On the feast day of Sant Jordi (St George), the patron saint of Catalonia, nearly every building bears the red and gold Catalan flag, while red roses decorate the Palau de la Generalitat and the city’s many statues and paintings of George in all his dragon-slaying glory. For more than five centuries, this has been the Catalan version of St Valentine’s Day, when couples exchange red roses and books – this is also ‘Day of the Book’, perhaps because the date coincides with International Book Day and, not by happenstance, with the date of death of both william Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes. It’s a great day to simply stroll around the streets of the city, browsing the book stalls, smelling the roses and enjoying the atmosphere, or you can take advantage of the fact that its open doors day at the city hall in Plaça Sant Jaume and visit its ancient galleries and halls.
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