Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of 101.4 km2 (39 sq mi). The urban area of Barcelona extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of between 4,200,000 and 4,500,000 within an area of 803 km2 (310 sq mi) (Dell 1691P battery), being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, the Ruhr, Madrid and Milan. About five million people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. It is also Europe's largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the main component of an administrative area of Greater Barcelona(Dell 310-6321 battery), with a population of 3,218,071 in an area of 636 km² (density 5,060 hab/km²). It is located on the Mediterranean coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs and is bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (512 m/1,680 ft).
Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona became one of the most important cities of the Crown of Aragon. Besieged several times during its history(Dell 312-0068 battery), Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean is located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions(Dell D6400 battery), including the 1888 Exposición Universal de Barcelona, the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition (Expo 1929), the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures, and the 2004 World Urban Forum.
Barcelona is today one of the world's leading tourist, economic, trade fair/exhibitions and cultural-sports centres, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. (Dell HF674 battery)Indeed, it is a major cultural and economic centre in southwestern Europe (Iberian Peninsula), 26th in the world (after Moscow, before Dubai)  and a growing financial centre (Diagonal Mar and Gran Via). As of 2009 it was ranked Europe's fourth best city for business. One of Europe's principal Mediterranean ports can be found here as well as Barcelona international airport(Dell N3010 battery), which handles above 34 million passengers per year. It also boasts an extensive motorway network and is a hub of high-speed rail, particularly that which is intended to link Spain with France and the rest of Europe.
Barcelona is the 16th-most-visited city in the world and the fourth most visited in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome, with several million tourists every year. Barcelona is the 14th most "livable city" in the world according to lifestyle magazine Monocle. (Dell Inspiron N4010 battery) Similarly, according to Innovation Analysts 2thinknow, Barcelona occupies 13th place in the world on Innovation Cities™ Global Index. It is the fourth richest city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world with an output amounting to €177 billion, a figure nonetheless smaller than alternative estimates. Consequently, its GDP per capita output stands at €39,859 –(Dell INSPIRON 1100 battery)some 44% higher than the European Union average and GDP per head is €80,894 according to Eurostat. Similarly, the city of Barcelona stands in 29th place in a list of net personal earnings headed by Zurich. As of 2009 the city was ranked Europe's third and one of the world's most successful as a city brand. Barcelona is the seventh most important fashion capital in the world. (Dell Inspiron 1200 battery) At the same time, the city was ranked Europe's fourth best business city and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year. Among world centers of commerce, Barcelona takes second place in economic stability.
As the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Barcelona is the seat of the Catalan government, known as the Generalitat de Catalunya; of particular note are the executive branch, the parliament, and the Supreme Court of Catalonia. The city is also the capital of the Province of Barcelona and the Barcelonès comarca (district) (Dell Inspiron 1420 battery).
The name Barcelona comes from the ancient Iberian Phoenician Barkeno, attested in an ancient coin inscription in Iberian script as , in Ancient Greek sources as Βαρκινών, Barkinṓn; and in Latin as Barcino, Barcilonum and Barceno.
During the Middle Ages, the city was variously known as Barchinona, Barçalona, Barchelonaa, and Barchenona(Dell Inspiron 1464 battery).
Some sources say that the city could have been named after the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who was supposed to have founded the city in the 3rd century BC.
Main article: History of Barcelona
The founding of Barcelona is the subject of two different legends. The first attributes the founding of the city to the mythological Hercules(Dell Inspiron 1564 battery). The second legend attributes the foundation of the city directly to the historical Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino after his family in the 3rd century BC.
In about 15 BC, the Romans redrew the town as a castrum (Roman military camp) centred on the "Mons Taber", a little hill near the contemporary city hall (Plaça de Sant Jaume) (Dell Inspiron 1764 battery). Under the Romans, it was a colony with the surname of Faventia, or, in full, Colonia Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino or Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino. Mela mentions it among the small towns of the district, probably as it was eclipsed by its neighbour Tarraco (modern Tarragona), but it may be gathered from later writers that it gradually grew in wealth and consequence, favoured as it was with a beautiful situation and an excellent harbour. (Dell Inspiron 1520 battery) It enjoyed immunity from imperial burdens. The city minted its own coins; some from the era of Galba survive.
Basilica of La Mercè (Mare de Déu de la Mercè)
Some important Roman ruins are exposed under the Plaça del Rei, its entrance located by the city museum (Museu d'Història de la Ciutat); the typically Roman grid plan is still visible today in the layout of the historical centre, the Barri Gòtic ("Gothic Quarter"). Some remaining fragments of the Roman walls have been incorporated into the cathedral. (Dell Inspiron 1521 battery)The cathedral, also known as the Basilica La Seu, is said to have been founded in 343. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the early 5th century, becoming for a few years the capital of all Hispania. After being conquered by the Arabs in the early 8th century, it was reconquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis, who made Barcelona the seat of the Carolingian "Hispanic March" (Marca Hispanica), a buffer zone ruled by the Count of Barcelona(Dell inspiron 1525 battery).
The Counts of Barcelona became increasingly independent and expanded their territory to include all of Catalonia. In 1137, Aragon and the County of Barcelona merged in dynastic union by the marriage of Ramon Berenguer IV and Petronilla of Aragon, their titles finally borne by only one person when their son Alfonso II of Aragon ascended to the throne in 1162(Dell inspiron 1526 battery). His territories were later to be known as the Crown of Aragon, which conquered many overseas possessions and ruled the western Mediterranean Sea with outlying territories in Naples and Sicily and as far as Athens in the 13th century. The forging of a dynastic link between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile marked the beginning of Barcelona's decline. The Bank of Barcelona, probably the oldest public bank in Europe, was established by the city magistrates in 1401(Dell Inspiron 1720 battery). It originated from necessities of the state, as did the Bank of Venice (1402) and the Bank of Genoa (1407).
Barcelona in 1563
The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 united the two royal lines. Madrid became the centre of political power whilst the colonisation of the Americas reduced the financial importance (at least in relative terms) of Mediterranean trade(Dell Inspiron 2000 battery). Barcelona had always been the stronghold of Catalan separatism and was the center of the Catalan Revolt (1640–52) against Philip IV of Spain. The great plague of 1650–1654 halved the city's population. The Napoleonic wars left the province ravaged, but the postwar period saw the start of industrialization.
The fortress at Montjuïc, most southerly point from which measurements were made when calculating the meridional definition of the metre(Dell INSPIRON 2600 battery)
In the 18th century, a fortress was built at Montjuïc that overlooked the harbour. In 1794, this fortress was used by the French astronomer Pierre François André Méchain for observations relating to a survey stretching to Dunkirk that provided the official basis of the measurement of a metre. The definitive metre bar, manufactured from platinum, was presented to the French legislative assembly on 22 June 1799(Dell INSPIRON 3800 battery).
