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  • This story is from a series my study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain

    Barcelona has a fascinating history, beginning as the Roman retreat Colonia Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino over 2000 years ago.

    Like Shrek, the city is similar to an onion, of which you can peel off layers of history and discover the life of the Catalan city through the ages. Although many parts of the city's history have been lost or covered up, Rome's mark is still visible under the metropolis.

    Our Visual Culture class explored the Roman ruins that are embedded in Barcelona's old town, also known as el Raval. Barcelona's expansion of the 19th century, L'Eixample, clearly marks the edge of the old city, with the jagged and almost random array of small european streets of the old town meeting with Cerdá's Perfect grid of 1850. As the colony became a Roman outpost then city, Barcelona's growth continued to resemble the plan of the original Roman town.

    Sites remaining today include parts of the outer wall, which has been built on, reused, and embedded into the city landscape and buildings over the decades and an aqueduct, which in some ways sticks out like a sore thumb while at the same time fitting right in the Barcelona style.

    It's just incredible how the old city wall is still visible because it is in use. This is true sustainable architecture, true reuse. Maybe architects pretending to be green should learn from Europe and how they reused materials for decades, over and over, ad infinitum.
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