Catalonia is Spain’s autonomous community that sits along the Mediterranean Sea to the East; France, Andorra, and the Pyrenees Mountains border the region to the North with Aragón to the West and the Valencian Community to the South.
Four provinces comprise Catalonia with provincial capitals of the same name: Barcelona whose city is the Mediterranean regional capital, southern Tarragona bordered by the Valencian Community, Girona at the eastern end of the Pyrenees which includes the exclave of Llívia across the northern border surrounded by France and landlocked mountainous Lleida border to the west by Aragon with France and Andorra to the north.
Catalan is one of three official languages along with Castilian Spanish and Occitan (specifically the Aranese dialect spoken in Val d’Aran of northeastern Lleida in the Pyrenees Mountains). In October 2017, Catalonia declared independence in a contested referendum rejected by the Spanish government.
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Regions and Cities
Girona, Costa Brava, Tossa de Mar, Figueres, Besalú, Cadaqués, Palamós
Barcelona, Montserrat Abbey
Tarragona, Reus, Salou, Costa Daurada, Santa María de Poblet
Lleida, La Seu d’Urgell
UNESCO World Heritage sites include the works of Antoni Gaudí and the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Catalan Romanesque churches of the Vall de Boi in Lleida, and the Poblet Monastery and Roman archaeological ensembles of Tárraco in Tarragona.
Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics with its celebratory center and Olympic Village on Montjüic hill within the city. This city’s celebrated Barça football club, FC Barcelona, competes at Camp Nou, the renowned stadium that also hosted some of the Olympic Games.
calamars (Sitges-style squid)
Each year throughout Spain, particularly in Catalonia’s Girona Pyrenees, as the sun reaches its zenith, summer begins with a celebratory bang: the Fire Festival of Sant Joan’s Eve, claiming to eliminate evil spirits, cure disease, and cleanse souls. Rhythmic drums beat. Horns blared down the street. From our apartment’s shallow Juliet balcony in old Girona,…
Many may not even realize—I, one of limited knowledge, can only begin to understand—the layers of Barcelona’s complicated history within the region of Catalonia. Seeing their pride and their frustration in action only gave me a glimpse. What I do know—people want to be heard. Acknowledged. Respected. Our issues are universal. A common desire among…