The city was a Republican stronghold during the Spanish Civil War, and the fall of the city on 26 January 1939 caused a mass exodus of civilians who fled to the French border. The resistance of Barcelona to Franco's coup d'état was to have lasting effects after the defeat of the Republican government. The autonomous institutions of Catalonia were abolished, (Dell INSPIRON 4000 battery)and the use of the Catalan language in public life was suppressed. Barcelona remained the second largest city in Spain, at the heart of a region which was relatively industrialised and prosperous, despite the devastation of the civil war. The result was a large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain (particularly Andalusia, Murcia and Galicia), which in turn led to rapid urbanisation(Dell Inspiron 5000 battery). Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992, which helped revitalize the city.
Barcelona from space
Barcelona is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea, on a plain approximately 5 km (3 mi) wide limited by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat river to the southwest and the Besòs river to the north. This plain covers an area of 170 km2 (66 sq mi), of which 101 km² (38.9 sq mi) are occupied by the city itself. (Dell INSPIRON 500M battery) It is 120 km (75 mi) south of the Pyrenees and the Catalan border with France.
Tibidabo, 512 m (1,680 ft) high, offers striking views over the city and is topped by the 288.4 m (946.2 ft) Torre de Collserola, a telecommunications tower that is visible from most of the city. Barcelona is peppered with small hills, most of them urbanised, that gave their name to the neighbourhoods built upon them, such as Carmel (267 m), Putxet (181 m) and Rovira (261 m) (Dell INSPIRON 5100 battery). The escarpment of Montjuïc (173 m), situated to the southeast, overlooks the harbour and is topped by Montjuïc castle, a fortress built in the 17–18th centuries to control the city as a replacement for the Ciutadella. Today, the fortress is a museum and Montjuïc is home to several sporting and cultural venues, as well as Barcelona's biggest park and gardens(Dell INSPIRON 510M battery).
The city borders on the municipalities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Sant Adrià de Besòs to the north; the Mediterranean Sea to the east; El Prat de Llobregat and L'Hospitalet de Llobregat to the south; and Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Just Desvern, Esplugues de Llobregat, Sant Cugat del Vallès, and Montcada i Reixac to the west(Dell INSPIRON 6000 battery).
Main article: Climate of Barcelona
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers.
Its average annual temperature is 20 °C (68 °F) during the day and 11 °C (52 °F) at night. The average annual temperature of the sea is about 18 °C (64 °F). In the coldest month – January, the temperature typically ranges from 8 to 17 °C (46 to 63 °F) during the day to 2 to 10 °C (36 to 50 °F) at night and the average sea temperature is 13 °C (55 °F). (Dell INSPIRON 600M battery) In the warmest month – August, the typical temperature ranges from 25 to 31 °C (77 to 88 °F) during the day to about 20 °C (68 °F) at night and the average sea temperature is 25 °C (77 °F). Generally – the summer / "holiday" season lasts about six months, from May to October. Two months – April and November – are transitional; sometimes the temperature exceeds 20 °C (68 °F) (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery), with an average temperature of 17–18 °C (63–64 °F) during the day and 8–9 °C (46–48 °F) at night. December, January and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures around 14 °C (57 °F) during the day and 5 °C (41 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are rare, particularly in the summer months. Sunshine duration is 2,524 hours per year, from 138 (average 4.5 hours of sunshine at day) (Dell INSPIRON 7000 battery) in December to 310 (average 10 hours of sunshine at day) in July.
Sagrada Família church, Gaudi's masterpiece
The Barri Gòtic (Catalan for "Gothic Quarter") is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. Many of the buildings date from medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. Catalan modernista architecture (related to the movement known as Art Nouveau in the rest of Europe), developed between 1885 and 1950 and left an important legacy in Barcelona(Dell INSPIRON 700M battery). Several of these buildings are World Heritage Sites. Especially remarkable is the work of architect Antoni Gaudí, which can be seen throughout the city. His best-known work is the immense but still unfinished church of the Sagrada Família, which has been under construction since 1882, and is still financed by private donations. As of 2007, completion is planned for 2026(Dell Inspiron 710m battery).
Barcelona was also home to Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion. Designed in 1929 for the International Exposition for Germany, it is an iconic building that came to symbolize modern architecture as the embodiment of van der Rohe's aphorisms "less is more" and "God is in the details." The Barcelona pavilion was intended as a temporary structure, and was torn down in 1930 less than a year after it was constructed(Dell INSPIRON 8200 battery). A modern re-creation by Spanish architects now stands in Barcelona, however, constructed in 1986.
Barcelona won the 1999 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for its architecture, the first (and as of 2012, only) time that the winner has been a city, and not an individual architect.
Main article: List of museums in Barcelona
The National Museum of Art of Catalonia.
Barcelona has a great number of museums, which cover different areas and eras. The National Museum of Art of Catalonia possesses a well-known collection of Romanesque art while the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art focuses on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art(Dell INSPIRON 8600 battery). The Fundació Joan Miró, Picasso Museum and Fundació Antoni Tàpies hold important collections of these world-renowned artists.
Several museums cover the fields of history and archeology, like the City History Museum, the Museum of the History of Catalonia, the Archeology Museum of Catalonia, the Barcelona Maritime Museum and the private-owned Egyptian Museum. The Erotic museum of Barcelona is among the most peculiar ones(Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery), while Cosmocaixa is a science museum that received the European Museum of the Year Award in 2006.
Park Güell (Parc Güell)
Barcelona contains sixty-eight municipal parks, of which twelve are historic parks, five are thematic (botanical) parks, forty-five are urban parks and six are forest parks. They range from vest-pocket parks to large recreation areas. The urban parks alone cover 10% of the city (549.7 ha/1,358.3 acres). The total park surface grows about 10 ha (25 acres) per year, (Dell INSPIRON 9200 battery) with a proportion of 18.1 square metres (195 sq ft) of park area per inhabitant.
Of Barcelona's parks, Montjuïc is the largest, with 203 ha located on the mountain of the same name. It is followed by Parc de la Ciutadella (which occupies the site of the old military citadel and which houses the Parliament building, the Barcelona Zoo and several museums); 31 ha/76.6 acres including the zoo), the Guinardó Park (19 ha/47.0 acres) (Dell INSPIRON 9300 battery), Park Güell (designed by Antoni Gaudí; 17.2 ha/42.5 acres), Oreneta Castle Park (also 17.2 ha/42.5 acres), Diagonal Mar Park (13.3 ha/32.9 acres, inaugurated in 2002), Nou Barris Central Park (13.2 ha/32.6 acres), Can Dragó Sports Park and Poblenou Park (both 11.9 ha/29.4 acres), the Labyrinth Park (9.10 ha/22.5 acres), named after the garden maze it contains. There are also several smaller parks, for example(Dell Inspiron 9400 battery), the Parc de les Aigües (2 ha/4.9 acres). A part of the Collserolla Park is also within the city limits. PortAventura, one of the largest amusement parks in Europe with 3,000,000 visitors per year, is located one hour's drive from Barcelona.
