Cancún

Satellite photo of Cancún

Cancún is a coastal city in Mexico's easternmost state, Quintana Roo. It is the municipal seat of Benito Juárez municipality and a world renowned tourist resort.

Geography

The average temperature in Cancún is 27° C (80° F) with more than 240 days of sunshine, and rain is rare, with late August through early October being the rainy season. The beaches are almost 100 percent limestone; the porous quality of the limestone makes for cool sand even under the intense tropical sun. Cancún is divided into two parts: The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancún Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. The mainland downtown commercial section (Cancún City), connected to the island by two bridges, has broad avenues lined with whitewashed shops, restaurants, and hotels.

History

In the early 1950s Cancun was an almost unpopulated and undeveloped island just off the Caribbean Sea coast of the Yucatán peninsula, home to three caretakers of a coconut plantation and small Pre-Columbian ruins of the Maya civilization. The government of Mexico decided to develop a tourist resort on Cancun, which was originally financed by a USD $27 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. A causeway was built to link Cancun to the mainland, and an international airport was built, along with what was at first a model city for workers, complete with housing, schools and medical facilities. On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is Nichupte Lagoon, which is used for boat and snorkelling tours of the area.

Although many international publications now spell Cancun as Cancún, in the area itself it is usually Cancún in Spanish and Cancun in English. This is probably a result of the fact that English-language type faces available in the early days of Cancun did not have accented characters, or the operators did not know how to access them because the keyboard codes were different from the ones they were accustomed to using. The Spanish is not really correct either. In Spanish, the accent usually falls on the second syllable. In the case of a two-syllable word, you would only use an accent to indicate that the stress falls on the first syllable, as in López.

The earliest known reference to Cancun called it Cancuen. There's also a site in Guatemala called Cancuen. Cancuen refers to a snake totem, usually identified with Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent). The romanization of Mayan words varies, but it is common to use an apostrophe to indicate a kind of glottal stop. It is probable that some Yucatecan or Mexican Mayanist wrote the name as Cancu'en, which was turned into Cancún by someone at the predecessor of Fonatur, the Mexican government tourism development fund that created Cancun. The belief that Cancun means "nido de viboras" (nest of snakes) is modern folklore, according to according to long-time resident Jules Siegel, author of the Cancun User's Guide.

Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the original very sensible master plan was repeatedly modified and, on the mainland, often ignored. Siegel who was the translator of Fernando Martí's "Cancun, Fantasy of Bankers," municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as to control squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city, he says.

Despite initial skepticism that forced the Mexican government to finance the first eight hotels, Cancún soon attracted investors from all over the world, but approximately 70% of the Hotel Zone properties are owned by Mexicans, many of them local residents, Siegel says. The figure is close to 100% for the mainland. Some observers believe that the resort is foreign-owned because they are confused by the hotel operating companies, which are international companies that supply administration and marketing services. They do not usually own the hotels themselves. Even outlets of restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Domino's Pizza are Mexican-owned.

The city has grown rapidly over the past thirty years to become a city of approximately 750,000 residents, covering the former island and the nearby mainland. Most 'cancunenses' here are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. A growing number are from the rest of America and Europe.

The city Cancun and its flourishing tourism industry were heavily damaged by Hurricane Wilma, which hit the area on October 22, 2005.

Environmental concerns

Although some environmentalists claim that Cancún is an environmental disaster, Siegel says that is not true. There has obviously been environmental damage and the situation could deteriorate rapidly, he reports, but at present (February 2005) Cancún's main problem is a breakdown of garbage collection and disposal as a result of political conflicts that will hopefully be solved by a new administration elected February 6, 2005. Sewage treatment is another danger point, he says. Although approximately 75% of the city has public sewer lines, many homes rely on septic tanks. The underground water table is beginning to show symptoms of contamination, but by the standards of most populated areas in the United States the water is still relatively clean.

"You can see the bottom of the Caribbean off Cancún in satellite photographs," Siegel says. He discusses this and other issues at length on his website, http://www.cafecancun.com.

