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Why Barcelona’s flags are more than mere banners

78998240From grim outer-city high-rise blocks to the modernist mansions of the Eixample neighborhood and the Gothic Quarter’s medieval tenements, Barcelona is draped in flags.

The proliferation of banners is a side-effect of the debate raging across the city — and the wider Catalonia region — over the prospect of breaking away from Spain.

The regional government plans to let citizens vote in a November referendum on independence. Spain’s central government in Madrid says that’s unconstitutional and has vowed the referendum will never take place.

While the argument rages, Barcelona’s citizens are nailing their colors to the mast, or at least hanging them from their windows.

“Oh yes, sales are up here, we’re selling much more than usual in Catalonia,” says Rosa Roda of flag maker Atlantida Daro, which last year celebrated 100 years of stitching banners in Barcelona.

The diversity of standards fluttering across the city is causing confusion for visitors, forcing Barcelona tourist guides to inform bemused tourists of the various flags’ significance.

Here’s our brief explainer of Barcelona’s battle of the banners and what it means for the future of Catalonia, Spain and Europe:

grim outer-city high-rise blocks to the modernist mansions of the Eixample neighborhood and the Gothic Quarter’s medieval tenements, Barcelona is draped in flags.

The proliferation of banners is a side-effect of the debate raging across the city — and the wider Catalonia region — over the prospect of breaking away from Spain.

The regional government plans to let citizens vote in a November referendum on independence. Spain’s central government in Madrid says that’s unconstitutional and has vowed the referendum will never take place.

While the argument rages, Barcelona’s citizens are nailing their colors to the mast, or at least hanging them from their windows.

“Oh yes, sales are up here, we’re selling much more than usual in Catalonia,” says Rosa Roda of flag maker Atlantida Daro, which last year celebrated 100 years of stitching banners in Barcelona.

The diversity of standards fluttering across the city is causing confusion for visitors, forcing Barcelona tourist guides to inform bemused tourists of the various flags’ significance.

Here’s our brief explainer of Barcelona’s battle of the banners and what it means for the future of Catalonia, Spain and Europe:

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