The Barceloneta beach
Barcelona beach was listed as number one in a list of the top ten beach cities in the world according to National Geographic and Discovery Channel. (Dell Inspiron E1505 battery)Barcelona contains seven beaches, totalling 4.5 km (2.8 mi) of coastline. Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches, both 1,100 m (3,610 ft) in length, are the largest, oldest and the most-frequented beaches in Barcelona. The Olympic Harbour separates them from the other city beaches: Nova Icària, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and Llevant. These beaches (ranging from 400 to 640 m/1,300 to 2,100 ft) (Dell Inspiron E1705 battery) were opened as a result of the city restructuring to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, when a great number of industrial buildings were demolished. At present, the beach sand is artificially replenished given that storms regularly remove large quantities of material. The 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures left the city a large concrete bathing zone on the eastmost part of the city's coastline(Dell Inspiron Mini 9 battery).
Beaches of Barcelona
Demographic evolution, 1900–2007, according to the Spanish Instituto Nacional de Estadística
According to Barcelona's City Council, Barcelona's population as of 1 June 2006 was 1,673,075 people, while the population of the urban area was 4,210,000. It is the central nucleus of the Barcelona metropolitan area, which relies on a population of 5,083,000. (Dell Latitude D400 battery)
The population density of Barcelona was 15,779 inhabitants per square kilometre (40,870 /sq mi), with Eixample being the most populated district. 62% of the inhabitants were born in Catalonia, with a 23.5% coming from the rest of Spain. Of the 13.9% from other countries, a proportion which has more than tripled since 2001 when it was 3.9%, the majority come from (in order) Ecuador, Peru, Morocco, Colombia, Argentina, Pakistan and China. (Dell STUDIO 1450 battery)The city also has the largest Jewish community in Spain, with an estimated 3,500 Jews living in the city.
As an official language, Spanish is understood almost universally in Barcelona. In addition, 95% of the population understand Catalonia's own native Catalan language, while 74.6% can speak it, 75% can read it, and 47.1% can write it, thanks to the linguistic immersion educational system. While most of the population state they are Roman Catholic (208 churches) (Dell Vostro 1400 battery), there are also a number of other groups, including Evangelical (71 locations, mostly professed by Roma), Jehovah's Witnesses (21 Kingdom Halls) and Buddhists (13 locations), and a number of Muslims due to immigration.
Forum Park in Barcelona
In 1900, Barcelona had a population of 533,000 people, which grew steadily but slowly until 1950, when it started absorbing a high number of people from other less-industrialized parts of Spain(Dell Vostro 1500 battery). Barcelona's population peaked in 1979 with 1,906,998 people, and fell throughout the 1980s and 1990s as more people sought a higher quality of life in outlying cities in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. After bottoming out in 2000 with 1,496,266 people, the city's population began to rise again as younger people started to return, causing a great increase in housing prices(Dell XPS GEN 2 battery).
Note: This text is entirely based on the municipal statistical database provided by the city council.
Barcelona is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. For the year 2008 the city council calculated the population to 1,628,090 living in the 102.2 km2 sized municipality, giving the city an average population density of 15,926 inhabitants per square kilometre(Dell XPS M1210 battery).
In the case of Barcelona though, the land distribution is extremely uneven. Half of the municipality or 50.2 km2, all of it located on the municipal edge is made up of the ten least densely populated neighbourhoods containing less than 10% of the city's population, the uninhabited Zona Franca industrial area and Montjuïc forest park(Dell XPS M1330 battery). Leaving the remaining 90% or slightly below 1.5 million inhabitants living on the remaining 52 square kilometres at an average density close to 28,500 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Of the 73 neighbourhoods in the city, 45 had a population density above 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometre with a combined population of 1,313,424 inhabitants living on 38.6 km2 at an average density of 33,987 inhabitants per square km(Dell XPS 1340 battery). The 30 most densely populated neighbourhoods accounted for 57.5% of the city population occupying only 22,7% of the municipality, or in other words, 936,406 people living at an average density of 40,322 inhabitants per square kilometre. The city's highest density is found at and around the neighbourhood of la Sagrada Família where four of the city's most densely populated neighbourhoods are located side by side(Dell XPS M1530 battery), all with a population density above 50,000 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Barcelona Business Centre.
Fórum Convention Center and Barcelona Stock Exchange
The Barcelona metropolitan area comprises over 66% of the people in one of the richest regions in Southern Europe – Catalonia, with a GDP PPP per capita amounting to €30,300 (21% more than the EU average). The Barcelona metropolitan area has a GDP amounting to $177 billion (4th richest city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world) (Dell XPS M170 battery), is equivalent to $35,975 in per capita terms (44% more than the EU average). Barcelona city has a GDP €80,894 per head; according to Eurostat. Furthermore, Barcelona is Europe's 4th best business city and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year. Also, among world centers of commerce it takes second place in economic stability(Dell XPS M1710 battery).
Barcelona has a long-standing mercantile tradition. Less well known is that the region was one of the earliest to begin industrialization in continental Europe, beginning with textile-related works from the mid 1780s but really gathering momentum in the mid-19th century, when it became a major centre for the production of textiles and machinery. Since then, manufacturing has played a large role in its history(Dell XPS M1730 battery).
Borsa de Barcelona (Barcelona Stock Exchange) is the main stock exchange in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula.
Trade fair and exhibitions
World Trade Center Barcelona
Drawing upon its tradition of creative art and craftsmanship, Barcelona is known for its award-winning industrial design. It also has several congress halls, notably Fira de Barcelona – second largest trade fair and exhibition centres in Europe, that host a quickly growing number of national and international events each year (at present above 50) (Dell XPS M2010 battery). Fira de Barcelona venues total is 405,000 m2 (41 ha), not counting Gran Via center on the Plaza de Europa. However, the economic crisis and deep cuts in business travel are affecting the Council's positioning of the city as a convention centre.
An important business centre, the World Trade Center Barcelona, is located in Barcelona's Port Vell harbour(Dell Latitude E5400 battery).
Barcelona is the 16th-most-visited city in the world and the fourth most visited in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome, with several million tourists every year.
Barcelona as internationally renowned a tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas, one of the best beaches in the world, mild and warm climate and historical monuments, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites has tens good-quality hotels and developed tourist infrastructure(Dell Latitude E5500 battery). Also, three times more tourists visit than there are residents.
Headquarters and a factories of SEAT and Nissan lies in the city and suburbs.
Past and present, Barcelona is an important European automobile manufacturing centre. Formerly there were automobile factories of AFA, Abadal, Actividades Industriales, Alvarez, America, Artés de Arcos, Balandrás, Baradat-Esteve, Biscúter, J. Castro, Clúa, David, Delfín, Díaz y Grilló, Ebro trucks, Edis, Elizalde, Automóviles España, Eucort(Dell Latitude E6400 battery), Fenix, Fábrica Hispano, Auto Academia Garriga, Fábrica Española de Automóviles Hebe, Hispano-Suiza, Huracán Motors, Talleres Hereter, Junior SL, Kapi, La Cuadra, M.A., Automóviles Matas, Motores y Motos, Nacional Custals, National Pescara, Nacional RG, Nacional Rubi, Nacional Sitjes, Automóviles Nike, Orix, Otro Ford, Partia, Pegaso, PTV, Ricart, Ricart-España, Industrias Salvador(Dell Latitude E6500 battery), Siata Española, Stevenson, Romagosa y Compañía, Garaje Storm, Talleres Hereter, Trimak, Automóviles Victoria, Manufacturas Mecánicas Aleu.