Tourism in Cancún

The beach in Cancún

In Cancún there are about 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. The hotel zone is one of the most exclusive internationally, with upmarket restaurants, bars, and the like which have catered for quite a number of the rich and famous. The hotel zone tends to be rather expensive as it is aimed at visitors and relies on the all inclusive hotels to keep them all in this area allowing prices to soar. Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop like Walmart, Comercial Mexicana and Soriana, not to mention several flea markets like the one in the hotel zone.

Around March and April, Cancún experiences a flood of college students (usually from the United States) who travel to Cancún to party. For just about all of these students, drinking alcohol is usually the reason why they come to Cancún. The drinking age in Mexico is 18; while in the United States, it is 21.

Downtown Cancún gives us a different aspect. There are also many clubs for all types of people, including gay clubs like Karamba or Glow, but the hotels are more accessible to all types of travelers, including some with lower rates. International brands in Downtown area are Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America.

Ruins in Cancún

The temperature of the city is warm, moderated by the marine breeze which circulates through its avenues. The temperatures are typically between 26°C and 36°C (78.8°F and 96.8°F).

Cancún's hotel zone also has an interactive aquarium where visitors can see the marine diversity of the area, swim with dolphins and feed sharks. Here and there in the hotel zone are some ancient ruins.

The main language in Cancún is Spanish, although English is widely spoken throughout the tourist areas. Mayan dialects are also spoken between some workers and people born in the Yucatán peninsula.

Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport.

Hurricane Wilma

Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, beating the records set by the 1960 and 1961 seasons. At its peak, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and the tenth most intense globally, with the lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere of 882 millibars (26.05 inHg) at sea level, exceeding the record previously held by Hurricane Gilbert that also impacted the Peninsula of Yucatán some years ago.

Visible image of Hurricane Wilma near record intensity with a central pressure of 882 millibars. Image captured by satellite at 1315Z (9:15 EDT) on October 19, 2005.

On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds in excess of 150 mph. The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph. Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo. Some portions of the Yucatán Peninsula experienced hurricane force winds for well over 24 hours. The hurricane began accelerating in the early morning hours of October 23, exiting the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula and entering the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm.

Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly in Cancun. At least three deaths have been reported, numerous people have disappeared, and the insured damage is estimated at between US$5 and US$8 billion. The devastation was almost total with many of the principal roadways from the Hotel Zone completely flooded and damaged. It has been estimated that 95% of the tourism infrastructure was seriously damaged. Once the storm left the peninsula, some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun had been washed away. Thousands of local and foreign tourists were hosted in improvised refuges. All the Airport and Harbor Operations were cancelled between October 21 to the 25 due to the worst weather conditions.

Photo taken from the balcony of a Cancún hotel at the height of the storm.

It is estimated that after Wilma left Cancun, the local tourist industry lost over US $15 Million daily. Many houses were devastated, and many jobs were lost. However, thanks to the aid and support of local and state governments, the federal government, the Red Cross, and civil associations. reconstruction has been possible. American actor Mel Gibson donated an important amount of money to help the people in distress.

There was an exhaustive campaign by the media that featured public figures, including the President Vicente Fox, actors, musicians, etc. to aid people who suffered. The people's response was immediate and impresionant. People from all social strata helped carry water bottles to donate money in special bank accounts that principal banks created. It was estimated that Cancun will be completely ready to face the demanding vacationist wave on December 2005.

Today, Cancun once more lives and remains an attractive option to local and foreign tourists from all over the world.

