Barcelona is one of Europe's largest and most successful ports and one of the world's leading cities in art and architecture. From the modern cruise terminal at the docks you will need a taxi or tour to see the artistic beauty of this unique destination, credited to the talents of Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Antonio Gaudi, Jose Clara and others. Stroll the mosaic-paved Ramblas, the city's social hub, with open-air cafes, street entertainers and flower displays. See its unique Catalonian cultural heritage in the ancient Gothic Quarter, the surrealistic architecture of Antonio Gaudi and some outstanding museums. Sights of interest include the Columbus Monument, the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia (1298 to 1454), the Maritime Museum, Picasso Gallery, La Sagrada Familia (Gaudi's unfinished cathedral), Palau Guell (Gaudi mansion) and the Olympic stadiums.
The Phoenicians were the first to settle in Barcelona, and during the 3rd century BC the Carthaginians named it Barcino after Barca, the ruling family's name. The city grew rapidly under the early rule of the Romans and during medieval times had reached significant wealth and political power. In 1640 the people of the city began a revolution against ruler Philip IV and built a fort for their own protection on Montjuic Hill. Catalonia came under Spanish rule when General Franco defeated the Republicans and it is only since 1975 that the Catalonian language and culture has been allowed to flourish again.
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