Today, the headquarters and a large factory of SEAT (the largest Spanish automobile manufacturer) are in one of its suburbs. There is also a Nissan factory lies in the logistics and industrial area of the city. Also, the factory of Derbi, large manufacturer of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds lies near the city. (Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery)
As in other modern cities, the manufacturing sector has long since been overtaken by the services sector, though it remains very important. The region's leading industries today are textiles, chemical, pharmaceutical, motor, electronic, printing, logistics, publishing, telecommunications and information technology services. (Dell XPS M140 battery)
The Brandery, fashion show in Barcelona.
The traditional importance of textiles is reflected in Barcelona's drive to become a major fashion centre. Beginning in the summer of 2000, the city hosted the prestigious Bread & Butter urban fashion fair until 2009, when its organisers announced that it would be returning to Berlin. This was a hard blow for the city as the fair brought €100 m to the city in just three days. (Dell XPS 13 battery) There have been many attempts to launch Barcelona as a fashion capital, notably Gaudi Home. The Brandery, an urban fashion show, is held in Barcelona twice a year. Barcelona is the seventh most important fashion capital in the world.
Government and administrative divisions
See also: Municipal elections in Barcelona and List of mayors of Barcelona
Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya(Dell XPS 16 battery).
Barcelona is governed by a city council formed by 41 city councilors, elected for a four-year term by universal suffrage. As one of the two biggest cities in Spain, Barcelona is subject to a special law articulated through the Carta Municipal (Municipal Law). A first version of this law was passed in 1960 and amended later, but the current version was approved in March 2006. (Dell XPS 1640 battery)According to this law, Barcelona's city council is organized in two levels: a political one, with elected city councilors, and one executive, which administrates the programs and executes the decisions taken on the political level. This law also gives the local government a special relationship with the central government and it also gives the mayor wider prerogatives by the means of municipal executive commissions. (Dell XPS 1645 battery)It expands the powers of the city council in areas like telecommunications, city traffic, road safety and public safety. It also gives a special economic regime to the city's treasury and it gives the council a veto in matters that will be decided by the central government, but that will need a favourable report from the council. (Dell XPS 1647 battery)
The town hall of Barcelona
The Comissió de Govern (Government Commission) is the executive branch, formed by 24 councilors, led by the Mayor, with 5 lieutenant-mayors and 17 city councilors, each in charge of an area of government, and 5 non-elected councilors. The plenary, formed by the 41 city councilors, has advisory, planning, regulatory, and fiscal executive functions. (Dell Latitude 131L battery) The six Commissions del Consell Municipal (City council commissions) have executive and controlling functions in the field of their jurisdiction. They are composed by a number of councilors proportional to the number of councilors each political party has in the plenary. The city council has jurisdiction in the fields of city planning, transportation, municipal taxes, public highways security through the Guàrdia Urbana (the municipal police), city maintenance(Dell Latitude C400 battery), gardens, parks and environment, facilities (like schools, nurseries, sports centres, libraries, and so on.), culture, sports, youth and social welfare. Some of these competencies are not exclusive, but shared with the Generalitat de Catalunya or the central Spanish government.
Gothic Gallery in the Palau de la Generalitat
The executive branch is led by a Chief Municipal Executive Officer which answers to the Mayor. It is made up of departments which are legally part of the city council and by separate legal entities of two tipes: autonomous public departments and public enterprises. (Dell Latitude C500 battery)
The seat of the city council is on the Plaça de Sant Jaume, opposite the seat of Generalitat de Catalunya. Since the coming of the Spanish democracy, Barcelona had been governed by the PSC, first with an absolute majority and later in coalition with ERC and ICV. After the May 2007 election, the ERC did not renew the coalition agreement and the PSC governed in a minority coalition with ICV as the junior partner(Dell Latitude C510 battery).
After 32 years, on 22 May 2011, CiU gained a plurality of seats at the municipal election, gaining 15 seats to the PSC's 11. The PP hold 8 seats, ICV 5 and ERC 2.
The Saló de Cent, in the town hall of Barcelona.
Districts of Barcelona
Main article: Districts of Barcelona
Since 1987, the city has been divided into 10 administrative districts (districtes in Catalan, distritos in Spanish), each one with its own council led by a city councillor. The composition of each district council depends on the number of votes each political party had in that district, so a district can be led by a councillor from a different party than the executive council(Dell Latitude C540 battery).
The districts are based mostly on historical divisions. Several of the city's districts are former towns annexed by the city of Barcelona in the 18th and 19th centuries that still maintain their own distinct character. The official names of these districts are in the Catalan language(Dell Latitude C600 battery).
Main article: Education in Catalonia
Paranymph of the UB
Barcelona has a well-developed higher education system of public universities. Most prominent among these is the University of Barcelona, a world-renowned research and teaching institution with campuses around the city. Barcelona is also home to the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and the newer Pompeu Fabra University(Dell Latitude C610 battery), and, in the private sector the EADA Business School founded in 1957, became the first Barcelona institution to run manager training programmes for the business community. IESE Business School, as well as the largest private educational institution, the Ramon Llull University, which encompasses internationally prestigious schools and institutes such as the ESADE Business School(Dell Latitude C640 battery). The Autonomous University of Barcelona, another public university, is located in Bellaterra, a town in the Metropolitan Area. The Open University of Catalonia, a private Internet-centered open university, is also based in Barcelona.
Historic building of the University of Barcelona, entrance vestibule
The city has a network of public schools, from nurseries to high schools, under the responsibility of a consortium led by city council (though the curriculum is the responsibility of the Generalitat de Catalunya). There are also many private schools(Dell Latitude C800 battery), some of them Roman Catholic. Most such schools receive a public subsidy on a per-student basis, are subject to inspection by the public authorities, and are required to follow the same curricular guidelines as public schools, though they charge tuition. Known as escoles concertades, they are distinct from schools whose funding is entirely private (escoles privades) (Dell Latitude C810 battery).
The language of instruction at public schools and escoles concertades is Catalan, as stipulated by the 2009 Catalan Education Act. Spanish may be used as a language of instruction by teachers of Spanish literature or language, and foreign languages by teachers of those languages. An experimental partial immersion programme adopted by some schools allows for the teaching of a foreign language (English, generally) across the curriculum(Dell Latitude C840 battery), though this is limited to a maximum of 30% of the school day. No public school or escola concertada in Barcelona may offer 50% or full immersion programmes in a foreign language, nor does any public school or escola concertada offer International Baccalaureate programmes(Dell Latitude CPI battery).