Sister cities

  • Miami, Florida, United States
  • Wichita, Kansas, United States

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Today, Cancun once more lives and remains an attractive option to local and foreign tourists from all over the world. Mobile phone theft is also a popular petty theft crime when tourists leave their phones on tabletops. It was estimated that Cancun will be completely ready to face the demanding vacationist wave on December 2005. It is not uncommon for thieves to cut bags and backpack straps. People from all social strata helped carry water bottles to donate money in special bank accounts that principal banks created. Internet cafes are a popular target in general. The people's response was immediate and impresionant. Areas where one should be particularly careful are the Barri Gòtic, El Raval, and the Ramblas.

to aid people who suffered. The problem is compounded by the few policemen "walking the beat" in Barcelona, even though the city has one of the highest police to citizen ratios in Europe. There was an exhaustive campaign by the media that featured public figures, including the President Vicente Fox, actors, musicians, etc. Stealing money or goods worth less than about $360 without the use or threat of violence is classified as hurto or petty theft under Spanish law and is treated as a minor misdemeanor no matter how many times it is repeated. American actor Mel Gibson donated an important amount of money to help the people in distress. Many pickpockets are known to the police and some have been arrested hundreds of times only to be released once the police have filled in a report. reconstruction has been possible. They usually work in groups whereby the victim is distracted by one party while being robbed by another party.

However, thanks to the aid and support of local and state governments, the federal government, the Red Cross, and civil associations. Barcelona, like other big cities, has a large number of criminals who mainly prey on tourists. Many houses were devastated, and many jobs were lost. The urban design by Eduard Bru created a terraced sequence of belvedere-like platforms with views of the city. It is estimated that after Wilma left Cancun, the local tourist industry lost over US $15 Million daily. One notable site is the Vall d'Hebron, a deep ravine in the foothills of the Collserola range north of the city. All the Airport and Harbor Operations were cancelled between October 21 to the 25 due to the worst weather conditions. For example, the upgrades to Montjuïc and the seaside industrial areas for the 1992 Olympic Games were accompanied by the building of recreational facilities in other parts of the city lacking development.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists were hosted in improvised refuges. This program of planned parks is often among the civic improvements for which the city actively seeks international events as spurs for redevelopment. Once the storm left the peninsula, some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun had been washed away. Some examples (note that many are not in Barcelona per se but on its metro area):. It has been estimated that 95% of the tourism infrastructure was seriously damaged. Though the budgets may be small, the level of ingenuity and care in design and implementation is often very high. The devastation was almost total with many of the principal roadways from the Hotel Zone completely flooded and damaged. Typically these new parks are carefully designed by architects, planners and landscape architects concerned not just with functional elements, but also with the unique characteristics of the site and its position in a layered understanding of the city.

At least three deaths have been reported, numerous people have disappeared, and the insured damage is estimated at between US$5 and US$8 billion. The purpose of this program has been to reclaim space for the public which is threatened either by neglect or overdevelopment. Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly in Cancun. Since 1983 a formal program of park creation has been carried out by the Mancomunitat de Municipis de l'Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona. The hurricane began accelerating in the early morning hours of October 23, exiting the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula and entering the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm. This park, designed by Luis Peña Ganchegui and Francesc Rius Camps and completed in 1985 integrated the industrial shapes of the site with a dominant water feature and displays of sculpture. Some portions of the Yucatán Peninsula experienced hurricane force winds for well over 24 hours. At the same time, the neighboring Vapor Nou factory, was converted into the Parc de la Espanya Industrial for public recreation.

The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo. In 1983 the Plaça dels Països Catalans in front of the Sants railway station was redesigned by Helio Piñon Pallares and Albert Vaiplana Vea in pink granite paving with an undulating metal pergola and various hard furnishings that have become popular with skateboarders. Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. Montjuïc Stadium was renovated and expanded by Vittorio Gregotti for the 1992 Olympic Games. The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph. The German Pavilion, a landmark of modern architecture designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for this Exhibition was exhaustively reconstructed on its original site in 1986. On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds in excess of 150 mph. It is chiefly notable now for the cultural institutions that use the former palaces and exposition buildings.

At its peak, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and the tenth most intense globally, with the lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere of 882 millibars (26.05 inHg) at sea level, exceeding the record previously held by Hurricane Gilbert that also impacted the Peninsula of Yucatán some years ago. Rubio Tuduri. It was also the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, beating the records set by the 1960 and 1961 seasons. Forestier and architect Nicolas M. Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. N. Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport. The site of the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929 and 1930, the Parc de Montjuïc was laid out by engineer Jean C.

