Located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain's richest region has its own language and a distinctive identity.
Catalonia is an autonomous community. Barcelona is the capital, and the largest city. The support for Catalan nationalism ranges from calls for further autonomy to demands of independence from the rest of Spain. The region has two official languages: Spanish and Catalan, both of which are spoken. In offices and schools, Catalan is the dominant language, while road signs and labels, for instance in museums, are usually bilingual. Approximately 11 million people live in the Catalan language area.
The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on Catalans to vote in huge numbers in a December election to "restore normalcy." Rajoy was in Barcelona on his first visit since Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia.
On today's programme: A call to relaunch and reform the European Union -Confusion in Catalonia over its political status - A defeat for the far-right in Slovakia - Would the Kremlin prefer to forget the Bolshevik Revolution? – And as more than 20,000 people gather here in Bonn for the 23rd annual UN climate conference, a special half hour focusing on environmental issues around Europe.
In Spain, Catalonia has been under the direct rule of the central government since the end of October, after the region issued a unilateral declaration of independence. Meanwhile, the former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has gone into exile in Belgium. Guy Hedgecoe reports from the town of Sabadell on how pro-independence Catalans are digesting the extraordinary recent events.