According to legend, dragons once roamed the city of Barcelona and made it their home. They called it Drakcelona and now, after centuries of silence, they are the perfect hosts for teaching visitors about the wonderful corners of the city they protect. In 2011, author Josep Martínez published his book “Drakcelona, City of Dragons” about five-hundred different dragons living inside Barcelona. His book theorized that dragons successfully hide deep within the city, one of many theories regarding the dragon’s relationship to Barcelona. Nowadays, we can still see the dragons as surviving symbols of their legendary past. Starting from Casa Bruno Quadro on La Rambla, we can begin on several different routes searching for the best dragons in Barcelona.
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On the Modernist Route, visitors will trek along the new streets, outside the old city and into the modern, trendy areas with their very own history. Along the route, the dragons pop out in baroque elegance, even on the facades of the modernist buildings. The largest dragon sculpture in the city appears in the Parc de l’Espanya Industrial, while the smallest is in the Pati dels Tarongers. In the neighborhood of Eixample, there are plenty of buildings with dragons because the area was partly constructed by Gaudí during the city’s expansion in the 20th century. An iron gate by Gaudí features one at the entrance of Pabellones Güell, while the reference to dragons at Casa Batlló is less obvious, representing the climax of the story between man and dragon.
On this route, through the older part of the city, you can connect with the medieval world where life in Barcelona really began. Cutting through the Gothic Quarter of the city, this route is a gem that reveals the historic Barcelona under the cover of dragons. One of the most curious and well-known is the Chinese dragon on Casa Bruno Quadro, nicknamed the “House of Umbrellas” on La Rambla where you would start the route. The Palau de la Generalitat also features a hidden statue representative of the fable that influenced the connection between the city and dragons. Finally, the buildings all around Barcelona Cathedral feature the dragon and St. George the dragon slayer.
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The story of Barcelona’s dragons goes back to the 14th century, beginning with the legend of St. George, or Sant Jordi, who killed a dragon who had taken over the city and was trying to eat the princess. Since then, the city has taken the fable to heart, representing it through various sculptures and references on buildings and in public areas. Discover the dragons of Barcelona and walk along the routes to see the surviving mementos of their existence in a city they once owned.
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