Mayan dialects are also spoken between some workers and people born in the Yucatán peninsula. See separate article on Parc Güell (1914), the large fantastical park designed by Antoni Gaudí for a housing estate and opened to the public in 1922. The main language in Cancún is Spanish, although English is widely spoken throughout the tourist areas. See above for a description of the Rambles. Here and there in the hotel zone are some ancient ruins. Besides the beaches, the Rambles and Parc Güell are the most famous of these. Cancún's hotel zone also has an interactive aquarium where visitors can see the marine diversity of the area, swim with dolphins and feed sharks. Barcelona, with its mild weather and dense medieval centre, is renowned for its parks and open spaces.

The temperatures are typically between 26°C and 36°C (78.8°F and 96.8°F). Barcelona has recently adopted another transport option with two new tram lines known as Trambaix and Trambesòs. The temperature of the city is warm, moderated by the marine breeze which circulates through its avenues. See List of Barcelona metro stations. International brands in Downtown area are Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America. Barcelona's transit company, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), runs the Barcelona Metro system and city bus. There are also many clubs for all types of people, including gay clubs like Karamba or Glow, but the hotels are more accessible to all types of travelers, including some with lower rates. Renfe and the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) run Barcelona's widespread commuter train service.

Downtown Cancún gives us a different aspect. The AVE high-speed rail system was recently extended from Madrid to Lleida in western Catalonia, and is expected to reach Barcelona by 2007. The drinking age in Mexico is 18; while in the United States, it is 21. Barcelona is a hub for RENFE, the Spanish state railway network, and its main suburban train station is Sants-Estació (which is under renovation and enlargement at present in order to prepare for the arrival of the AVE system). For just about all of these students, drinking alcohol is usually the reason why they come to Cancún. In addition to its port, of great historical and contemporary commercial importance, Barcelona is served by El Prat International Airport ('El Prat') in the town of El Prat de Llobregat. Around March and April, Cancún experiences a flood of college students (usually from the United States) who travel to Cancún to party. UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Barcelona:.

Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop like Walmart, Comercial Mexicana and Soriana, not to mention several flea markets like the one in the hotel zone. In addition to the University of Barcelona, the city is home to the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Technical University of Catalonia, the Ramon Llull University and the International University of Catalonia. The hotel zone tends to be rather expensive as it is aimed at visitors and relies on the all inclusive hotels to keep them all in this area allowing prices to soar. Near Barcelona, in Montmeló, the Circuit de Catalunya racetrack hosts the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. The hotel zone is one of the most exclusive internationally, with upmarket restaurants, bars, and the like which have catered for quite a number of the rich and famous. FC Barcelona has also internationally known basketball and handball teams that play at the Palau Blaugrana, situated in the same complex as the Camp Nou. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. Barcelona is the home city of two internationally-known football teams: FC Barcelona, also known as Barça, who play at the 100,000 capacity Camp Nou stadium, and RCD Espanyol, who play at the 56,000 capacity Olympic Stadium.

In Cancún there are about 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. There's also the Torre de Collserola, a telecommunications tower designed by Norman Foster which also has a windowed balcony with a great view over the city. He discusses this and other issues at length on his website, http://www.cafecancun.com. The church mosaics provide a curious example of the religious art style much in vogue during the dictatorship. "You can see the bottom of the Caribbean off Cancún in satellite photographs," Siegel says. Uptown is the hill of the Tibidabo, 512 meters high, with an amusement park (which, after a long economic struggle, now belongs to the city council) and a monumental church on its summit. The underground water table is beginning to show symptoms of contamination, but by the standards of most populated areas in the United States the water is still relatively clean. On the way down, there could be found the Botanical Gardens and the Costa i Llobera gardens, with an unique cactus collection.

