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Municipality of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain)

Barcelona Province

Last modified: 2005-10-29 by santiago dotor
Keywords: barcelona | banner of arms | quartered | cross: saint george | cross (red) | lozenge | stripes: 9 | ceremonial | stripes: 5 | liceu |
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[City of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain)] 2:3
by Jorge Candeias and António Martins
Flag adopted 13 April 2004

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The Catalan Association of Vexillology (ACV), whose secretary I am, proposed on 11 April 1984 a design which observes tradition and which is made up of the symbols that the city has always had: the cross of Sant Jordi and the [four] bars of Catalonia.

Jordi Pérez, 2 August 1997

The Catalan Society for Genealogy, Heraldry, Sigillography, Vexillology and Nobility (SCGHSVN) is carrying out a campaign against the new symbols of Barcelona (more details at this webpage). The SCGHSV proposes, as the ACV does, that the flag of Barcelona be a banner-of-arms of the traditional arms of Barcelona. All texts are in Catalan, but there are many interesting images.

Santiago Dotor, 3 February 2000

The Catalan Society of Genealogy, Heraldry, Vexillology, Sigillography and Nobility, which I am a member of, won a resolution of the Catalan Supreme Court ruling that the flag of Barcelona city was the one we were proposing. The mayor of Barcelona accepted that resolution and the new flag was first hoisted on Saint George's day, 23 April 2004.

Josep Maria Llorens, Society of Genealogy, Heraldry, Vexillology, Sigillography and Nobility, 25 July 2004

The current flag was first adopted by the City Council on 3 May 1906 according to the Barcelona municipal website. The cross is as wide as 1/18 the flag's length, thus as wide as a stripe.

Santiago Dotor, 25 July 2004

Flag 1984-1996

[City of Barcelona 1984-1996 (Catalonia, Spain)]
Unofficially used by the city council since 1984
by Jorge Candeias and António Martins

Pantone colors in the old design were Super Warm Red and Process Yellow. The old design has been in use for some time (19th century I think) but was never oficially adopted.

Jaume Ollé, 14 November 1996

Historically, the flag of Barcelona was formed with the union of the symbol of the city, the Cross of Sant Jordi (St. George), and the coat-of-arms of Catalonia, 4 red stripes on yellow background, which were the arms of the royal house of Barcelona. Some years ago, the town hall used a flag which did not incorporate the full royal arms, but only 2 red stripes. This caused a popular protest to include the complete arms, as sign of catalanity.

Jordi Pérez, 2 August 1997

Possible older variant with vertical stripes
[City of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain), vertical stripes]
by M. V. Blanes

In the old flag of the city of Barcelona, the red stripes in the second and third quarters should be vertical rather than horitzontal. I can confirm without doubt that the official flag of the city until 1996 had red vertical stripes.

M. V. Blanes, 24-25 January 2000

At the site of the Catalan Vexillological Association you can see the official flag of the municipality of Barcelona until 1996, and it has horizontal stripes.

Antonio Gutiérrez, 26 January 2000

I believe that the flag with horizontal bars was posted [by M. V. Blanes] not as official flag, but one of the several patterns wrongly used. Several flags show in an issue of Vexilla Catalana dated 11 September 1996 [available here online]:

  1. two horizontal bars (the top and bottom yellow stripes in each quarter are half the width of the other three). The text says: this flag is the current one in the City of Barcelona.
  2. same flag but red and yellow bars in equal size is a variation from a manufacter classified as "more orthodox" (the Saint George cross is a bit narrower that the previous one)
  3. same flag but with four horizontal red bars in each [2nd and 3rd] quarter. Used by some nationalists. The Saint George cross is very narrow.
  4. same flag but with four vertical red bands in each corner. This is the official proposal of the ACV 11 April 1984. The Saint George cross is 1/6th of the height of the quarter (this is the correct size for the Saint George cross).
The pattern posted by M. V. Blanes must be the pattern used some years ago. I do not know the dates, perhaps M. V. Blanes has the exact dates of use?

Jaume Ollé, 26 January 2000

The former flag of Barcelona, 'officially', always had horizontal stripes in the second and third quarters. I think the mistake is due to the fact that with occasion of the 1992 Olympic Games, the Municipality presented the citizens with flags which were almost square, and the people hanged them in their windows and balconies throughout the city, sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally. So some of them looked like a flag with vertical stripes.