Main article: Culture of Barcelona
Palau de la Música Catalana
Barcelona's cultural roots go back 2000 years. To a greater extent than the rest of Catalonia, where Catalonia's native Catalan is more dominant, Barcelona is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken. The Catalan spoken in Barcelona, Central Catalan, is the one closest to standard Catalan. Since the arrival of democracy(Dell Latitude CPX battery), the Catalan culture (very much repressed during the dictatorship of Franco) has been promoted, both by recovering works from the past and by stimulating the creation of new works. Barcelona is designated as a world-class city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network.
Entertainment and performing arts
Main article: List of theatres and concert halls in Barcelona(Dell Latitude D410 battery)
The Liceu opera house
Barcelona has many venues for live music and theatre, including the world-renowned Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, the Teatre Lliure and the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall. Barcelona also is home to the Barcelona and Catalonia National Symphonic Orchestra (Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya(Dell Latitude D420 battery), usually known as OBC), the largest symphonic orchestra in Catalonia. In 1999, the OBC inaugurated its new venue in the brand-new Auditorium (l'Auditori). It performs around 75 concerts per season and its current director is Eiji Oue.
Yearly two major pop music festivals take place in the city, the Sónar Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival. The city also has a thriving alternative music scene, with groups such as The Pinker Tones receiving international attention. (Dell Latitude D430 battery)
El Periódico de Catalunya and La Vanguardia are Barcelona's two major daily newspapers (both with Catalan and Spanish editions) while Sport and El Mundo Deportivo (both in Spanish) are the city's two major sports daily newspapers, published by the same companies. The city is also served by a number of smaller publications such as Ara and El Punt Avui (in Catalan) (Dell Latitude D500 battery), by nation-wide newspapers with special Barcelona editions like El Pais and El Mundo (both in Spanish), and by several free newspapers like 20 minutos and Què (all bilingual).
Several major FM stations include Catalunya Ràdio, RAC 1, RAC 105 and Cadena SER. Barcelona also has a local TV stations, BTV, owned by city council. The headquarters of Televisió de Catalunya, Catalonia's public network, are located in Sant Joan Despí, in Barcelona's metropolitan area(Dell Latitude D505 battery).
Main article: Sport in Barcelona
Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc (Barcelona Olympic Stadium) built for the 1936 Summer Olympics named People's Olympiad.
Barcelona has a long sporting tradition and hosted the highly successful 1992 Summer Olympics as well as several matches during the 1982 FIFA World Cup (on the two stadiums). It has also hosted, among others, about 30 sports events of international significance(Dell Latitude D510 battery). Also, the city aspires to organize the 2022 Winter Olympics. The opening, closing, medal ceremonies and indoor sports would be held in Barcelona, while outdoor sports would be held in ski resorts in the Pyrenees, mainly La Molina.
The Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe.
FC Barcelona is a sports club best known worldwide for its football team, one of the largest in the world and second richest football club in the world. It has 62 of national (likewise 41 runners-up) and 15 continental (likewise 10 runners-up) trophies(Dell Latitude D520 battery), including four of the UEFA Champions League (likewise 3 runners-up and actually champion) and two of the FIFA Club World Cup (likewise 1 runners-up and actually champion). Also, it the only men's club in the world to accomplish a sextuple. FC Barcelona also has teams in FC Barcelona Regal (basketball), FC Barcelona Handbol (the handball), FC Barcelona Hoquei (roller hockey) (Dell Latitude D600 battery), FC Barcelona Ice Hockey (ice hockey), FC Barcelona Futsal (futsal) and FC Barcelona Rugby (rugby union), all of them winners of the highest country or/and European competitions. The club's museum is the second most visited in Catalonia. Twice a season, FC Barcelona and cross-town rivals RCD Espanyol contest in the local derby in La Liga, while its basketball section has its own local derby in Liga ACB with nearby Joventut Badalona(Dell Latitude D610 battery). Barcelona also has other clubs in lower categories, like CE Europa and UE Sant Andreu.
Palau Sant Jordi (St. George's sporting arena) and Montjuïc Communications Tower
Barcelona has two UEFA elite stadiums (): FC Barcelona's Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 100,000 and the publicly owned Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, with a capacity of 55,000; used for the 1992 Olympics. Also, the city has several smaller stadiums such as Mini Estadi, with a capacity of 15,000 and Estadio Narcís Sala(Dell Latitude D620 battery), Nou Sardenya with a capacity of 7,000. In the suburbs of Barcelona there is a third UEFA elite stadium () – Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, with a capacity of 40,000. Also, except Palau Sant Jordi (St. George's sporting arena), with a capacity of 12,000–24,000 (depending on use), city has two other larger sporting and concert arena: Palau Blaugrana, with a capacity of 7,500 and Palau dels Esports de Barcelona(Dell Latitude D630 battery).
Circuit de Catalunya/Circuit de Barcelona, race track of Formula 1 and MotoGP on the suburb of Barcelona.
Several major road running competitions are organized year-round in Barcelona: the Barcelona Marathon every March with a participants of over 10,000 in 2010, the Cursa de Bombers in April, the Cursa de El Corte Inglés in May (with about 60,000 participants each year), the Cursa de la Mercè, the Cursa Jean Bouin, the Milla Sagrada Família and the San Silvestre(Dell Latitude D800 battery). The Open Seat Godó, a 50-year-old ATP World Tour 500 Series tennis tournament, is held annually in the facilities of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona (Barcelona Royal Tennis Club). Also, each Christmas, a swimming race across the port is organized. Near Barcelona, in Montmeló, the 131,000 capacity Circuit de Catalunya / Circuit de Barcelona racetrack hosts the Formula One World Championship, Formula One Spanish Grand Prix(Dell Latitude D810 battery), Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix, Spanish GT Championship and GP2 Series. Skateboarding and bicycling are also very popular in Barcelona. In the city and the metropolitan area, there are tens of kilometers of bicycle paths.
Aerial view of the Barcelona Airport.
Main article: Barcelona El Prat Airport
Barcelona is served by Barcelona El Prat Airport, about 17 km (11 mi) from the centre of Barcelona. It is the second-largest airport in Spain, and the largest on the Mediterranean coast. It is a main hub for Vueling Airlines and Spanair (closed) (Dell Latitude D820 battery), and also a focus for Iberia and Air Europa. The airport mainly serves domestic and European destinations, but some airlines offer destinations in Latin America, Asia and the United States. The airport is connected to the city by highway, commuter train (Barcelona Airport railway station) and scheduled bus service. A new terminal (T1) has been built, and entered service on 17 June 2009(Dell Latitude D830 battery).
