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Monday, August 20, 2012 (read 418 times)
Barcelona Cityby Seun
Barcelona is the 11th largest city in Europe, the 2nd in Spain, and of course the 1st and capital city of Catalonia. It is home to the world renowned football team, it is the city in which Antoni Gaudí’s incomplete the Sagrada Familia stands, and it is also the city that played host to the Olympic Games of 1992. And where better than Barcelona to host the Olympic Games since according to legend, 400 years before the founding of Rome, Hercules himself founded the city of Barcelona.
Set on the north-eastern coast of Spain, Barcelona has enjoyed an advantageous strategic position in its 4,000 years of recent history. Whilst there claims to be evidence of settlement in that area of the Iberian peninsular so long ago, there is of course very little we know about Barcelona before it became host to the Romans. And even then, between 218 BC and 1 BC information is scarce. What is known is that the city of Barcelona, at the time of Augustus, who was the first Roman to land there, from 17 BC to 14 AD and beyond, was known as Barcino and it is under this name that the city appears on Ptolemy’s infamous world map of the 2nd Century. The city enjoyed a prosperous and relatively peaceful era; it was home to thermal baths, an abundance of sculptures, a temple, and, at one point, to 8,000 in habitants.
The Early Christians began to move onto the peninsula during the middle of the 3rd Century and Barcelona’s first Bishop was consecrated around 259 AD in the newly created diocese of Tarraco (modern day Tarragon). Again, during this period, Barcelona remained for some time undisturbed. They built the Basilica de Santa Cruz upon which is built today’s Barcelona Cathedral. But in the 5th Century, as the Roman Empire suffered its fall, the Visigoths and Vandals came to conquer. After the Visigoths came the Jews, and after the Jews: the Moors, although these easterners reigned no longer than a century over the newly named city of Barchinona or Barshiluna.
Barcelona’s history is one of consistent and continual excitement. The city too frequently finds itself at the centre of some current affair, and it is under this light that too easily its cultural and historical richness can be overlooked. With the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469, Barcelona finally found itself under united Spanish rule marking the start of its Early Modern period which leads up until today.
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