Government and administrative divisions
See also: Municipal elections in Barcelona and List of mayors of Barcelona
Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32 battery)
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) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21 battery).
Barcelona is governed by a city council formed by 41 city councillors, 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. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S battery)According to this law, Barcelona's city council is organized in two levels: a political one, with elected city councillors, 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. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M 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. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery)
The city hall of Barcelona
The Comissió de Govern (Government Commission) is the executive branch, formed by 24 councillors, led by the Mayor, with 5 lieutenant-mayors and 17 city council ors, each in charge of an area of government, and 5 non-elected councillors. The plenary, formed by the 41 city councillors, has advisory, planning, regulatory, and fiscal executive functions. (Sony VGN-NR11S/S 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 councillors proportional to the number of councillors each political party has in the plenary. The city council has jurisdiction in the fields of city planning, transportation, municipal taxes(Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery), public highways security through the Guàrdia Urbana (the municipal police), city maintenance, 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(Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery).
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.
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(Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery), 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.
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery).
The Saló de Cent, in the city hall 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z 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.
Paranymph of the UB
Barcelona has a well-developed higher education system of public universities. Most prominent among these is the University of Barcelona (established in 1450) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery), 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, 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery). 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. 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery).
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, 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery), 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).
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery), 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, 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery).
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H 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. The major thoroughfare of Las Ramblas is home to mime artists and street performers. Yearly two major pop music festivals take place in the city(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery), 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.
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery). The city is also served by a number of smaller publications such as Ara and El Punt Avui (in Catalan), 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery).
Main article: Sport in Barcelona
Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc (Barcelona Olympic Stadium) built for the 1936 Summer Olympics named People's Olympiad.
The Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe.
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W 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.
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E 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), FC Barcelona Ice Hockey (ice hockey) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery), 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J 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) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery), the Cursa de la Mercè, the Cursa Jean Bouin, the Milla Sagrada Família and the San Silvestre. 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(Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery) / Circuit de Barcelona racetrack hosts the Formula One World Championship, Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, 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(Sony VGN-NR11S Battery).
Main article: Transport in Barcelona
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), 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(Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery). 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.
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(Sony VGN-CR11S Battery), situated about 90 km (56 mi) to the north of Barcelona, the Reus Airport, situated 77 km (48 mi) to the south, though they offer some flights from Barcelona-El Prat Airport and also Lleida-Alguaire Airport situated about 150 km (93 mi) to the west of the city. The city airport system, measured by passenger traffic, is one of busiest city airport systems in Europe, having nearly 40 million passengers per year(Sony VGN-CR11M Battery).
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) (Sony VGN-CR11E 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
Main article: Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (Sony VGN-CR21E Battery)
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(Sony VGN-CR21S Battery). Most of the network (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(Sony VGN-CR21Z 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. The city has two aerial cable cars(Sony VGN-CR31S Battery): 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. With their black and yellow livery(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery), 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. (Sony VGN-CR31Z 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(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery).
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.
B-20 motorway in Barcelona.
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(Sony VGN-CR41S 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(Sony VGN-CR41E 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.
Valencia (Spanish: [baˈlenθja]) or València (Valencian: [vaˈlensia]) is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona(Sony VGN-CR41SR Battery), with around 809,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Valencia is also Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.3 million. The city has global city status. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the largest on the Mediterranean Sea, with a trade volume of 4.21 million TEU's. (Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery)
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 acres; this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country's most popular tourist destinations(Sony VGN-CR42S Battery). Major monuments include Valencia Cathedral, the Torres de Serranos, the Torres de Quart, the Llotja de la Seda (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996), and the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The Museu de Belles Arts de València houses a large collection of paintings from the 14th to the 18th centuries(Sony VGN-CR42E Battery), including works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as an important series of engravings by Piranesi. The Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography.
Valencia is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast). Valencia's main festival is the Falles. The traditional Spanish dish, paella, originated in Valencia(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery).