Sabadell Airport is a smaller airport in the nearby town of Sabadell, devoted to pilot training, aerotaxi and private flights. Some low-cost airlines, such as Transavia.com and Ryanair, prefer to use Girona-Costa Brava Airport, situated about 90 km (56 mi) to the north of Barcelona and the Reus Airport, situated 77 km (48 mi) to the south, though they offer some flights from Barcelona El Prat Airport(Dell Latitude 2100 battery)
Main article: Port of Barcelona
Port of Barcelona
The Port of Barcelona has a 2000-year old history and a great contemporary commercial importance. It is Europe's ninth largest container port, with a trade volume of 2.57 million TEU's in 2008. The port is managed by the Port Authority of Barcelona. Its 7.86 km2 (3 sq mi) are divided into three zones: Port Vell (the Old Port), the commercial port and the logistics port (Barcelona Free Port) (Dell Latitude 2110 battery). The port is undergoing an enlargement that will double its size thanks to diverting the mouth of the Llobregat river 2 km (1¼ mi) to the south.
The Port Vell area also houses the Maremagnum (a commercial mall), a multiplex cinema, the IMAX Port Vell and Europe's largest aquarium – Aquarium Barcelona, containing 8,000 fish and 11 sharks contained in 22 basins filled with 6 million litres of sea water. The Maremagnum, due to being situated a designated tourist zone, is the only commercial mall in the city that can open on Sundays and public holidays(Dell Latitude E4300 battery).
The Port Vell.
Main article: Autoritat del Transport Metropolità
Metro in Barcelona and Tram in Barcelona.
Barcelona is served by a comprehensive local public transport network that includes a metro, a bus network, two separate modern tram networks, a separate historic tram line, and several funiculars and aerial cable cars. The Barcelona Metro network comprises eleven lines, identified by an "L" followed by the line number as well as by individual colours. Most of the network (Dell Vostro 1310 battery) (nine lines) is operated by the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), but three lines are FGC commuter lines that run through the city. When finished, the L9 will be the second longest underground metro line in Europe with 42.6 km; only shorter than London's 76 km Central Line.
The Estació del Nord (Northern Station), a former railway station that was renovated for the 1992 Olympic Games, now serves as the terminus for long-distance and regional bus services(Dell Vostro 1320 battery).
Barcelona taxi and Barcelona bicing station.
Another company, TRAMMET, operates the city's two modern tram networks, known as Trambaix and Trambesòs. The historic tram line, the Tramvia Blau, connects the metro to the Funicular del Tibidabo (both operated by TMB). The Funicular de Tibidabo climbs the Tibidabo hill, as does the Funicular de Vallvidrera (FGC). The Funicular de Montjuïc (TMB) climbs the Montjuïc hill(Dell Vostro 1510 battery). The city has two aerial cable cars: Montjuïc Aerial Tramway (to the Montjuïc castle) and Port Vell Aerial Tramway that runs via Torre Jaume I and Torre Sant Sebastià over the port.
Barcelona has a metered taxi fleet governed by the Institut Metropolità del Taxi (Metropolitan Taxi Institute), composed of more than 10,000 cars. Most of the licences are in the hands of self-employed drivers. (Dell Vostro 1520 battery) With their black and yellow livery, Barcelona's taxis are easily spotted.
On 22 March 2007, Barcelona's City Council started the Bicing service, a bicycle service understood as a public transport. Once the user has their user card, they can take a bicycle from any of the 100 stations spread around the city and use it anywhere the urban area of the city, and then leave it at another station. The service has been a success, with 50,000 subscribed users in three months. (Dell Vostro 2510 battery)
Siemens Velaro designed for speeds of 310 km/h (194 mph) at Barcelona-Sants AVE station.
Barcelona is a major hub for RENFE, the Spanish state railway network, and its main intercity train station is Barcelona-Sants station. The AVE high-speed rail system – designed for speeds of 310 km/h (194 mph) – was extended from Madrid to Barcelona (Madrid–Barcelona high-speed rail line) in 2008. Generally, Barcelona has high-speed rail links with major cities of Spain(Dell Vostro 1014 battery).
B-20 motorway in Barcelona.
A high-speed rail connecting Barcelona and France – LGV Perpignan–Figueres will be launched in 2012. Rodalies and the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) run Barcelona's widespread commuter train service.
Roads and highways
Barcelona lies on three international routes, including European route E15 (north-south), European route E90 (west-east) and European route E09; it also has a comprehensive network of motorways and highways throughout the metropolitan area(Dell Inspiron 1410 battery), including A-2, A-7/AP-7, C-16, C-17, C-31, C-32, C-33, C-60. The city is circled by three half ring roads or bypasses, Ronda de Dalt (B-20) (on the mountain side), Ronda del Litoral (B-10) (along the coast) and Ronda del Mig (separated into two parts: Travessera de Dalt in the north and the Gran Via de Carles III), two partially covered fast highways with several exits that bypass the city(Dell Vostro 1015 battery).
The city's main arteries include Diagonal Avenue, which crosses it diagonally, Meridiana Avenue which leads to Glòries and connects with Diagonal Avenue and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, which crosses the city from east to west, passing through its centre.
Seychelles (i/seɪˈʃɛlz/ say-shelz; French: [sɛʃɛl]), officially the Republic of Seychelles (French: République des Seychelles; Creole: Repiblik Sesel) (Dell Vostro 1015N battery), is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar.
Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest. Seychelles, with an estimated population of 86,525, has the smallest population of any African state. (Dell Inspiron 1088 battery) It also has the highest Human Development Index in Africa.
Main article: History of Seychelles
Scholars assume that Austronesian seafarers, and later Maldivian and Arab traders were the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles. Remains of Maldivian mariner presence from the 12th century were found in Silhouette Island. The earliest recorded sighting by Europeans took place in 1502 by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama, who passed through the Amirantes and named them after himself (islands of the Admiral) (Dell Inspiron 1088N battery).
A transit point for trade between Africa and Asia, the islands were occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV’s Minister of Finance. (Dell Vostro A840 battery
The British contested control over the islands between 1794 and 1810. Jean Baptiste Quéau de Quincy, French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality(Dell Vostro A860 battery).
Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. Elections were held in 1966 and 1970. Independence was granted in 1976 as a republic within the Commonwealth. In 1977, a coup d'état ousted the first president of the republic, James Mancham, who was replaced by France Albert René. (Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 battery)The 1979 constitution declared a socialist one-party state, which lasted until 1991. The first draft of a new constitution failed to receive the requisite 60% of voters in 1992, but an amended version was approved in 1993.
Main article: Politics of Seychelles
State House, Victoria—the seat of the President
The Seychelles president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The previous president, France Albert René, first came to power after his supporters overthrew the first president in 1977 and installed him as president(SONY PCG-5G2L battery), one year after independence. He was reelected thereafter during each election cycle. He stepped down in 2004 in favour of his vice-president, James Michel, who was re-elected in 2006. Michel was reelected in 2011 in an election declared by over 100 international observers, representing Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Indian Ocean Commission, as being free and fair, although the opposition parties claim that there was vote-buying(SONY PCG-5G3L battery).
The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature.
The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale, consists of 34 members, of whom 25 are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining nine seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms(SONY PCG-5J1L battery).
