|The Catalan Tourism Authority tells us that "Barcelona is a two thousand-year-old city, the capital of a country with a millennium of history - Catalonia - to which it gives cohesion..." Please note the reference to Catalonia as a "country," although, legally, it is classified as an autonomous region. The phrasing signifies the region's vibrant spirit and sense of independence. Barcelona is, indeed, the premiere tourist destination with a great deal to see and experience.
Catalonia consists of four provinces:
Barcelona Province includes, of course, the city of Barcelona, which is the primary attraction. Many visitors, however, are drawn to the beaches of the Costa de Barcelona-Maresme and to Sitges on the Costa de Garraf. Inland, there are the Wine-growing regions of Alt Penedes and Anoia. Bergueda, up north, has wonderfully scenic mountain landscapes in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The towns of Osana, Bages and Vallès are characterized by a rich architectural heritage.
Girona Province has the popular beach resorts of the Costa Brava. The capital, Girona, is a virtual museum. La Cerdanaya, up north, is in the central Pyrenees and superb skiing country.
LLeida Province: Its capital, LLeida, dates back to the 4th century BCE. The city offers much evidence of its rich history as well as gastronomic delights. Val d'Aran is in the Pyrenees with superb skiing and lots of mountains to explore.
Tarragona Ptovince has the beaches of the Costa Daurada and the wine producing region of Baix Penedès. Cava, its world-famous product, is a Spanish sparkling wine.
Jewish Presence in Catalonia
Prior to their expulsion in 1492, Jews in Catalonia made significant contributions to culture, medicine and science. They lived in separate, self-governing quarters called "calls" and were subject to heavy taxation by the local rulers, intermittent persecution and religious pressures as evidenced by the disputations of Barcelona and Tortosa. For those interested in tracing that legacy, the Catalan Tourist Authority suggest 4 routes. One focuses on the city of Girona. The second begins in Barcelona and ends in Puigcerdà. The third also begins in Barcelona and finishes in Lleida. The fourth begins in Tarragona and ends in Tortosa. Background information and what to see is found in the wonderful Guide published by the Authority in English as well as Hebrew.