Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain and a settlement looking back at a history several millenniums long. According to some, it was founded by Hannibal’s father in the 3rd century BC, while others believe it is even older.
It was conquered by foreign forces many times – in the 5th century by the Visigoths, in the 8th century by the Arabs, then by Charlemagne’s son in 801. It became increasingly independent during the next few centuries, but its supremacy as a political center was hindered by Madrid in the 15th century. Its population was seriously affected by the Great Plague in the 1650’s. After the Napoleonic Wars, it became prosperous again, but during the Spanish Civil War, it fell under the rule of the Communists. In the 21st century Barcelona has regained its vitality and is one of the liveliest cities in Europe.