With a population of 1605602 and 3161081 in the Metropolitan area, Barcelona ranks second in size among the cities in Spain and ranks first among the cities of Catalonia. It also forms the capital of Catalonia and the core of the Urban Region of Barcelona. Barcelona is situated in the middle of the Llobregat and Besos River’s mouths on the Mediterranean coast. The Serra de Collserola on the west limits its extension.
The city has a highly developed economy and is a major economic centre. It has one of the main Mediterranean ports of Europe and also the second largest airport in Spain, the Barcelona International Airport. Barcelona was originally founded by the Romans, and it was made the Crown of Aragon as well as the capital of the Counts of Barcelona. It has also been besieged a number of times in olden times. But the city is now a major cultural centre with strong traditional values, and a lot of people come here every year. The works of architecture by Lluis Domenech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudi have been declared to be World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
The origin of the name Barcelona is the Iberian Phoenician “Barkeno” of old. It is called Barcino, Barceno, or Barcelo in Latin. In the Middle Ages the city was known by several names such as Bachenona, Barchinona, Barchelona, and Barcalona.
Barcelona faces the Mediterranean Sea and is positioned on the north east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It lies on a five kilometer wide plateau. The plateau covers an area of one hundred and seventy square kilometers and the city covers one hundred and one square kilometers of the total area. The city is at a distance of one hundred and sixty kilometers due south of the France Catalonia border and the Pyrenees. The climate in Barcelona is classified as being a Mediterranean climate. The summers are warm and dry, while the winters are mild and humid.