Barcelona has existed as a settlement for two millennia. Early civilizations shaped the city before it achieved, in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, global power as a trading metropolis and empire capital. After a long struggle with the unifying Spanish state, the city revived, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as an industrial and commercial powerhouse. It became a center of culture, ornamented by modern planning and wondrous works by Gaudí and others. Barcelona became known as “The Rose of Fire”: home to revolutionaries and anarchists. Creativity and conflict continued to shape Barcelona in the twentieth century, as its citizens faced the Spanish Republic, Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. Linking social and cultural currents to the rich architectural and experiential heritage of this multi-layered city, McDonogh and Martínez-Rigol reveal Barcelona’s hidden history to modern-day visitors and residents alike.
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  • September 2018 (pb)
    September 2018 (hb)
  • 300 pages
  • 115 x 173 mm / 5 x 7 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $54.95
  • 9780745670690
  • Paperback $14.95
  • 9780745670706
  • Open eBook $14.95
  • 9781509511044
Table of Contents

Map of Barcelona



1 The Evolution of a Mediterranean City (-1000 CE)

2 Barcelona the Capital (1000-1500)

3 Decline and Renewal (1500-1800)

4 The Industrial City (1800-1900)

5 The Exploding Metropolis (1900-1939)

6 Barcelona Under Franco (1939-1970s)

7 Barcelona Today and Tomorrow (1970s-)

Selected Sources




Index of Works

Index of Places

Index of Names

About the Author

Gary McDonogh is an expert in urban geography and the author of five books on the history and topography of Barcelona. He is Professor of Growth and Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College.

Sergi Martínez-Rigol is Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Barcelona.

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“McDonogh and Martínez-Rigol have mastered the material thoroughly. This comprehensive survey uses the city as a document of its own history and captures Barcelona's elusive character. It will enhance visitors' experiences and be a trusty guide for students and the general reader.”
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of 1492: The Year Our World Began

“A dream journey through Barcelona’s history, combining deep knowledge and stories, complementary points of view, architectural and social aspects, and multidisciplinary and multigenerational visions.”
Carles Carreras, University of Barcelona

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