Why is Barcelona so full of Dragons?
Historically, dragons have always been associated with Barcelona as Sant Jordi (St. George) is the Christian knight and patron of Barcelona. Legend has it that when Sant Jordi slew (killed the dragon) in order to rescue a princess, a rose grew from the ground where the dragon spilled its blood. This gave rise to the tradition on Sant Jordi Day in Catalonia, which is April the 23rd, when traditionally women are given roses and men are given books. The legend of Sant George killing a dragon can be found in many European cultures even in England.
The Catalan myth of Sant Jordi stems from a story when a dragon terrified the inhabitants of a small village called Montblanc, outside Barcelona. The dragon ate all the animals in the village until eventually there were none left and so it started to eat all the villagers. In order to satisfy the dragons thirst for blood, the villagers chose someone to sacrifice every year. One year the name of a princess was chosen and it is said that at the last moment The Christian Knight , Saint George /Sant Jordi, rode in on his horse and killed the dragon.
The day of April 23rd is also International Book day which has also given rise to the tradition of buying books for the men whilst the men buy roses for the women. This day also is the anniversary of Shakespeare and Cervantes who both died on April 23rd 1616. The legend of Sant Jordi is very close to the hearts of the Catalan people .
The dragon is celebrated all over Barcelona in stone carvings in Gottico, in tile work and on the door handles of many buildings in the city. Next time you wander around Gottico or Eixample and see a dragon you’ll know why he’s there.