Barcelona Travel Guide

Culture

Barcelona's cultural roots go back 2000 years. To a greater extent than the rest of Catalonia, where Catalonia's native Catalan is more dominant, Barcelona is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken. The Catalan spoken in Barcelona, Central Catalan, is the one closest to standard Catalan. Since the arrival of democracy, the Catalan culture (very much repressed during the dictatorship of Franco) has been promoted, both by recovering works from the past and by stimulating the creation of new works. Barcelona is designated as a world-class city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.

Entertainment and performing arts

Barcelona has many venues for live music and theatre, including the world-renowned Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, the Teatre Lliure and the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall. Barcelona also is home to the Barcelona and Catalonia National Symphonic Orchestra (Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, usually known as OBC), the largest symphonic orchestra in Catalonia. In 1999, the OBC inaugurated its new venue in the brand-new Auditorium (l'Auditori). It performs around 75 concerts per season and its current director is Eiji Oue.

The major thoroughfare of Las Ramblas is home to mime artists and street performers.

Yearly two major pop music festivals take place in the city, the Sónar Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival. The city also has a thriving alternative music scene, with groups such as The Pinker Tones receiving international attention.

Media

El Periódico de Catalunya, La Vanguardia and Ara are Barcelona's three major daily newspapers (the first two with Catalan and Spanish editions, Ara only in Catalan) while Sport and El Mundo Deportivo (both in Spanish) are the city's two major sports daily newspapers, published by the same companies. The city is also served by a number of smaller publications such as Ara and El Punt Avui (in Catalan), by nation-wide newspapers with special Barcelona editions like El Pais and El Mundo (both in Spanish), and by several free newspapers like 20 minutos and Què (all bilingual).

Several major FM stations include Catalunya Ràdio, RAC 1, RAC 105 and Cadena SER. Barcelona also has a local TV stations, BTV, owned by city council. The headquarters of Televisió de Catalunya, Catalonia's public network, are located in Sant Joan Despí, in Barcelona's metropolitan area.

Sports

Barcelona has a long sporting tradition and hosted the highly successful 1992 Summer Olympics as well as several matches during the 1982 FIFA World Cup (at the two stadiums). It has also hosted, among others, about 30 sports events of international significance. Also, the city aspires to organize the 2022 Winter Olympics. The opening, closing, medal ceremonies and indoor sports would be held in Barcelona, while outdoor sports would be held in ski resorts in the Pyrenees, mainly La Molina.

FC Barcelona is a sports club best known worldwide for its football team, one of the largest in the world and second richest football club in the world. It has 62 of national (likewise 41 runners-up) and 15 continental (likewise 10 runners-up) trophies, including four of the UEFA Champions League (likewise 3 runners-up and actually champion) and two of the FIFA Club World Cup (likewise 1 runners-up and actually champion). Also, it is the only men's club in the world to accomplish a sextuple. FC Barcelona also has teams in FC Barcelona Regal (basketball), FC Barcelona Handbol (the handball), FC Barcelona Hoquei (roller hockey), FC Barcelona Ice Hockey (ice hockey), FC Barcelona Futsal (futsal) and FC Barcelona Rugby (rugby union), all of them winners of the highest country or/and European competitions. The club's museum is the second most visited in Catalonia. Twice a season, FC Barcelona and cross-town rivals RCD Espanyol contest in the local derby in La Liga, while its basketball section has its own local derby in Liga ACB with nearby Joventut Badalona. Barcelona also has other clubs in lower categories, like CE Europa and UE Sant Andreu.

Barcelona has two UEFA elite stadiums: FC Barcelona's Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 100,000 and the publicly owned Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, with a capacity of 55,000; used for the 1992 Olympics. Also, the city has several smaller stadiums such as Mini Estadi, with a capacity of 15,000 and Camp Municipal Narcís Sala, Nou Sardenya with a capacity of 7,000. In the suburbs of Barcelona there is a third UEFA elite stadium – Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, with a capacity of 40,000. Also, except Palau Sant Jordi (St. George's sporting arena), with a capacity of 12,000–24,000 (depending on use), city has two other larger sporting and concert arena: Palau Blaugrana, with a capacity of 7,500 and Palau dels Esports de Barcelona.

Several major road running competitions are organized year-round in Barcelona: the Barcelona Marathon every March with a participants of over 10,000 in 2010, the Cursa de Bombers in April, the Cursa de El Corte Inglés in May (with about 60,000 participants each year), the Cursa de la Mercè, the Cursa Jean Bouin, the Milla Sagrada Família and the San Silvestre. The Open Seat Godó, a 50-year-old ATP World Tour 500 Series tennis tournament, is held annually in the facilities of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona (Barcelona Royal Tennis Club). Also, each Christmas, a swimming race across the port is organized. Near Barcelona, in Montmeló, the 107,000 capacity Circuit de Catalunya / Circuit de Barcelona racetrack hosts the Formula One World Championship, Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix, Spanish GT Championship and GP2 Series. Skateboarding and bicycling are also very popular in Barcelona. In the city and the metropolitan area, there are tens of km of bicycle paths.

Top sport clubs in Barcelona:

source: Wikipedia

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