Study Spanish in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, offering a unique combination of millenary history, exceptional architecture, unfamiliar traditions and a landscape to die for. Located on the north-eastern corner of Spain, Barcelona is the capital of the province of Catalonia, and one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean Sea, altogether. As such, there is a certain swagger about Barcelona and the people that live there, a certain defining trait that is there to be sensed by visitors upon arrival, and that tends to provoke an immediate reaction – typically one of unconditional and utter love.
Therefore, this has become one of the most popular destinations to learn Spanish in the entire continent, because Barcelona combines the most relentless spirit of freedom together with an uncanny sense of accomplishment, the most liberal of attitudes, together with a proud and long-standing heritage. Consequently, very few things are out of bounds in Barcelona, and, indeed, if you spend enough time in the city you are almost certain to experience anything you like.
Sprawled between the beaches of the Mediterranean and the mountains of Montjuïc, Barcelona is an avant-garde, multicultural meeting place where the undulating Art Nouveau structures of Antoni Gaudí and the medieval architecture of the Gothic Quarter combine to form a fascinating European metropolis. And in all of this, European might well be the operating word. Due to its geographical location and its historical connection to the Provencal culture of Aquitaine and southern France, Catalonia shares deep roots both with continental and Iberian cultures, producing a wonderful blend that constitutes a large portion of the charm of the place.
Barcelona Through History
Barcelona is a millenary city, with roots linking it all the way back to Carthaginian times. The story goes that its very name traces back its creation by the famous general, Hamilcar Barca, father to the mythical Hannibal, whose army of men and elephants crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps on its way to Rome during the Second Punic War, right at the end of the III century B. C. Barcino, as it was then known, outlived the Carthaginians, and not only that, it also outlived, and by far, the Romans, who took over from the African seafarers.
The Early Middle Ages saw the wave of tribal invasions that progressively weakened the Roman Empire arrive from the eastern side of the Pyrenees. As in the rest of the peninsula, it was the Visigoths who, allied to the Romans, prevailed over other Germanic settlers, such as the Vandals. Under Visigothic rule, Barcino flourished, even featuring briefly as capital to the kingdom, which usually had Toulouse as its administrative center. The rule of the Visigoths in the Iberian peninsula lasted close to three hundred years, roughly one hundred of which were hegemonic and relatively peaceful.
Ultimately, however, internal strife and power struggles within the ruling factions of the Visigoths led to a civil war and the power vacuum that Muslim raiders would exploit between 711 and 712 A. D. to take control of practically all of the peninsula in record time. It was in a concerted effort to prevent the rule of the Arab invasion that the Franks pushed them back to the western side of the Pyrenees, and eventually established the Spanish March as a buffer zone between the two forces. Rather than setting up a puppet kingdom at his service, however, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, allowed individual counties to have a considerable amount of autonomy as long as they pledged their allegiance to the Christian, and consequently Frankish, cause.
The Spanish March and the Counties
The Spanish March was constituted by different counties at different times, sometimes reaching far into the territory comprised by present day France, and spanning all of the modern border between Spain and France, including Andorra. The Catalan counties represented one of the administrative subdivisions of the territory, integrating the seven major counties of the region.
They were the counties of Girona (est. 785, and originally including the later county of Basalú), Urgell (est. ca. 785, and originally including the later separate county of Cerdanya), Barcelona (est. 801, and soon becoming the most prominent county), Roselló (est. 817, and incorporating the earlier county of Empùries, which in 813 was carved out of Girona), Conflent (ca. 790, the northernmost of the Catalan counties, administratively joint to the county of Razès, which was part of the Frankish March of Septimania) and Osona (ca. 799, including the county of Manresa, both of which were administratively attached to Urgell, first, and Barcelona, later).
Learn Spanish and Much More
Evidently, from the very foundations of the city, Barcelona is full of history and diversity – a fact that still today permeates its very core. In other words, Barcelona is a city unlike any other, and for that very reason you should make the most of it and explore it in different ways. At Enforex, we have devised audacious programs that will allow you to unravel the wonders of this eclectic heritage through specialized Spanish language courses that explore the vocabulary together with the literature, the history, the architecture and popular forms of cultural expression.So make thee most of your stay in Barcelona, and learn a lot more than just a foreign language!
Want more information about Barcelona? Check out our handy Barcelona travel guide to discover all that this amazing city has to offer: what to do, what to see, when to go, interesting little facts and tid-bits and much more!