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Catalan folklore

Why are there so many dragons in Barcelona?

Written by Ashley B

What do Parc Guell, Casa Bustillo, the gate of Pabellones Guell, House of Umbrellas, Casa Amatller, and Torre Bellesguard have in common? There are dragons living in them. And not just these building, there are over 500 dragons in the city of Barcelona. Each more unique than the last, and each with their own story. 

Why have these mystical creatures decided to make Barcelona their homeland? Well, there are a couple theories: 

Theory #1 The Legend of St. George and the Dragon 

The legend of Sant Jordi has been passed down from Catalan generation to generation. It dates back to the 14th century. Legend has it that Sant Jordi saved the beautiful princess from the possession of a hungry dragon. He stabbed the dragon through the heart with a single sword. From the dragon’s pool of blood grew a perfect red rose bush.

Dragon2_SHBarcelonaThis story has become a symbol of the Catalan culture. So much so that they celebrate this story every 23rd of April. Many famous Catalan architects, such as the famous Gaudi, have also taken it upon themselves to dedicate their work to this story. By incorporating the story of the dragon, the prince and the princess into his architectural designs, thus, he has engraved the story into various city structures.   

Casa Bustillo is a great example. Have you ever noticed the roof top of Casa Bustillo looks like scales? Well, that’s because they represent the dragons scales. And the chimney represents the sword Sant Jordi put through the dragon to save the princess. The balconies look like skeleton eyes which represent the many princes that attempted to capture the men but were unsuccessful. 

Theory #2 Josep Martinez The Legend of Drakelona 

Joseph Martinez, a photographer from Andorra, came up with a theory of his own. He illustrates different dragons traveling to Barcelona through land and sea, in broad daylight and at night. All choosing to meet in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Upon arriving they choose a location to wait in. Some choose to hide deep inside the different neighborhood of Barcelona, concealing themselves from the humans. And others were unafraid to of being noticed. Many of them sat in their places waiting (I don’t understand why). But as the story continues they waited until they decided that they loved Barcelona. They decided to stay and they made Barcelona their city. They called it Drakelona, the City of Dragons. 

Theory #3 The Representation of The Dragon

Many believe that these dragons have been placed in different buildings throughout the city because of what dragons represent. A dragon can embody a guardian, powerful and wise. Protecting the city of any person or creature that threatens to destroy it. For example, the well-known dragon is the Chinese dragon on the “house of umbrellas.” This dragon is the guardian dragon Dilong. He watches the skies, bring rains, and controls rivers according to eastern legend. You can find him in Rambles.  

The dragon also represents evil. A merciful monster which imprisons and destroys everything around it. Examples of this include the dragon design on the building of Casa Amatller or Casa Bustill. 

This irony between good and evil, power and protection, is what creates the magical city of dragons. 

Now it’s time for you to scour the city in search of these mysterious creatures. If you need some help, our friends at Barcelona Dragon Tours have already scouted a couple. Join them in their continuous hunt for these interesting mystical creatures. 

About the author

Ashley B

Originally from the United States of America, Ashley Bravo currently lives in Barcelona. She graduated with a Marketing degree from the University of Central Florida. She loves to write, take pictures, and record and edit videos.

2 Comments

  • Hi.
    Concerning your post: https://www.shbarcelona.com/blog/en/dragons-in-barcelona/
    by Ashley B: Theory #2 Josep Martinez The Legend of Drakelona
    I’m Josep Martínez (Mtnz’), the author and owner of Drakcelona (NOT Drakelona).
    I’m NOT from Andalousie at all.
    I’m andorran, from Andorra, born in Lleida (Catalunya).
    Please, review your post and ammend it consequently. Take care of your info…
    Thanks.
    JM

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