The main rival parties are the ruling socialist Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF), as of 2009 the SPPF became the People's Party (PP) or Parti Lepep (LP), and the liberal democrat Seychelles National Party (SNP). Politics has been an integral part of the lives of the Seychellois since its inception in the early sixties. The range of opinion spans socialist and liberal democratic ideology(SONY PCG-5J2L battery).
President James Michel in his office in Victoria, Seychelles in 2009
Seychelles is part of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), La Francophonie and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Seychelles performed excellently on the 2010 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, ranking 2nd out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries, with an overall score of 79 out of 100, second only to Mauritius, which received a score of 83. Particularly good were its scores in Safety and Security(SONY PCG-5K2L battery), Participation and Human Rights, and Human Development. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.
Main article: Districts of Seychelles
Seychelles is divided into twenty-five administrative regions that comprise all of the inner islands. Eight of the districts make up the capital of Seychelles and are referred to as Greater Victoria(SONY PCG-5L1L battery). Another 14 districts are considered the rural part of the main island of Mahé with two districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also includes respective satellite islands. The rest of the Outer Islands are not considered part of any district.
This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2011)
Main article: Education in Seychelles
Until the mid-19th century, little formal education was available in Seychelles; both the Catholic and Anglican churches opened mission schools in 1851(SONY PCG-6S2L battery). The Catholic mission later operated boys' and girls' secondary schools with religious Brothers and nuns from abroad even after the government became responsible for them in 1944. A teacher training college opened in 1959, when the supply of locally trained teachers began to grow, and in short time many new schools were established. Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect requiring attendance by all children in grades one to nine(SONY PCG-6S3L battery), beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children also attend nursery school at age four.
The literacy rate for school-aged children rose to more than 90% by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois had not been taught to read or write in their childhood, but adult education classes helped raise adult literacy from 60% to a claimed 85% in 1991.
Currently the public school system consists of 23 crèches, 25 primary schools and 13 secondary schools. The schools are located on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette(SONY PCG-6V1L battery). There are also three private schools: École Française, International School and the Independent school. All three private schools are located on Mahé, but the International School has a branch on Praslin. There are seven post secondary (non-tertiary) schools. They are the Seychelles Polytechnic, School of Advanced Level Studies, National Institute of Education, Seychelles Institute of Technology(SONY PCG-6W1L battery), Maritime Training Centre, Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Centre and the National Institute for Health and Social Studies.
The current administration has advanced plans to open a university on the islands in an attempt to slow down the brain drain that has occurred in the past. University of Seychelles, initiated in conjunction with the University of London, is launching education programmes which will include teaching and lead to the award of the recognised qualifications from the University of London(SONY PCG-7111L battery).
Main article: Geography of Seychelles
Dense forests of Mahé Island
An island nation, Seychelles is located to the northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya. The number of islands in the archipelago is often given as 115 but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155. The islands as per the Constitution are divided into various groups as follows(SONY PCG-71511M battery).
There are 42 granitic islands, in descending order of size: Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette Island, La Digue, Curieuse, Felicite, Frégate, Ste-Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sœur, Thérèse, Aride, Conception, Petite Sœur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Récif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Île aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (Île Sèche), Cachée, Cocos, Round (Mahé) (SONY PCG-6W3L battery), L'Ilot Frégate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mahé), Chauve Souris (Praslin), Île La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zavé, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).
The beach of Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue
There are two coral sand cays north of the granitics: Denis and Bird.
There are two coral islands south of the granitics: Coëtivy and Platte.
There are 29 coral islands in the Amirantes group, west of the granitics: Desroches, Poivre Atoll (comprising three islands—Poivre, Florentin and South Island), Alphonse, D'Arros, St. Joseph Atoll (comprising 14 islands—St. Joseph Île aux Fouquets, Resource, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Bancs Ferrari(SONY PCG-7113L battery), Chiens, Pélicans, Vars, Île Paul, Banc de Sable, Banc aux Cocos and Île aux Poules), Marie Louise, Desnoeufs, African Banks (comprising two islands—African Banks and South Island), Rémire, St. François, Boudeuse, Etoile, Bijoutier.
There are 13 coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-southwest of the Amirantes: Farquhar Atoll (comprising 10 islands—Bancs de Sable Déposés Île aux Goëlettes Lapins Île du Milieu North Manaha South Manaha Middle Manaha North Island and South Island) (SONY PCG-7133L battery), Providence Atoll (comprising two islands—Providence and Bancs Providence) and St Pierre.
There are 67 raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group: Aldabra Atoll (comprising 46 islands—Grande Terre, Picard, Polymnie, Malabar, Île Michel, Île Esprit, Île aux Moustiques, Ilot Parc, Ilot Emile, Ilot Yangue, Ilot Magnan, Île Lanier, Champignon des Os, Euphrate, Grand Mentor, Grand Ilot, Gros Ilot Gionnet, Gros Ilot Sésame(SONY PCG-7Z1L battery), Heron Rock, Hide Island, Île aux Aigrettes, Île aux Cèdres, Îles Chalands, Île Fangame, Île Héron, Île Michel, Île Squacco, Île Sylvestre, Île Verte, Ilot Déder, Ilot du Sud, Ilot du Milieu, Ilot du Nord, Ilot Dubois, Ilot Macoa, Ilot Marquoix, Ilots Niçois, Ilot Salade, Middle Row Island, Noddy Rock, North Row Island, Petit Mentor, Petit Mentor Endans, Petits Ilots, Pink Rock and Table Ronde), Assumption Island(SONY PCG-7Z2L battery), Astove and Cosmoledo Atoll (comprising 19 islands—Menai, Île du Nord (West North), Île Nord-Est (East North), Île du Trou, Goëlettes, Grand Polyte, Petit Polyte, Grand Île (Wizard), Pagode, Île du Sud-Ouest (South), Île aux Moustiques, Île Baleine, Île aux Chauve-Souris, Île aux Macaques, Île aux Rats, Île du Nord-Ouest, Île Observation, Île Sud-Est and Ilot la Croix) (SONY PCG-8Y1L battery).
According to the president of Nauru, the Seychelles has been ranked the ninth most endangered nation due to flooding from climate change.
The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C (75 to 86 °F), and rainfall ranges from 2,900 mm (114 in) annually at Victoria to 3,600 mm (142 in) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands. During the coolest months(SONY PCG-8Y2L battery), July and August, the average low is about 24 °C (75 °F). The southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher humidity (80%). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom exceeds 31 °C (88 °F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare(SONY PCG-8Z2L battery).
Main article: Economy of Seychelles
During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the chief exports. In the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector. In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a serious industry, basically dividing the economy into plantations and tourism(SONY PCG-8Z1L battery). The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could only expand so far. The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and tourism became the primary industry of Seychelles.
Coconut oil making in the early 1970s
Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force(SONY PCG-7112L battery). Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla. The prime agricultural products currently produced in the Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts, and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon, and vanilla are the main export commodities of the islands(SONY PCG-6W2L battery).