Although approximately 75% of the city has public sewer lines, many homes rely on septic tanks. Around the hill are a group of installations known as the "olympic ring" and that were the heart of the 1992 summer olympics: the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium (originally built in 1929 but completely refurbished for the 1992 olympics), the Palau Sant Jordi (a multi-purpose installation designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, used primarily for all kinds of indoor sport events but also for concerts and other cultural activities) and the Bernat Picornell Pools. Sewage treatment is another danger point, he says. On its top is an old fortress which used to guard the entrance to the port. There has obviously been environmental damage and the situation could deteriorate rapidly, he reports, but at present (February 2005) Cancún's main problem is a breakdown of garbage collection and disposal as a result of political conflicts that will hopefully be solved by a new administration elected February 6, 2005. One, Montjuïc hill, is next to the harbour and perched above a large container terminal. Although some environmentalists claim that Cancún is an environmental disaster, Siegel says that is not true. For spectacular views over the city and the coast line there are two hills.

The city Cancun and its flourishing tourism industry were heavily damaged by Hurricane Wilma, which hit the area on October 22, 2005. Visitors should note that the opening times of Barcelona's museums vary considerably and are often highly inconvenient; careful planning is recommended to avoid wasted trips. A growing number are from the rest of America and Europe. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies holds a collection of Tàpies works. Most 'cancunenses' here are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. The building was designed by the American architect Richard Meier. The city has grown rapidly over the past thirty years to become a city of approximately 750,000 residents, covering the former island and the nearby mainland. The Contemporary Art Museum is also worth a visit, not only because of its paintings and sculptures, but because of its architecture.

Even outlets of restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Domino's Pizza are Mexican-owned. The National Museum of Art of Catalonia (in the Palau Nacional left behind by the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition) possesses a well-known collection of Romanesque art, including wall-paintings of Romanesque churches and chapels around Catalonia that have been transferred to the museum. They do not usually own the hotels themselves. There is also a unique museum featuring the lesser known works of Pablo Picasso from his earlier period. Some observers believe that the resort is foreign-owned because they are confused by the hotel operating companies, which are international companies that supply administration and marketing services. Art visits include the museum of the Fundació Joan Miró,hi where several paintings and sculptures of this artist are shown, together with guest exhibitions from other museums around the world. The figure is close to 100% for the mainland. Many of these have now been levelled to make room for the city's ill-starred "22@" project to build an area for ICT-based firms.

Despite initial skepticism that forced the Mexican government to finance the first eight hotels, Cancún soon attracted investors from all over the world, but approximately 70% of the Hotel Zone properties are owned by Mexicans, many of them local residents, Siegel says. Property speculation is also blighting other areas of the city, including the 19th century Poble Nou district with its many interesting buildings dating from Catalonia's Industrial Revolution. Siegel who was the translator of Fernando Martí's "Cancun, Fantasy of Bankers," municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as to control squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city, he says. In recent years, office developments along Passeig de Gràcia have been allowed to break up the architectural unity of the 19th and early 20th century buildings lining the avenue - a process which shows no signs of slackening. Unfortunately, the original very sensible master plan was repeatedly modified and, on the mainland, often ignored. Several of these buildings and indeed the Sagrada Familia church itself are threatened by Mayor Clos' plans to build a large railway tunnel for high-speed trains under the city's shaky 19th century foundations. Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s. The most elegant avenue is the Passeig de Gràcia, where two Gaudí buildings are situated, the Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and the Casa Batlló, along with buildings by other famous modernista architects: Casa Ametller by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Montaner.

