"The cultural capital of Spain, the place you had to be to breathe anticipation of the freedom to come. And, in a sense, it was also the cultural capital of Latin America because of the number of painters, writers, publishers, and artists from Latin American countries who either settled in or traveled back and forth to Barcelona."
Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize winner
Barcelona is a city of distinct culture, character, and natural beauty in northeastern Spain between the white
beaches of the Mediterranean and the mountains of Montjüic and Tibidabo. In the words of Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, Barcelona is the "cultural capital of Spain."
Over thousands of years, Barcelona has been a seat of civilization. It has been home to Romans, Carthaginians, barbarian invaders, and Moorish settlers. Such a dramatic history has turned Barcelona into a unique city whose past enriches its vibrant cultural life.
The city has fostered many important figures in literature, art, and architecture from Cervantes to Picasso, but none as everywhere apparent as the city's most beloved son Antoni Gaudí. Known throughout Spain as "God's architect," Gaudí's fantastically distinct architectural creations define Barcelona's modern spirit and make it one of the top cultural destinations in all of Europe.
Barcelona is also the most cosmopolitan city in southern Europe. In its streets one will hear many languages, among them Catalan, a romance language. Spanish and Catalan coexist admirably in Barcelona, and newspapers publish daily editions in both languages. This cultural diversity adds to the enticing atmosphere of the city, making it one of the most creative centers in Europe.