelona became the first and only “city,” to date, to receive this honor – instead of an individual architect.  And once visitors to this great city have the opportunity to see this architecture for themselves, they will no doubt agree that the award was—and continues to be—well deserved.

There are many fun and interesting things to see and do in Barcelona, but one of the first things people notice is the city’s beautiful white-sand beaches, with a total of 4.5 kilometers of coastline. Oddly, before 1992, Barcelona’s seaside was completely run over by industries and there existed no beaches for the use of the city’s populace and tourism. It wasn’t until the city’s redevelopment for the 1992 Olympic Games that the city moved their industries and converted the seaside area into an exemplary leisure area for locals and tourists alike; including the improvement of two beaches and the creation of five new beaches. According to the Discovery Channel, Barceloneta beach is the best urban beach in the world and the third best beach in the world.

Barcelona has many beautiful streets and neighborhoods to peruse, including the renowned La Rambla. La Rambla is probably the most famous street in Barcelona, but in reality it consists of 5 boulevards –or ramblas– joined to make one long promenade. It starts from Placa Catalunya and ends at the Columbus Statue by the waterfront.  For this reason, this 2 kilometer long boulevard is also commonly known in plural as Las Ramblas.

Thousands of people stroll on Las Ramblas every day and night, where they watch the performing street artists, shop, or simply sit for a nice meal or coffee. Las Ramblas is the major center of activities in the city and is undoubtedly the most famous promenade of Barcelona, and probably in all of Spain.

Barcelona is home to a number of special events and celebrations each year, the most important and noteworthy being the Fiestas de la Merce.  The main event of La Mercè is held on the 24th of September each year and the Festival is held in honor of the Barcelona’s Patron Saint and Protector, The Virgin de La Merce. The festival has been an official city holiday since the year 1871.

Many a savvy traveler seeking a taste of European cosmopolitanism has gravitated irresistibly towards Barcelona. Set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea and bathed in warm coastal sunshine, this inimitable city is among the jewels of Europe. From its broad, leafy avenues to its striking modernist architecture, Barcelona is a veritable feast for the eyes, and of course its bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are numerous and world-class.
If a single word could describe all of Barcelona it would be “independent.” As the capital of Catalonia, is the beating heart of Catalan language and culture, and it plays a major role in influencing regional politics. Many Barcelona natives think of their community as its own country, distinct from the rest of Spain, and Catalonia has an unmistakably distinct cultural atmosphere.
This fierce spirit of independence has its roots in Barcelona's long history. Founded either by Romans or by Carthaginians from what is now Tunisia (no one knows for sure which story is correct), the city quickly became a self-sufficient outpost and gradually gave rise to a unique cultural group who would one day be known as the Catalan people. In the 15th century, as Ferdinand and Isabella struggled to unite Spain as a single kingdom, Barcelona and its environs steadfastly resisted assimilation. Today, all the centuries of striving to retain a distinct identity have built Barcelona into a city unlike any other on earth. It is an internationally-recognized leader in art, fashion, commerce, media, sports, and even science and biotechnology. In addition, it has become a renowned destination for unique cuisine–Catalan food is widely available, along with an eclectic array of culinary delights from all over the world.
Due to its location, Barcelona is a popular choice of hub for European and Mediterranean airlines, which makes it easily accessible: most cities in the region offer direct flights to Barcelona International Airport. As a result, many travelers use Barcelona as a starting point for extended tours of Western Europe. They stroll along the avenues, sample the infamous nightlife, and then move on to the next city. Those who stick around for a more extended stay, however, find that the more time they spend in Barcelona, the more its many layers open up to them. This is why so many students from Europe, America, and around the world choose to spend some or all of their college careers here in Barcelona.
No global city would be complete without an excellent system of universities, and Barcelona is no exception. Although the city is packed with colleges, universities, professional schools, career colleges, and other institutions of higher education, one school–the University of Barcelona–stands out as the most prominent. Large, historic (it was founded in 1450, making it one of the oldest universities in the world), and staffed by some of Europe's best scholars, the University of Barcelona is undoubtedly Catalonia’s most renowned educational institution. It offers degrees in almost every imaginable subject, including the sciences, the humanities, and professional fields such as law and nursing.