Opinions differ about whether Barcelona was inhabited before the Roman Empire and if so, by whom exactly. But archaeological findings in the form of coins from before Roman times reinforces the theory that a tribe of Iberian called laetaner once settled in the area around today's Barcelona.
As late as 1991, the remains of 25 people were found in the area Carrer de Sant Pau. An analysis revealed that the bodies were buried about 4,000 years before Christ. It has been speculated that the area at that time was inhabited by Neolithic tribes.
Other evidence suggests that Barcelona became a city only 300 years before Christ, when General Hamilcar Barca, Hannibal's father, settled in the area.
When the Romans came to Barcino, as the city was then called, they settled in what today is the medieval Gothic Quarter.
During the 700's, Barcelona was conquered by the Moors. In the 800s city returned back to Christians by the French king Louis the Pious. The county was established in the late 800s. Moors reconquered Barcelona in 985, but their presence was short-lived. Over the next centuries Barcelona became an administrative hub in the middle of the Aragonese state. The area became a trading center, but soon lost its competitiveness and was hit hard by unemployment, plague epidemics and civil war.
When the Industrial Revolution began, Barcelona quickly transformed into Spain's industrial center. The city had cotton mills, steam-powered textile mills and a railway. New factories emerged everywhere, but the city walls prevented Barcelona to grow. After requesting several times the city was finally allowed to tear down the walls in order to expand.
During the 1950s and 1960s, a large labor migration affected Barcelona. Real estate prices in the city went up and it led to a large exodus to the suburbs in the 1980s and 1990s.
Today the city consists of ten administrative districts governed by a mayor, but with a large degree of autonomy.
Barcelona is on all sides surrounded by natural barriers that limit the city's ability to grow. To the southeast, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and in the west it is 512 meters high Collserolabergspasset. The city also has two estuaries, Bes˛s in the north east and the Llobregat in the south. In the southwest are also L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, a remarkable city, because it is so closely interwoven with Barcelona that only with the help of a map can separate the two cities to.
The port angrńnsas of the 173 meters high rocky hill Montju´c previously used strategically to Barcelona defense. The city is built on a gently sloping plateau that turns into rock. On the coast, the landscape is flat, but a few kilometers further inland terrain becomes more hilly. Several small mountain located between Avenida Diagonal and Collserola.
Barcelona city is divided into ten administrative districts which are divided into blocks. Several of them were previously independent villages.
The city has about 60 parks, but can be perceived as "parkless" - almost all of them located in a ring outside the city center. One of the parks, Parc Guell, designed by the famous architect Antonio Gaudi and is considered to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.