Just arrive in Barcelona or a different city in Catalonia? Amongst all of the beautiful architecture and historic districts, you’ve probably noticed the many variants of flags that are adorned all over the city. Catalan flags are draped over balconies, restaurants, plazas, and official buildings. As we have mentioned previously, the people of Catalonia are not afraid to voice their opinions openly whether showcasing local pride or political opinions. Here are a few of the local flags that you are bound to see throughout the streets.
The official flag of Catalonia! This is the flag you will most likely see being flown outside of official government buildings or on tourist-friendly shops and restaurants in Barcelona or other cities in Catalonia. La Senyera is Catalan for flag, however it is most often used to refer to this flag in particular.
The flag is one of the oldest to still be flown in Europe. Stories date the flag back to the 11th Century to the Counts of Barcelona, and the flag carries the same red stripe on golden background design that is on the coat of arms of the Crown of Aragon that ruled areas in the Mediterranean during the Medieval Period.
This is probably the most prevalent flag that you will see in Barcelona! They are draped all over balconies within the city. The flag uses the same design as the la Senyera but incorporates a blue triangle with a five-pointed star over the stripes. Estelada is the Catalan word for “starry”.
The flag is used by nationalists to symbolize the desire for the independence of Catalonia from the rest of Spain. In areas like Barcelona, many people are very adamant in their beliefs for a free Catalonia and the flag is an easy form of expression. It is said to have first appeared in 1904, inspired by the Cuban independence. The movement for an independent Catalonia, however, can be dated back to the end of the War of Spanish Succession where the region succeeded many of its rights to form an early day unified Spain.
While not as common as the white-starred flag, the red-starred flag is also very prevalent in the city. Similar in design to its white-starred counterpart, this flag also represents the desire for an independent Catalonia. The key difference here is political stance. This flag was adopted by leftist groups in the 70s to symbolize a socialist independence movement of all Catalan-speaking areas and thus dons a red star in place of the white.
The official flag of Spain! Popularly known as la Rojigualda in Spanish, it has two red stripes over a golden block with the coat of arms on the center edge. It was first chosen to be a naval ensign in 1785 by Charles III of Spain until Queen Isabella II made it the official national flag in 1843.
You most likely won’t see much of this flag walking through the streets of Barcelona due to the local feelings of political rivalry. Nonetheless, it is still flown over government buildings and some plazas.
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