Dragons - guardians of supernatural power and creatures of wisdom. You may have walked right by them on your way to the beach or rushing to work. They’re everywhere in Barcelona. But where did they come from? And why are there so many?

Iron Chinese dragon sculpture on a building in Barcelona.
Casa dels Paraigües on La Rambla | photo: Luba Fayngersh / Getty Images

The dragon is one of those fantastical beasts that inspires curiosity, awe and fear in cultures around the world. In European folklore they symbolize evil and chivalry, while in the East dragons are synonymous with power, wisdom, strength and good fortune. It’s no wonder there is so much enthusiasm around them.

Dragons in Barcelona

Legend has it that the first dragons arrived in Catalonia around the 15th century, along with the legend of Sant Jordi (Saint George). Saint George’s popularity after slaying the dragon and saving the princess became so great that he was declared the patron saint of Catalonia in 1456. You can read our post to learn more about Sant Jordi and how it’s celebrated in Barcelona here.

Josep Martínez – inspired by the countless dragons in the city – authored a book featuring almost 500 dragons. Titled Drakcelona: City of Dragons (drak is the Catalan word for dragon), the publication even spurred the creation of a mobile application to help find the many dragons hidden within Barcelona’s walls.

colourful mosaic dragon in Park Güell.
The dragon of Park Güell | photo: JordiDelgado / Getty Images

Where are they?

Chiselled from stone, forged with metals, blown from glass, or made with broken tile mosaics (trencadís), there is no lack of dragons in Barcelona. You’ll see all shapes and colours of dragons – climbing buildings, battling with Sant Jordi, or sunning themselves like lizards.

Walking through the heart of the old city along La Rambla, you may have noticed a beautiful building decorated with umbrellas, fans and an iron Chinese dragon. The Casa dels Paraigües is a testament to the shop that occupied the building in the past and must-see for any passers-by.

Follow one of the narrow streets further into the Gothic Quarter and you’ll see that even the Palau de la Generalitat – the seat of the government of Catalonia – possesses various representations of Saint George and the dragon.

Sculpture of Saint George slaying the dragon on the Catalan government building.
Saint George slays a dragon on the Palau de la Generalitat | photo: ToniFlap / Getty Images

Gaudí’s dragons

Yes, Barcelona is full of dragons. And Gaudí may have taken his inspiration one step further, designing the biggest and perhaps most famous ode on this mythical creature. Built in 1906, Casa Batlló is a larger than life representation of the legend of Saint George. The colourful rooftop – with its scaly-looking tiles and winding, serpentine shape – is designed to resemble a dragon’s spine. The culminating point is the spire which represents the spear used to pierce the dragon’s heart.

Arguably one of the most famous dragons greets you at the stairs of Park Güell. The beautiful mosaic dragon has become the park’s most popular icon and small sculptures can be found in any souvenir shop around the city.

Have you noticed the dragons either hiding or in plain sight? Next time you take a walk, you may be more aware of them watching you!

beautiful picture of Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló is a representation of the legend of Saint George and the dragon | photo: @jacbcn / Instagram
September 18th, 2020

Posted in Culture

Learn and improve your Spanish in Barcelona, one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities.

Here at Speakeasy you'll find courses for all abilities and timetables, an incredible team of talented and motivated teachers and classmates to share your interests and passions. And if you need a visa for your stay, then of course we're able to help and advise.

Smiling Speakeasy teacher with digital board
Let's go!

Start your learning Spanish in Barcelona adventure

Let us know if you have any questions about our courses, our school and life at Speakeasy.

Enquire today Browse our Spanish Courses