|Barcelona was founded on the Mediterranean
coast between two rivers more than two thousand years ago. It is
located in the North East of the Iberian Peninsula, just a short
distance from France. Romans, Arabs and Christians all
influenced Barcelona throughout the centuries. Traces of this
diverse history with contrasting cultures can be found all over
the city. From the Gothic Quarter built on Roman ruins to its
Art Noveau Eixample district dominated by Gaudķ's exuberant
architecture: Barcelona surely is a city of contrasts.
The emotional relationship of the Catalan people towards their
golden age is very intense as for a long time they were deprived
of their own state. During the 13th and 14th century the
Catalonian empire was a great power in the Mediterranean area
and Barcelonans dominated sea trade. The Gothic Area is a relic
of the wealth of this expansive era. With all its magnificent
medieval buildings it is unique in Europe.
In the middle of the 19th century Barcelona’s population slowly
burst the medieval walls that surrounded the city. The extension
of Barcelona (in Catalan Eixample, in Spanish ensanche) was
planned according to the design of the engineer Idelfons Cerdą.
The construction of Eixample began in 1860. The linear pattern
can still be seen today. Cerdą’s plan divides the 9 km2 into 550
blocks, uniformly crossed by streets and three boulevards. All
blocks should have included open and green spaces; some should
have been left out and have become parks, unfortunately this
remained a dream. On all of the blocks houses were built much
higher than in Cerdą’s original plan. Still, Eixample is a good
example for utopian civil engineering.
Spain is the only country in the world that widely accepted and
supported anarchy as a model for society. In Andalusia it
appealed to workers without property and in Catalonia industrial
workers during the late 19th century.