Political Particulars Of Barcelona

By: Gaizka Pujana

Population wise, Barcelona is the largest city in Spain with the sole exception of Madrid. Capital of Catalonia, the city is governed and run by the Barcelona city council which works within the larger framework of the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, and European Union Laws.

Spain is made up of autonomous communities that are organized into a parliamentary monarchy. Each of those autonomous states has their own institution; in Catalonia that is the Generalitat which is run by the President of the Generalitat, the Parliament and the Govern de Catalonia, or the Executive Council. Whilst the history of Catalonia as an independent state dates back to the Middle Ages, the first Geralitat of modern times was established in 1931 during the 2nd Spanish Republic, and most recently with the move to democracy it was restored. For the most part it is Catolonia's Statuette of Autonomy defines the laws of the region and its relationship to the State of Spain. The Statute of Autonomy replaces the Sau Statute which dates from 1979, and was passed into law by a referendum held in June 2006.

In terms of visiting, the political hub of the city today is Sant Jaume Square. The Casa del la Ciutat where the municipal government sits, and the Palau de la Generalitat home of Catalonia's Autnomous Government are both positioned in this square. The buildings themselves are testimony to the history of the area, whilst the square is large, open and attractive; a perfect place to soak up the atmosphere if the details aren't for you.

If the details are for you however, Palau de la Gernalist where the Autonomous Government of Catalonia now sits has undergone several stages of renovation and expansion creating the fusion of styles visible in the architecture today including gothic, renaissance and baroque. Unfortunately, visiting is difficult as it is only open one day of the year to the public April 23rd! The Casa de la Ciutat, seat of the municipal government, is equally impressive with its fourteenth century architecture; specifically noteworthy are its internal courtyard, the Salon de Cent, and the Salon de las Cronicas.

Accommodation in Barcelona is plentiful, but can be expensive. There are cheaper hotels of a good standard available, but there are also some which will take you for a ride. With this in mind, it is always a good idea in Barcelona in particular to take recommendations and look at hotel reviews before booking.

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