As the capital and largest city of Catalonia, Barcelona has long been at the center of Catalan History and culture. The older part of the city, which lies just above the harbor, dates from the 1100s. It’s main thoroughfare is the Ramblas, a handsome promenade lined with trees, flower stands, café’s, and bookstores. The Ramblas leads past the Gothic Quarters, site of the cathedral and other buildings of the middle ages, and ends at the Plaza Catalonia, a hub of commercial activity. Roughly northwest of the plaza is the famous church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). The city is also a center of literary life. Among its institutions of higher education is the University of Barcelona, founded in 1450.