Graphical depiction of Seychelles's product exports in 28 color coded categories.
In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new resort properties, such as project TIME, distributed by the World Bank, along with its predecessor project MAGIC. Despite its growth(SONY PCG-5K1L battery), the vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 1991–1992 due largely to the Gulf War. Since then the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, small-scale manufacturing and most recently the offshore financial sector, through the establishment of the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) (SONY VGP-BPS21B battery) and the enactment of several pieces of legislation (such as the International Corporate Service Providers Act, the International Business Companies Act, the Securities Act, the Mutual Funds and Hedge Fund Act, amongst others).
Other issues facing the government are the curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs, and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity(SONY VGP-BPS21 battery), with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, insurance (has now been privatized), banking (is being privatized very soon), imports of basic products (now being privatized), telecommunications (four private ISP/telecom companies), and a wide range of other businesses.
The national currency of the Seychelles is the Seychellois rupee or Seychelles Rupee(SONY VGP-BPS21/S battery). Initially tied to a basket of international currencies it was depegged and allowed to be devalued and float freely in 2008 on the presumed hopes of attracting further foreign investment in the Seychelles Economy.
Main article: Demographics of Seychelles
See also: Indo-Seychellois, Sino-Seychellois, Seychellois Creole People, Seychellois Creole, and Franco-Seychellois
When the British gained control of the islands during the Napoleonic Wars, they allowed the French upper class to retain their land(SONY VGP-BPS13S battery). Both the French and British settlers used enslaved Africans and although the British prohibited slavery in 1835, African workers continued to come. Thus the Gran'bla ("big whites") of French origin dominated economic and political life. The British administration employed Indians on indentured servitude from India to the same degree as in Mauritius resulting in a small Indian population(SONY VGP-BPS13B/S battery). The Indians, like a similar minority of Chinese, were confined to a merchant class. Today the descendents of the Indian, Chinese, and Gran'bla form distinct ethnic communities, although most people are of 'black' African origin, often mixed with 'white' European or Asian heritage.
As the islands of Seychelles had no indigenous population, the current Seychellois are composed of people who have emigrated to the island. The largest ethnic groups are those of African, French, Indian, and Chinese descent(SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery). French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French. Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic are spoken by a small part of population as secondary languages.
According to the 2002 census, most Seychellois are Christians: 82.3% are Roman Catholic, 6.4% are Anglican, and 4.5% are of other Christian denominations(SONY VGP-BPS14 battery). There are also small minorities that practice Hinduism (2.1%) and Islam (1.1%). Other non-Christian faiths account for 1.5% of the population while a further 2.1% were non-religious or did not specify a religion. The total median age of Seychellois is 32 years.
See also: Religion in Seychelles, Women in Seychelles, and Music of Seychelles
Seychellois society is essentially matriarchal. Mothers tend to be dominant in the household, controlling most current expenditures and looking after the interests of the children. (SONY VGP-BPL14 battery) Unwed mothers are the societal norm, and the law requires fathers to support their children. Men are important for their earning ability, but their domestic role is relatively peripheral. Older women can usually count on financial support from family members living at home or contributions from the earnings of grown children(SONY VGP-BPS14/B battery).
The district clock tower in the centre of Victoria, capital of Seychelles
The music of Seychelles is diverse. The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including African rhythms, aesthetic and instrumentation—such as the zez and the bom (known in Brazil as berimbau), European contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres(SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery), and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music. A complex form of percussion music called contombley is popular, as is Moutya, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga.
Traditionally, despite a greater connection with Great Britain (e.g., in education, which follows the International General Certificate of Education (IGCSE), and on many aspects of the law) many foreign observers[who?] have stated that "the culture remains emphatically French" and about 70% of the population have a family name of French origin(SONY VGP-BPS14B battery), compared with only about 20% family names of English origin. The two are often mixed, such that inhabitants receive an English first name and a French family name or vice-versa (e.g., Jean-Pierre Kingsmith).
Environmental legislation is very strict, and every tourism project must undergo an environmental review and a lengthy process of consultations with the public and conservationists. The Seychelles is a world leader in sustainable tourism(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery). The end result of this sustainable development is an intact and stable natural environment, which attracts financially strong visitors (150,000 in 2007) rather than short-term mass tourism. Since 1993 a law guarantees the citizens the right to a clean environment and at the same time obliges them to protect this environment. The country holds a record for the highest percentage of land under natural conservation—nearly 50% of the total land area of the Seychelles(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery).
Anse Source d' Argent on La Digue
Like many fragile island ecosystems, the Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity during early human history, including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands, the felling of coastal and mid-level forests, and the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles Parakeet(SONY VGP-BPS18 battery), the Seychelles Black Terrapin and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii, partly due to a shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). The Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna. The rare Seychelles Black Parrot, the national bird of the country, is now protected(SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery).
The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the Coco de Mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the "love nut" because of the shape of its fruit which(SONY VGP-BPS22A battery), with the husk removed, presents a "double" coconut resembling a woman's buttocks, the coco-de-mer produces the world's heaviest seed pods. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahe. This strange and ancient plant in a genus of its own (Medusagynaceae) has resisted all efforts to propagate it. Other unique plant species include the Wright's Gardenia Rothmannia annae found only on Aride Island Special Reserve(SONY Vaio VGN-CR11H/B battery).
The freshwater crab genus Seychellum is endemic to the granitic Seychelles, and a further 26 species of crabs and 5 species of hermit crabs live on the islands.
Giant Tortoise (Dipsochelys hololissa)
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise now populates many of the islands of the Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. It has been reported that the granitic islands of Seychelles supported distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises; the status of the different populations is currently unclear(SONY Vaio VGN-CR116E battery).
There are several unique varieties of orchids on the Islands.
Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. In the outer islands Aldabra and Cosmoledo are home to the largest numbers. In granitic Seychelles the largest numbers are on Aride Island including the world's largest numbers of two species.
The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15T battery). Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has unfortunately damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery (e.g. Silhouette Island) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15G battery).
Although multinational oil companies have explored the waters around the islands, no oil or gas has been found. In 2005, a deal was signed with US firm Petroquest, giving it exploration rights to about 30,000 km2 around Constant, Topaz, Farquhar and Coëtivy islands until 2014. Seychelles imports oil from the Gulf in the form of refined petroleum derivatives at the rate of about 5,700 barrels per day (910 m3/d) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ4000 battery). In recent years oil has been imported from Kuwait and also from Bahrain. Seychelles imports three times more oil than is needed for internal uses because it re-exports the surplus oil in the form of bunker for ships and aircraft calling at Mahé. There are no refining capacities on the islands. Oil and gas imports, distribution and re-export are the responsibility of Seychelles Petroleum (Sepec), while oil exploration is the responsibility of the Seychelles National Oil Company (SNOC) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E battery).
The main natural resources of the Seychelles are fish, copra, cinnamon, coconuts, salt and iron.