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Flag of CataloniaBarcelona - City Districts

To get a general idea of the layout of Barcelona one has to look at a map of the city. The centre shows a large square area which corresponds to the city's growth between 1860 and 1936 approximately. This area is known as "Eixample" or "Ensanche" (Extension) and stretches as far as Tarragona street to the left, Avinguda Josep Tarradellas and Avinguda Diagonal at the top, the Passeig de Sant Joan to the right, and the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and Rondes de la Universitat and Sant Pere at the bottom. The part of El Ensanche to the left of Balmes street is known as Izquierda del Ensanche, and the part to the right as Derecha del Ensanche. This is by far the most interesting part, for it is here that we find the Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia, as well as a large amount of Modernist buildings, shops, offices of important companies and banks.

Between El Ensanche and the port area there is an area of narrow, irregularly laid out streets. This is Old Barcelona and takes the shape of a six sided polygon formed by the Avinguda del Parallel, the Rondes of Sant Pau, Sant Antoni, la Universitat and Sant Pere, the Passeig Picasso and, by the sea, the Passeig de Colom. Old Barcelona is also divided into three parts: firstly what is known as the district of La Antigua, between La Rambla and La Via Laietana; to the left of this is the district of El Raval and finally, to the right stands the Ribera district. Of the three, perhaps the most interesting is the the district of La Antigua. There is an almost oval-shaped area contained within this district which is bounded by the streets of Avinyó, Banys Nous, la Palla, the Avinguda de la Catedral, the Via Laietana and Carrer Ample. This is the oldest and most typically Spanish quarter in Barcelona and is known as the "Barrio Gotico" (Gothic quarter) because of the great many Gothic buildings it contains. La Rambla, on the other hand, is the most famous and typical street in Barcelona, and therefore one of the places that is most frequented by visitors.

To the left of the area of Old Barcelona stands the hill of Montjuic. This is of particular interest because of its museums, sports and exhibition complexes and other forms of entertainment. To the right of this area stands the Ciutadella Park where we can find a variety of installations, including the Catalunyan Parliament, the Museum of Modern Art and the Zoo. Between this park and the port stands the triangular-shaped maritime district of La Barceloneta. This very typical district juts out into the sea.

The city's upper districts, from the Avinguda Diagonal towards the left, are also the most salubrious, and so it is not surprising that they are also the most aristocratic. This is especially so in the case of the district of Pedralbes, with its sports complexes and university campus, and, to a lesser extent, the districts of Sarria and La Bonanova. Above these, in the Sierra de Collserola, we find the villages and mountainous areas of Vallvidrera, Le Floresta, Les Planes and Valldoreix. In the central area, between the Avinguda Diagonal and the foot of Mount Tibidabo around the streets of Aribau and Muntaner, we find the district of Sant Gervasi. To the right of this is located the old town of Gracia above the Avinguda Diagonal, with its small squares and craftsmen's workshops.

The area furthest to the left, on the far side of the hill of Montjuic, is known as the Zona Franca, and above this there is the town of l´Hospitalet (There is no difference between this and the adjoining area to Barcelona) and between this and El Ensanche, below the Avinguda diagonal, the town-cum-districts of Les Corts and Sants.

The right-hand areas of Barcelona contain, amongst others the districts of El Guinardó and Horta. Even further to the right are the more popular districts, which, for the most part, were formed after 1940 by immigrants. These include Sant Andreu de Palomar, Sant Adria de Besos and Nou Barris. The district nearest the sea is known as Poble Nou.

To sum up, there is El Ensanche in the centre; Montjuic, Old Barcelona and la Barceloneta beside the sea; the aristocratic districts on the left-hand side between Mount Tibidabo and the Avinguda Diagonal; the former town of Gracia in the centre and the popular districts to the right. This, of course, is a very simplified summary but it is enough to give one some idea of the layout of the city.

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