The belief that Cancun means "nido de viboras" (nest of snakes) is modern folklore, according to according to long-time resident Jules Siegel, author of the Cancun User's Guide. In the modern districts of the city are several avenues on which most of the international merchants offering clothing, jewelry, leather goods and other items have their stores. It is probable that some Yucatecan or Mexican Mayanist wrote the name as Cancu'en, which was turned into Cancún by someone at the predecessor of Fonatur, the Mexican government tourism development fund that created Cancun. Another very notable modernist building in the older part of the city is the Palau de la Música Catalana, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and built in 1908. The romanization of Mayan words varies, but it is common to use an apostrophe to indicate a kind of glottal stop. The Sagrada Família is billed for completion in 2020. Cancuen refers to a snake totem, usually identified with Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent). Outstanding is the legacy of architect Antoni Gaudí, who lived and worked in Barcelona, and who left several famous works like the Palau Güell in the city's old center, the Parc Güell at the northern tip of Gràcia, and the immense but still unfinished church of the Sagrada Família, which has been under construction since 1882, financed by popular donations like the cathedrals in the Middle Ages (However, it is not a cathedral: the cathedral of Barcelona is the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, a Gothic building of the late Middle Ages).

There's also a site in Guatemala called Cancuen. The park also contains science museums, like the zoology museum, housed in a modernist building. The earliest known reference to Cancun called it Cancuen. One of Barcelona's most famous residents, the late albino gorilla Copito de Nieve ("Snowflake"), lived and died recently at the zoo. In the case of a two-syllable word, you would only use an accent to indicate that the stress falls on the first syllable, as in López. To the north of downtown is the Parc de la Ciutadella, which includes both the Parlament de Catalunya (Catalan Parliament) and the Parc Zoològic de Barcelona (zoo). In Spanish, the accent usually falls on the second syllable. The old harbour offers all kinds of other amenities, including the second largest aquarium in the Mediterranean area and an IMAX cinema.

The Spanish is not really correct either. The buildings of the museum are the medieval Drassanes (shipyards), where the ships which sailed the Mediterranean were built. This is probably a result of the fact that English-language type faces available in the early days of Cancun did not have accented characters, or the operators did not know how to access them because the keyboard codes were different from the ones they were accustomed to using. Next to it is the Museu Marítim (naval museum), which chronicles the history of life on the Mediterranean, including a full-scale model of a galley. Although many international publications now spell Cancun as Cancún, in the area itself it is usually Cancún in Spanish and Cancun in English. Les Rambles ends at the old harbour, where a statue of Christopher Columbus points eastwards across the Mediterranean Sea to his birth place of Genoa. On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is Nichupte Lagoon, which is used for boat and snorkelling tours of the area. It is also worth keeping an eye out for pickpockets, for whom the boulevard is a favourite haunt.

A causeway was built to link Cancun to the mainland, and an international airport was built, along with what was at first a model city for workers, complete with housing, schools and medical facilities. There's also a Wax Museum near the end. The government of Mexico decided to develop a tourist resort on Cancun, which was originally financed by a USD $27 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. Walking along Les Rambles one can see the world-famous opera house El Liceu, the food market of La Boqueria and the Plaça Reial (literally Royal square), with its arches and palm trees, amongst other interesting buildings. In the early 1950s Cancun was an almost unpopulated and undeveloped island just off the Caribbean Sea coast of the Yucatán peninsula, home to three caretakers of a coconut plantation and small Pre-Columbian ruins of the Maya civilization. A notable feature is Les Rambles, a boulevard that runs from the city center to the waterfront, thronged with crowds until late at night and lined by florists, bird sellers in the higher part, craft sellers in the lowest, street entertainers, cafeterias, and restaurants. The mainland downtown commercial section (Cancún City), connected to the island by two bridges, has broad avenues lined with whitewashed shops, restaurants, and hotels. The historic city center is fairly flat, while the modern city fans out towards the surrounding hills, bordered by steep streets that are vaguely reminiscent of those found in San Francisco.

Cancún is divided into two parts: The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancún Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. Barcelona offers a unique opportunity for the tourist on foot to walk from Roman remains to the medieval city, and then to the modern city with its open thoroughfares and grid-iron street pattern. The beaches are almost 100 percent limestone; the porous quality of the limestone makes for cool sand even under the intense tropical sun. The following list favors Catalan-language names over Spanish-language names; as of 2004, they are the most commonly used and the only official ones:. The average temperature in Cancún is 27° C (80° F) with more than 240 days of sunshine, and rain is rare, with late August through early October being the rainy season. Barcelona is divided into several districts. . Tibidabo, a prominent peak to the northwest, is visible from much of the city.

It is the municipal seat of Benito Juárez municipality and a world renowned tourist resort. To its north, the city borders the Besòs river and the municipalities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Sant Adrià de Besòs; to the south it borders the Zona Franca, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and Esplugues de Llobregat; to the east is the Mediterranean; and to the west are Montcada i Reixach and Sant Cugat del Vallès. Cancún is a coastal city in Mexico's easternmost state, Quintana Roo. There are vast amounts of Moroccan, Pakistani's and Eastern Europeans, particularly immigrants from Romania and the Ukraine. Wichita, Kansas, United States. Many of them are from Spain's former posessions in Latin America, mostly Ecuador, Argentina, and Colombia. Miami, Florida, United States. The city of Barcelona being the second largest in Spain, has a fair amount of immigrants numbering 230,942.

See also: List of Counts of Barcelona. Famous people who have lived and worked in Barcelona include: master painters Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Antoni Tàpies, Enrique Tábara, Eugenio Granell, Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares architect Antoni Gaudi. The city's controversial 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures was held between May and September of the same year, lasting a marathon 141 days. Barcelona was the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Despite massive immigration of Castilian speakers from other parts of Spain in the second half of the 20th century, there has been notable success in the increased use of Catalan in everyday life. The city has been the focus of the revival of the Catalan language. A decline in the inner city population and displacement towards the outskirts and beyond raises the threat of urban sprawl. While it may still be the second city of Spain, it has a charm and air that is unique and prized.

The protest movement of the 1970s and the demise of the dictatorship turned Barcelona into a centre of cultural vitality, enabling it to become the thriving city it is today. It was overrun by Francisco Franco's forces in 1939, which ushered in a reign of cultural and political repression that lasted decades. Barcelona was a stronghold for the anarchist cause -anarchist opposition to the call-up of reservists led to the city's Tragic Week in 1909- siding with the Republic's democratically elected government during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The beginning of the 20th century marked Barcelona's resurgence, while Catalan nationalists clamoured for political autonomy and greater freedom of cultural expression.

The fields that had surrounded the artificially constricted city became the Eixample ("extension"), a bustling modern city surrounding the old. The exposition also left behind the Arc de Triomf and the Museu de Zoologia (a building originally used during the fair as a cafe-restaurant). During a period of weaker control by the Madrid authorities, the medieval walls were torn down and the citadel of La Ribera was converted into an urban park: the modern Parc de la Ciutadella, site of the 1888 "Universal Exposition" (World's Fair). During the 19th century, Barcelona grew with the industrial revolution and the introduction of many new industries.

It was returned to Spain after Napoleon's downfall. Barcelona and the province of Catalonia were annexed by the French Empire of Napoleon after he invaded Spain and put his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. Official use of Catalan language was forbidden, and the University withdrew. King Philip V of Spain demolished half of the merchants' quarter (La Ribera) to build a military citadel, as a way of both punishing and controlling the rebel city.

The city was devastated after the Catalonian Republic of 1640 - 1652, and again during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714. The city is home to the University of Barcelona, founded in 1450. The forging of a dynastic link between the Crown of Aragon and Castile marked the beginning of Barcelona's decline. The counts of Barcelona became increasingly independent and expanded their territory to include all of Catalonia, later formed the Crown of Aragon who conquered many overseas possessions, ruling the western Mediterranean Sea with outlying territories as far as to Athens in the 13th century.

Barcelona was still a Christian frontier territory when it was sacked by Al-Mansur in 985. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the early 5th century, by the Moors in the early 8th century, reconquered from the emir in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis who made Barcelona the seat of Carolingian "Spanish Marches" (Marca Hispanica), a buffer zone ruled by the Count of Barcelona. Some remaining fragments of the Roman walls have been incorporated in the cathedral butted up against them [1]; the basilica La Seu is credited to have been founded in 343. The Roman Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino was outshone by the province's capital Tarragona but some important Roman remains are exposed under the Plaça del Rei, entrance by the city museum, Museu d'Història de la Ciutat and the typically Roman grid-planning is still visible today on the map of the historical centre, the Barri Gótic ("Gothic Quarter").

