dissabte, 13 de desembre del 2008

The basics: let's put things into place -geographically.

Catalonia is a region of Spain, a country in Southern Europe. It borders with the Mediterranean sea in the east, with France and Andorra (a little country in the heart of the Pyrénees about which I will also talk about in this blog) in the North, with Aragón and the Valencian community (other regions of Spain) in the west and in the south, correspondingly .

To say that this description will suit everyone is lying. But why? Because of the first six words: "Catalonia is a region of Spain". It is indeed a region of Spain according to laws and international treaties and all the worlds, understands Spain as a unit, a solid country. But the truth is that Spain is not such a unit. Spain is a diverse country, not because of its different and beautiful landscapes but because inside it, there are what we call "historical regions". This regions, which are, according to common law (the Constitution), Galicia, the Basqueland and Catalonia. Each of them has a language of its own and in the past they had been independent from Spain (until the 15th century). Besides, 19th century Europe saw the rise of nationalism, which attracted Catalan intellectuals of the time. This, among with some other things, make some Catalans feel that they do not belong to Spain. But more of it in another post. Let's focus on geography now :).

Now that the geographical limits of Catalonia have been established, I would like to talk about how is Catalonia internally divided.

As any other part of Spain, Catalonia is divided into provinces. The four Catalan provinces are: Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona and Lleida. The capital city of these provinces bear the same name.

The provinces are further divided into what is called "comarques" (a kind of counties), which have, as in the case of provinces a capital city. Logically, the most populated of these capital cities becomes the province's capital.

dijous, 4 de desembre del 2008

Welcome letter / Carta de benvinguda

Dear reader,

I welcome you from a place called Catalonia. What is this place? Where is it located in the world's map? Maybe if I tell you a key word you will easily spot it: Barcelona. So, here you have the relationship: Barcelona, the ‘cool’ city for Erasmus students and seat of the Olympic Games in 1992, is in Catalonia, a region in the north-east of Spain. But we will talk about geography later, because it is not free from its own geopolitical problems.

First of all I would like you to tell you who I am, what I do and why I decided to begin this blog. Well, my name is Anna (a pretty universal name) and I am 24. I was born in the Empordà area (in the north-east of Catalonia, bordering with France) but I live and work as a translator in Barcelona. I am passionate about languages and culture. That is the main reason why I write this blog. I like all languages, but I have a special feeling towards my own language and culture: Catalan. Besides, I feel there is a lot of miscomprehension and misunderstanding around them, or ideas which I deem as wrong or full of bad intentions. These ideas hurt me. My aim is to present my language and culture as something worth of interest (as any other subject) and, if possible, make you like, appreciate and understand them. I do no wish to be unrespectful or to give my opinion in a rude way about the polemic political battle there is in Spain because of that.

In this blog you will find all that is related to Catalonia:

- Geography and demography (where is Catalonia located, landmarks, facts and figures)
- History (a journey through time)
- Travelling (places of interest, ideas for little trips around the land)
- Literature (authors and books)
- Art (what are our most international artists, theatre, music, cinema)
- Traditions (monographic posts about one aspect of our traditions
- Gastronomy (what we eat and what we cook)
- Politics (a tricky subject)
- Language (all about the Catalan language)

Please, feel free to comment or ask what you like to know.

I hope that you enjoy it and that, one day or another, you will visit this curious land called Catalonia.

Thanks for your interest and best wishes, or as we say in Catalan, “Una abraçada”,