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18 Interesting Facts About Catalonia

Sucheta Pradhan Jul 31, 2020
An autonomous community in Spain and its historic principality too, Catalonia is much more than its continued struggle for independence. Sitting on the northeastern corner of Spain, Catalonia is culturally rich, geographically diverse, and an extremely fun-filled haven for tourists. Tap on for some mind-boggling facts!
1. The region of Catalonia comprises four provinces of northeastern Spain viz., Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona.
2. The capital of Catalonia is Barcelona, which is also its largest city and the second-most populated Spanish municipality.
3. Catalonia is surrounded by France and Andorra to the north, the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east.
4. Catalonia is governed by the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 2006. It defines the rights and obligations of the region’s residents, their political institutions, and their relations & competencies with the rest of Spain.
5. The Statute of Autonomy designates Catalan as the nationality of  Catalonia’s residents, rather than just Spanish.
6. Between 1950 and 1970, Catalonia enjoyed the state of autarky – a self-sufficient economy without any external aid or international trade – during which it experienced rapid economic progress.
Resultantly, Barcelona became one of the largest metropolitan areas of Europe and Catalonia, one of its major tourist hubs.
7. From 2010 onward, the Catalan independence movement gained impetus and international support.
8. In 2017, the region saw a disputed referendum, after which the Catalan Parliament declared unilateral independence.
However, post that the Spanish Senate decided to enforce the direct rule in Catalonia giving rise to the tense political situation in the region.
9. Catalonia has three official languages - Catalan, Spanish, and the Aranese dialect of Occitan.
10. Contrary to popular belief, Catalan language did not develop from Spanish. Rather, it developed from a crude form of Latin that was spoken in the Mediterranean region.
11. Correfocs or fire-runs are among the most important elements of Catalan festivals. Symbolizing the duel between good and evil, participants dress as devils, light fireworks, and dance to the rhythm of drums.
12. In most traditional Catalan festivals, a human tower called Castell is formed. A tradition dating back to the 18th century, it was declared as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.
13. Bullfighting was banned in Catalonia in 2010. It was the second instance of banning this ancient tradition on the Spanish mainland.
14. Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), one of the world’s most celebrated artists, was born in the town of Figueres in Catalonia’s Girona Province.
15. Catalonia is home to the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), a.k.a. God’s Architect. He was born in the city of Reus in the Catalan province of Tarragona.
16. Catalonia’s crown jewel is the world-famous Sagrada Família, the Roman Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, this still under construction edifice is perhaps the most-visited tourist attraction in Spain.
17. Published in 1375, the Catalan Atlas was an important work of Middle Ages cartography. All maps in this atlas were Mediterranean-centered, meaning most of the inscription and adornment was upside down.
18. Catalonia is renowned the world over for its healthcare and education facilities. It is known for having the best advanced healthcare facilities in all of Europe and also boasts 12 prestigious universities and over 30 international schools.