'Here be dragons', a warning seen on ancient maps to refer to dangerous or unexplored lands, could also apply to modern-day Barcelona. According to the gorgeous book 'Drakcelona' (Arola, 2011), by photographer Josep Martínez, Barcelona features up to 400 dragons in artistic and archictectural elements around town. The symbology of the dragon is the complete opposite in the rest of Europe, where the dragon represents evil, demons, and an opponent to be vanquished as it awaits us in the underworld.
In the Far East it's a solar and fertile power, a bearer of life, and a connection between the sky and the earth. But thanks to the abundance of dragons in Barcelona – and the amicable relationship between beast and metropolis, which may have been forged in the days when the city was known as the Rose of Fire – it can be said that Barcelona loves dragons and features them in privileged places and from important times in the city's history. You'll find dragons adorning buildings erected during great moments of strength, such as when the city was enriched with the rise of the bourgeoisie, and in the design era of Barcelona in the late 20th century. Benign or evil, the dragon is wise: if you look overhead and search patiently for scales, claws and fangs, you'll discover a hidden city, in a frequency of reality that's ever so slightly different from the daily commotion. Get out there and do some dragon hunting!