La Lleona de Girona – Girona, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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La Lleona de Girona

Kissing the ass of this stone lioness has become a rite of passage in the city of Girona. 


Located at the foot of the stairs leading to the Basílica de San Félix, this column with a lioness on top dates back to the 12th century, and has long been a symbol for the city of Girona. Local tradition holds that you had to climb the column in order to kiss the el cul de la lleona (“the lioness’s ass”) to become an accepted citizen—or at least to ensure you would return to Girona.

For centuries, the animal was known as “la mona” (the monkey) but over time, the name changed to “la lleona” (the lioness). In recent times and to make the process of kissing the rear end of the stone animal a little easier, a flight of stairs was added at the bottom of the column. But a fatal accident in 2015 proved that those stairs did not help much. Technically, the lioness you can see today is a replica, which was made in 1995. The original lioness can be seen in room 5 of the Museo de Arte de Girona.

In the last few years, the lioness’s ass has been temporarily unavailable for kissing due to Covid-19 restrictions and restoration work around the statue. 

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