The original Latin name of the city was Valentia (Latin pronunciation: [waˈlentia]), meaning "strength", or "valour", the city being named according to the Roman practice of recognizing the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Livy explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd century BC was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against an Iberian rebel(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery), Viriato. During the rule of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, it was called مدينة التراب (Medina at-Turab, 'City of Sands'), since it was located on the banks of the River Turia, while the term بلنسية (Balansiyya) was reserved for the entire Taifa of Valencia. By gradual sound changes this has become Valencia [baˈlenθja] in Castilian and València [vaˈlensia] in Valencian (in Valencian the grave accent <è> /ɛ/ contrasts with the acute accent <é> /e/(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery), nevertheless the word 'València' is an exception to this rule which is spelled according to Catalan etymology, though it uses a pronunciation closer to Vulgar Latin). The city is situated on the banks of the Turia river, on the eastern coast of the Iberian peninsula and the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, fronting the Gulf of Valencia(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R Battery). At the time of its founding by the Romans it stood on a river island in the Turia, 6.4 km (4 mi) from the sea. The Albufera, a saltwater lagoon and estuary which lies about 11 km (7 mi) south of the city, is one of the largest lakes in Spain; it was bought by the City Council from the Crown of Spain for 1,072,980 pesetas in 1911, and today forms the main portion of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery) (Albufera Nature Reserve), with a surface area of 21,120 hectares (52,200 acres). Because of its cultural, historical and ecological value, it was declared a natural park by the Generalitat Valenciana in 1986.
Valencia has a subtropical climate on the borderline of the Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) and semi-arid climate (BSk), with very mild winters and long warm to hot summers(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery).
Its average annual temperature is 22.3 °C (72.1 °F) during the day and 13.4 °C (56.1 °F) at night. In the coldest month - January - the maximum temperature typically during the day ranges from 10 to 20 °C (50 to 68 °F), the minimum temperature typically at night ranges from 2 to 12 °C (36 to 54 °F) and the average sea temperature is 14 °C (57 °F). In the warmest month - August (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery)- the temperature during the day typically ranges from 28–34 °C (82–93 °F), about 23 °C (73 °F) at night and the average sea temperature is 26 °C (79 °F). Generally, summer temperatures similar to those experienced in northern part of Europe last about 8 months, from April to November. March is transitional, the temperature often exceeds 20 °C (68 °F), with an average temperature of 19 °C (66 °F) during the day and 9 °C (48 °F) at night(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery). December, January and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures around 17 °C (63 °F) during the day and 8 °C (46 °F) at night.
Sunshine duration hours are 2,660 per year, from 150 (average nearly 5 hours of sunshine duration at day) in December to 314 (average above 10 hours of sunshine duration at day) in July. Average annual temperature of the sea is 18.5 °C (65.3 °F). Average relative humidity is 60% in April to 68% in August(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/W Battery).
Valencia enjoyed strong economic growth over the last decade, much of it spurred by tourism and the construction industry, with concurrent development and expansion of telecommunications and transport. Air Nostrum, a regional airline, is headquartered in Valencia. The city's economy is service-oriented, as nearly 84% of the working population is employed in service sector occupations(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery). However, the city still maintains an important industrial base, with 5.5% of the population employed in this sector. Agricultural activities are still carried on in the municipality, even though of relatively minor importance with only 1.9% of the working population and 3973 hectares planted mostly in orchards and citrus groves(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery).
In 2009, Valencia was the 29th fastest improving European city. Its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and the arts contributes to its status as one of the world's "Gamma"-rank global cities.
The large factory of Ford Motor Company lies in suburb of city, in Almussafes.
Port of Valencia
Valencia’s port is the biggest on the Mediterranean western coast, the first of Spain in container traffic as of 2008(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery) and the second of Spain in total traffic, handling 20% of Spain’s exports. The main exports are foodstuffs and beverages. Other exports include oranges, furniture, ceramic tiles, fans, textiles and iron products. Valencia’s manufacturing sector focuses on metallurgy, chemicals, textiles, shipbuilding and brewing. Small and medium sized industries are an important part of the local economy, and unemployment is lower than the Spanish average(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery).
Following the announcement that the 32nd America's Cup would be held in Valencia in 2007, the port underwent radical changes in which it was divided into two parts, one part remaining unchanged while the other section would be used exclusively for the America's Cup festivities. The two sections are now divided by a wall that projects far into the water in an effort to maintain clean water for the America's Cup side(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery).
