The profile for country:
The only country in western Europe ever dominated by Islam, Spain until recently was odd man out of the continent. Its unique path began in the 10th century, when this former possession of the Roman and Visigoth empires was conquered by Muslim Morocco.
Under the Umayyad dynasty, al-Andalus, as Spain was called, became the richest, most sophisticated part of Europe.
Islamic scholars preserved the knowledge of the Greeks even as the rest of the continent languished in the Dark Ages. After returning to Christian rule in the 15th century, Spain acquired a huge empire in the New World, which it ruled with brutal abandon.
After colonial revolts, the nation sank into decline. By the dawn of the 20th century, it was poor and unstable. General Francisco Franco seized control during the 1936-39 civil war.
The peninsula's relative isolation did not truly end until his death in 1975. Spain then leaped to economic prosperity and at last became an integral part of Europe.
In the process it has acquired a full panoply of European problems: recession; inflation; unemployement; factional discontent; and loss of biodiversity, the last perhaps most alarming in the long run. Less than a fifth of the country is forested, and many wild species have vanished, especially birds.
Although conservation groups exist in Spain, as elsewhere in Europe, it is unclear whether the celebrated landscape will survive the rocky ascent to modernity.
Language is the soul of Catalonia. Under General Francisco Franco, the use of Catalan was suppressed. After the dictator's death in 1975, the government recognized Catalan as co-official with Spanish. A Romance tongue related to Provençal, Catalan is the vernacular in nearby areas.
Catalonia's domain extended to Greece in the 13th and 14th centuries. A trade center since antiquity, Catalonia has been periodically ruled by outsiders including Spain's dominant Castilians, who excluded Barcelona from lucrative New World trade until 1778. But the port always took advantage of its Mediterranean setting.
Since the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, when the city was a stronghold of anti-Franco Republican forces, the resourceful Catalans have reconstructed their region into one of Spain's leading commercial and industrial hubs.
Catalonia stairsteps from the semitropical coast to the plains to the high Pyrenees. Of its six million people, half live in metropolitan Barcelona.
Olot is one of the towns that are involved in the project. Olot is in the Garrotxa region. In this region, the industry sector is fairly important and has an old tradition, althoug agricultre, livestock and business are also important sectors.
Olot has a tradition of art, especially painting. The origin of this tradition is rooted in the 18th century. The Bishop of Girona, Tomàs de Lorenzana, in 1783 created the Art school, due to the demand for the production of printed clothing and later on he founded a school for Fine Arts and Trade.