The Christopher Columbus Monument of Barcelona Reopens to Visitors
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming an explorer at some point in their life? Or, even better, the genuine discoverer of something or somewhere previously unknown to others? To point your finger in the direction of the indefinite, the mysterious and boldly say, “Just follow me!”
Ok, so maybe that kind of cavalier attitude wasn’t exactly how Christopher Columbus approached his voyage, but to see his exaggerated, elevated statue at the Columbus Monument of Barcelona (Monumento a Colón de Barcelona), you might be emotionally moved into thinking that it was. On display is the likeness of the “discoverer” of the Americas, with his finger pointed in their direction.
The statue and its tower has been closed, but reopened this June to the public. You can go up the tower with an elevator to be one of the approximately 170,000 people annually who come to see the unique views.
A visit to Barcelona remains incomplete with one thing and that is a visit to the famous pedestrian promenade called La Ramla or Las Ramblas (it now one continues Rambla but originally consisted of several smaller ones). Many a person has been inspired to wax poetic about the views of this arcaded pedestrian-way and it is part of any major tour of the city, whether it is through mobile app, guide book, or with an in-person tour guide. At the end of this street, marked by Columbus´ statue is the Port of Barcelona.
The statue was constructed in the year 1888 for the World Fair and goes up 60 meters (nearly 200 feet) in the air. The statue itself is approximately 7 meters (23 feet). From this point, you have a view possibly better than those of the coastline balconies that line the Port´s Avenue. Besides Las Ramblas, you can see the Maremagnum shopping mall, the cable cars, the World Trade Center of Barcelona, the boats coming in and out of the city and the cities´ many cruise passengers.
From the PalacePlaza (Pla de Palau) next to the ColumbusMonument, the sightseeing options are innumerable. One great option is to spend the day in the old fishermen’s village called Barceloneta, which is now one if the city’s most bustling neighbourhoods. Or cross the bridge to the Maremagnum shopping centre for stores, restaurants, and even an IMAX theatre. What we fancy most, perhaps, is going for a tour of the old port with the famous Las Golondrinas, who have been in operation since 1888!
Earlier we mentioned that the finger of Columbus pointed towards America and here we unravel a curious controversy. The finger of Columbus points in the direction of the Americas only if you assume the waterfront to be facing directly south. However, as Barcelona’s front faces more Northeast, where is the finger supposed to be pointed? Is it towards Genoa, the supposed hometown of Columbus? Here is where the controversy really begins as Columbus´ origins are heatedly contested with some historians claiming Columbus´ true roots were in Catalonia.
What do you think? Where is his finger pointing? Where was Columbus from?
The photo used in this post is used under the Creative Commons license and belongs to Toni Escuder.