Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Barcelona, or Barcino?

As you may imagine from a stroll around the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, the city is fairly old. I'm not going to go into great detail here about history and the likes, but just some random comments.

Anyone who arrives by aeroplane to Barcelona will notice a few things from the air and the windows. One may be Gaudi's "Sagrada Familia", and the other is Sitges beach as the plane swings round to land on one of the runways at El Prat airport, but another is the well observed (better by night) fact that Barcelons is on a slope.

With Tibidabo at the back, and the Mediterranean sea at the bottom, Barcelona doesn't really grow (either side is the Besos river and the Llobregat river), so Barcelona is quite hilly. Indeed, Montjüic and Tibidabo - two of the main borders of Barcelona - are considered "mountains" when really we could regard them as hills!

Barcelona was founded by the Romans on "Mons Taber" - the name they gave to the old mountain, and a name which still rings true at a pre-school in the Raval area, too, perhaps clinging to the old customs of the local "Portal de Santa Madrona" - the old gateway into Barcelona with the city walls of Paralello still visible now.

The Roman's original name for Barcelona was "Barcino" and this is what many visitors today will see (or maybe not) along side the city's Gothic cathedral - you would be forgiven for missing it, as it is staggered to be visible from a distance, say if you arrie via Portal del Angel!

On a personal note, I had visited the cathedral several times and not realised why Barcino was emblazened across the right hand side of the walls, so was happy for the history lesson (by chance through the old etchings and prints at La Pedrera)!

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Anonymous said...

I love the Barri Gotic area of Barcelona and the bars.

Excellent blog and one of the best I have found on the Internet aout Barcelona. Very informative and well written!!! Keep it up.

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