The North station (Estació del Nord)
Public transport is provided by the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV) which operates the Metrovalencia and other rail and bus services. The Estación del Norte (North Station) is the main railway terminus in Valencia. A new temporary station, Estación de València-Joaquín Sorolla, has been built on land adjacent to this terminus to accommodate high speed AVE trains to and from Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Alicante(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery). Valencia Airport is situated 9 km (5.6 mi) west of Valencia city centre. Alicante Airport is situated about 170 km (110 mi) south of Valencia.
Starting in the mid-1990s, Valencia, formerly an industrial centre, saw rapid development which expanded its cultural and touristic possibilities, and transformed it into a newly vibrant city. Many local landmarks were restored, including the ancient Towers of the medieval city (Serrano Towers and Quart Towers) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery), and the San Miguel de los Reyes monastery which now holds a conservation library. Whole sections of the old city, for example the Carmen Quarter, have been extensively renovated. The Paseo Marítimo, a 4 km (2 mi) long palm tree-lined promenade was constructed along the beaches of the north side of the port (Playa Las Arenas, Playa Cabañal and Playa de la Malvarrosa) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery).
The city has numerous convention centres and venues for trade events, among them the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Centre (Institución Ferial de Valencia) and the Palau de congres (Conference Palace), and several 5-star hotels to accommodate business travelers.
In its long history, Valencia has acquired many local traditions and festivals(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery), among them the Falles, which were declared Celebrations of International Touristic Interest (Fiestas de Interés Turístico Internacional) on 25 January 1965, and the Water Tribunal of Valencia (Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia), which was declared an intangible cultural heritage of humanity (Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad) in 2009(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery). In addition to these Valencia has hosted world-class events that helped shape the city's reputation and put it in the international spotlight, e.g., the Regional Exhibition of 1909, the 32nd and the 33rd America's Cup competitions, the European Grand Prix of Formula One auto racing, the Valencia Open 500 tennis tournament, and the Global Champions Tour of equestrian sports(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery).
The 2005 America's Cup yachting races were held at Valencia in June and July 2005 and attracted huge crowds. According to official data from the organizing committee, as many as 150,000 visitors flocked to Valencia's port each day during the two weeks of events.
The third largest city in Spain and the 15th most populous municipality in the European Union, Valencia has a population of 809,267(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/W Battery) within its administrative limits on a land area of 134.6 km2 (52 sq mi). It is. The urban area of Valencia extending beyond the administrative city limits has a population of between 1,175,000 and 1,564,145. Between 1,705,742and 2,300,000 people live in the Valencia metropolitan area.
One notable demographic change in Valencia in the last decade has been the growth in the foreign born population which has risen from 1.5% in the year 2000(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery) to 15.1% in 2009, a trend that has also occurred in the two larger cities of Madrid and Barcelona. The main countries of origin were Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Morocco and Romania. Between 2007 and 2008 there was a 14% increase in the foreign born population with the largest numeric increases by country being from Bolivia, Romania and Italy(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery).
Traditional preparation of paella
Valencia is known internationally for the Falles (Las Fallas), a local festival held in March, and for paella valenciana, traditional Valencian ceramics, intricate traditional dress, and the architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
La Tomatina, an annual tomato fight, draws crowds to the nearby town of Buñol in August. There are also a number of well-preserved traditional Catholic festivities throughout the year(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery). Holy week celebrations in Valencia are considered some of the most colourful in Spain. Valencia has a metro system, the Metrovalencia (Valencia Metro).
Valencia is the current location of the Formula One European Grand Prix, first hosting the event on 24 August 2008. The city will host the event until at least 2014.
The University of Valencia (officially Universitat de València Estudi General) was founded in 1499, being one of the oldest surviving universities in Spain(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery), and the oldest university in the Valencian Community. It was listed as one of the four leading Spanish universities in the 2011 Shangai Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2011, Berklee College of Music in Boston announced the opening of a new campus at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia providing focus on the music of the region through its Mediterranean Music Institute. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery)