“I’m from Barcelona”, Agata said.
The very first instance of the city’s name being used in Mytro. While it is difficult to say what exactly was going on in that scene without revealing too much, it is a place that holds a certain magic for our young heroes and it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. That’s why it’s so important in Mytro.
Barcelona, the city of origin for Agata, Turtle’s first companion (and arguably his only trusted one), is one marbled with history. It is perhaps fitting to first speak of the name. It is derived from the family name of Barca — yes, associated with Hannibal Barca — a famous name representing the Carthaginians (modern-day Tunisia) that gave the Romans a run for their money; perhaps just as much trouble (and even more in some scenarios) than the “barbarians” and Gauls found North of present-day Italy were (Britannia and France, respectively). Hannibal Barca’s military feats were wide and numerous, and added fame to his already well-established family name.
What does the name “Barca” have to do with “Barcelona”? While some historians believe that the Romans founded the city of Barcelona, it is often also stated that Hamilcar, Hannibal’s father, founded the city sometimes in the 3rd century BC as hasty settlement. Being that the source of the name for the city is of some confusion, let’s talk about something else: its architecture.
Barcelona is the only city to ever have been awarded a Royal Gold Medal, in 1999. Bestowed upon by the Royal Institute of British Architects, on behalf of the acting Royal monarch, the honor is placed on those who have made “a considerable contribution or development to the scene of international architecture”.
The numerous works of Antoni Gaudi all around the city — churches, World Heritage sites, hotels — which blended modern Geometric design with that of the Oriental and European, gives Barcelona a unique appeal that no other city near a coastline has. In just one city there are so many architectural styles: you can observe buttresses (exterior supports for arches, seen in the Middle Ages), the Greek columns of old, the fine masonry and stonework of the Romans, and finally, hints of the elaborate designs of the Far East. It’s no wonder that Barcelona is like a candy store to the studying architect.
In fact, Barcelona is considered such a successful tourist attraction and economic driver for Spain, and ultimately even the European Union, that littering and general negligence in the city is heavily frowned upon (basically, they’re very conscious of the state of their city).
Also, a fun fact: all the beaches in Barcelona are artificial; the nature of erosion in the area and rocks available aren’t suitable to create natural beaches.
In Mytro, we come to see all of this play out in many different ways. From the comparisons made in dialogue between New York City and Barcelona, to Turtle not believing at first the Catalans and Spaniards even had a subway in Barcelona — it goes on and on.
In fact, the word “Barcelona” is mentioned 46 times in Mytro, and every single time, its utterance plunges the characters and the story deeper into their adventure. It’s as diverse and intersting as the city is itself.
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