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Vacation apartments in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the largest tourist destinations not only in Europe, but in the world. For a comfortable alternative to hotels, consider choosing short-term apartment rentals in Barcelona that constitute a successful and secure market in Europe.
Rental apartments in Barcelona cost less than hotel rooms of comparable sizes, and yet offer you a real home where you would love to come back after a day out in Barcelona.
You get all the advantages of independent living and working in a rental apartment: you may choose to cook in a fully-equipped kitchen, you may entertain guests in the living room, you have the privacy of your own bedroom. Would you have all that in a hotel? More and more travellers prefer to rent an apartment in Barcelona for these reasons.
If you frequently travel with family or friends, you know how difficult it may be to book adjacent spacious rooms in a hotel. 1-, 2- or 3-bedroom apartments in Barcelona are easy to find. What is more, you pay per apartment, not per guest, which allows you to cut rental costs considerably, and spend quality time together.
Barcelona is a city you would not want to leave and where you would love to come back, but if you are set on more exploring, we also offer apartment, cottage and villa short-term and long-term rentals all over Europe and North America!
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Holidays in Barcelona

23rd of April - St. George's Day

On the 23rd of April Barcelona celebrates Dia di Sant Jordi, or St. George's Day. Saint George is the patron saint of Catalonia, and this holiday is quite important for the region. It also coincides with the International Day of the Book, hence book and flower stands all over the city on the day. It is customary to give gifts on Sant Jordi: men usually get a book, and women are presented with a rose.

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=189

11th of September - National Day of Catalonia

The National Day of Catalonia (La Diada) is celebrated in Barcelona on September 11th in the commemoration of the city's surrender to the army of Felipe V after the War for Spanish Succession. Following Felipe's initiative in 1714 Barcelona as the center of the independent Catalonia found itself under the siege that lasted for over a year and ended in the full surrender on the 11th September. This day effectively symbolized the end of independent Catalonia, as the Catalan language was banned, some universities in Barcelona closed, and the Generalitat disbanded. Adding insult to injury, Felipe decreed to build a strong fortress on La Ribera, the only function of which was to keep an eye on freedom-oriented Catalans. (The hated Ciutadella fortress was later turned into the Ciutadella park.)

The 11th of September symbolizes the never-ending struggle for freedom and independence of Catalonia. When the Generalitat was reassembled in 1980, its first decree was to establish this holiday. Numerous festivities and processions are held in Barcelona, national red and yellow Catalan flags can be seen everywhere, and dance competitions and human pyramid buildings - “castelles” - go on on main squares and on the streets on this day. Official persons and organizations traditionally honour the memory of Rafael Casanova and General Moragues for their struggle against the Bourbon army by laying floral offerings at their respective monuments. Catalan nationalists congregate at the Fossar de les Moreres plaza to pay homage to brave defenders of Barcelona who died during the siege.

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=152

Fossar de les Moreres plaza The eternal flame memorial at Fossar de les Moreres square
24th of September - La Mercè

Every Catalan city and village has its Festa Major - a festival during which people honour their town's patron saint. In Barcelona, this holiday takes place several days before and on September 24th and is called La Mercè, named after Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mercy (Virgen de la Merced in Spanish and Mare de Déu de la Mercè Vendrell in Catalan).

According to legend, in 1218 Virgin Mary appeared before Saint Pere Nolasc and charged him with a task of founding a monk order to save captive Christians from Muslims, who dominated the Iberian peninsula at the time, enslaving many thousands of Christians. That same year, Saint Pere, with the support of King Jaume I and Saint Ramón de Penyafort, founded the Orden of Mercy (Orden de la Merced).

Many centuries later, in 1687, during a cruel locust plague, all inhabitants of Barcelona prayed for deliverance to Saint Mary of Mercy. The invasion soon stopped, and Virgin Mary was declared a holy patron and protector of Barcelona by the city hall. This decision was officially ratified only much later, in 1868, by Pipe Pius IX.

In 1871 the city hall approved a programme of festivities that were to honour Saint Mary, for the first time, - the festivities that became annual from then on. September 24th was chosen as the official holiday, as it was on September 24th that Virgin Mary appeared before Saint Pere (some say, however, that it happened a bit earlier - on August 1st). The main event on this day is parading the portrait of Barcelona's patron saint along the city streets from La Mercè Cathedral to the port.

In 1902, with the strong support of a renowned political activist Francesc Cambó the format of the holiday underwent drastic changes and started closely resembling the festivities that we see today - basically a model of Festa Major for all Catalan towns and cities.

The festivities, of course, are not limited to one day. La Mercè, in fact, lasts for several days around September 24th; it is far from being just a Festa... It is the king of all festivals. All traditional elements of Catalan culture can be seen during La Mercè: the traditional dance sardana; tall human castles that castellers (castle-makers) create with their agile bodies; 5-meters-tall gegants (giants) strolling down the streets with their entourage of capgrossos (humans dressed in costumes with big heads); the traditional and slightly dangerous Correfoc (fire run) that sees street spectators running around devils and dragons showering them with fire and sparks.

Many other events happen during La Mercè: a running contest, fireworks, street performances, countless parades, open-air concerts, bike races, and the music festival BAM. A "regular" La Mercè sees over five hundred performances of different genres.

Article address:
http://www.sweethomeabroad.com/article.php?obj_id=238

Castellers perform during La Mercè festivities Sardana, a traditional Catalan dance
Gegants (giants) dance at the opening ceremony of La Mercè King Jaume I and his queen - main gegants
Fire-breathing dragon at La Mercè One of many La Mercè stages
Capgrossos of La Mercè A dancing lion at La Mercè
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