I never saw any [former] flag hoisted with vertical stripes. I live and work in Barcelona, and I have seen many times the City Hall —with the three flags (Spain, Catalonia and Barcelona) hoisted all the time— and many other buildings, both official and otherwise, and I never saw hoisted a flag like that.

Jordi Pérez, 3 February 2000

Flag September-December 1996

[Flag September-December 1996 (Municipality of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)]
by António Martins and Jaume Ollé
Flag adopted 25 September 1996, abolished 20 December 1996

The municipality of Barcelona approved a new flag of the city in 1996. Two final designs were considered, one with a yellow background, the other with a blue background (standing for Europe) [which after 1997 remained as ceremonial flag]. The approved design was the flag with a yellow background. Several people are not very pleased with the new flag because it is similar to a logo, the old and traditional flag of the city is being forgotten. But several people support it, including the Mayor, Pasqual Maragall, and the Catalan President, Jordi Pujol. Opposition comes mostly from historians, vexillologists and some political groups. The flag was was approved on 26th September 1996, ratified on 4th October 1996 and hoisted for the first time on Saturday 5th October 1996. Pantone colours, proportions and other details are still to be decided by the Mayor.

The Catalan president proposed that the "logo" of the flag should be very small. The Mayor (Batlle or Alcalde) was empowered to determine the definitive size of the logo. As a result, the current design will be probably modified to make the logo larger [sic]. In addition, against the hoist is a curved stripe (apparently called a bey in Turkish).

Jaume Ollé, 14 November 1996

[Another 1996 proposal (Municipality of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain), 1996 proposal]
Another 1996 proposal
by António Martins and Jaume Ollé

Because of the protests against the old flag, the town hall decided, following the advice of a commission made up basically of graphical designers, to adopt a yellow flag with the new emblem of the city, of new and broken [sic] design. This caused new, strong discussion, so once again the City Council changed the design to the 1997 one — even though the legal procedure had not been completed in full.

Jordi Pérez, 2 August 1997

Flag 1996-2004

[Flag 1996-2004 (Municipality of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)] 2:3
by Eduardo Panizo
Flag adopted 20 December 1996, abolished 2004

A cloth formed by nine vertical stripes, 5 yellow and 4 red, with the new logo of the city in the center.

Jordi Pérez, 2 August 1997

The flag shown in the Associació Catalana de Vexil·lologia website has two different shades of red, apparently based on official specifications: Pantone red 186 for the emblem, Pantone red 485 (and Pantone yellow 123) for the field.

Santiago Dotor, 28 June 2001

The former flag of Barcelona was never officially adopted by the City Council. The description of the 1997 one, appeared in the Carta Municipal de Barcelona (the city constitution) and was therefore official.

Jordi Pérez, 3 January 2000

Variants of the 1996-2004 flag

[Ceremonial Flag 1996-2004 (Municipality of Barcelona, Spain)] 2:3
by António Martins and Jaume Ollé

The version with the same lozenge [as the 1996 flag] on a dark blue field was adopted as a ceremonial flag. I also recall that the posters and banners of the recent royal wedding of one of the Infantas [Princesses] (held in Barcelona) had blue background and the lozenge symbol on it.

António Martins, 25 July 1999

Vertical Ceremonial Flag

[Vertical Ceremonial Flag 1997-2004 (Municipality of Barcelona, Spain)] 1:1
by Eduardo Panizo

Flag variant spotted 1999

[Flag variant spotted 1999 (Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain), variant]
by Vincent Morley

Barcelona flags were very common [during my stay in September 1999] and appeared in two variants — the official [1997] one and the one I GIFfed. The official ones were more numerous but the 'variants' looked newer, so my theory was that the flag had been changed recently and that the 'variant' was the new design! I should say one thing: I made a fairly small drawing on a page of my pocket diary and I am not 100% certain that the vertical bar of the St. George's cross continues to form one of the vertical red stripes in the 'Catalan' quarters of the shield. Looking at my drawing, it may be that they only partly overlap. But again, it is possible that the GIF I made is entirely correct — I should have been more careful when making the drawing.

Vincent Morley, 9 February 2000

Liceu Opera Theater

The Liceu is Barcelona's opera theater and one the foremost theaters in Europe. During a recent work trip to Barcelona I could see its flag being flown from the main balcony. It was horizontally light blue over yellow, with the Liceu's emblem (an oval-shaped, golden cypher including two interlaced L's) in the centre. The height of the emblem was approximately half the flag's height. I have browsed its website but have been unable to find the said emblem.

Santiago Dotor, 30 May 2001