Thanks to an exquisite harbor, fertile soil, and a population of hard working, caring citizens, Barcelona has always been a prosperous city. This great city was a strong, incredibly diverse region when Madrid was still a fledgling town with basically no landmarks or significance. The numerous Mediterranean empires that had at one time or another conquered the area brought tremendous influences, much more so than the Iberian presence to the west. Barcelona was most influenced by Rome, Carthage, and France during the Charlemagne era. The monuments of Barcelona open a book into the rich history of the area. These include the intricate and beautiful Gothic Quarter from the medieval times, the series of Catalan art nouveau, and the surreal artwork of Picasso and Miro.

But if you are searching for a little excitement and outdoor fun to mix in with your education and culture, look no further than Barcelona. In 1992, Barcelona was given a huge boost by serving as home to the Summer Olympic Games. This race to the 21st century was quite beneficial to Barcelona and the neighboring areas, and the restructuring program that became everyone s focus was given the name "Post Olympic". As a result of all of this hard work and dedication, Barcelona has recently developed into one of the premier port cities in all of Europe. There are so many fascinating sights and wonderful events; you will be awed by your choices and so much to do. Extraordinary museums and landmarks can be found everywhere in this ancient city with a rich heritage and culture. The Museu Picasso is one of the greatest art exhibits anywhere, and through the center of the old quarter of Barcelona is the gorgeous tree-lined promenade, a visual splendor. The nightlife is truly something, and the shopping is fantastic.