About 15 BC, Romans redrew the town as a castrum (a Roman military camp) centred on the "Mons Taber", a little hill nearby the contemporary city hall (Plaça de Sant Jaume). Legend attributes the Carthaginian foundation of Barcino to Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal. . The mayor of Barcelona is Joan Clos.

2005), although this only covers 7,733 km² (3,000 mi²) around the city. Population of the province of Barcelona is 5,226,354 (est. 2005). 2005), while the population of the metropolitan area is 4,686,701 (est.

The population of the city proper is 1,593,075 (est. It is 160 km (100 mi) south of the Pyrenees mountain range. It is located in the comarca of Barcelonès, along the Mediterranean coast (41°23′N 2°11′E) between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs. Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia.

Parc Nou del Prat, on the Llobregat delta, adjoining Sant Cosme and the airport. Once a quarry, now boasts an artificial lake that converts to public swimming pool in summer, and magnificent statue by Basque artist Eduardo Chillida. Parc de la Creueta del Coll, 1987, Oriol Bohigas, Josep Martorell, David Mackay, architects. Parc del Litoral, at the mouth of the River Besos.

Parc de les Planes, located at the boundary of three districts. Parc del Besós, La Mina housing estate. Fontsana, Sant Joan Despí on the site of a former refuse dump. Upgrading of Parc de Torreblanca, the historical site of an urban farm.

A narrow linear park defined by hedge walls and a grid of trees on the bank of the Congost River. Parc de Torrent Congost (Granollers), 1996, Enric Battle and Joan Roig. Parc de Canserra (Barberà del Vallès), 1996, Studio BCQ. Trees and a pool strengthen the sensual escape from the surrounding city.

The design recaptures the pattern of agricultural use using beds of flowering plants. Parc del Torrent Ballesters (Viladecans), 1997, Arturo Frediani/SOB Associates. A ramble built over parking spaces. Carrer Brasil, 1996, Olga Tarraso and Jordi Hernrich.

Parc Güell. Palau de la Música Catalana. Palau Güell. Hospital de Sant Pau.

Casa Milà (La Pedrera). Sant Martí: Fort Pius, Sant Martí de Provençals, Poble Nou, La Verneda, el Clot. Sant Andreu: Barri del Congrés, Sant Andreu de Palomar. Nou Barris: Can Peguera, Porta, Canyelles, Ciutat Meridiana, Guineueta, Prosperitat, Vallbona, Verdum, Vilapicina, Roquetes, Trinitat Vella, Trinitat Nova, Torre Baró, Torre Llobeta and Turó de la Peira.

Horta-Guinardó: Horta, El Carmel, La Teixonera, El Guinardó. Gràcia: Vallcarca, Barri de la Salut, Gràcia, El Camp d'en Grassot. Sarrià - Sant Gervasi: Pedralbes, Sarrià, Sant Gervasi, Vallvidrera. Les Corts.

Sants - Montjuïc: Can Tunis, Montjuïc, Hostafrancs, Sants, Poble Sec. The Eixample: Sant Antoni, Esquerra de l'Eixample ("the left side of the Eixample" with the sea at your back), Dreta de l'Eixample ("the right side of the Eixample"), Barri de la Sagrada Família. Ciutat Vella (old city): El Raval (also known as the Barri Xinès), the Barri Gòtic, and the Barri de la Ribera. 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures.

1992 Summer Olympics. 1982 Hosted eight matches of the twelfth Football World Cup. 1962 In late September, major flooding kills 800+ people in the surroundings. 1952 Eucharistic Congress.

1936 People's Olympiad, cancelled because of the Spanish Civil War. 1929 International Exposition (World's Fair). 1909 Tragic Week. 1888 Universal Exposition (World's Fair).

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