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Monument to Christopher Columbus

Barcelona

Like some other things in Barcelona, the monument to Christopher Columbus is here since that Universal Exposition of 1888 which the city took ever so seriously. Since then, it’s standing here at the end of La Rambla, close to the old harbour, and today classified for many as one of the great icons of Barcelona.

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Like some other things in Barcelona, the monument to Christopher Columbus is here since that Universal Exposition of 1888 which the city took ever so seriously. Since then, it’s standing here at the end of La Rambla, close to the old harbour, and today classified for many as one of the great icons of Barcelona.

As it was typical at the time, its looks wanted to imitate the old style. But it wasn’t a matter of rejecting the latest technologies, so, inside the column, so sober and so Neoclassical, an elevator was built. Which, by the way, had the brilliant idea of breaking up the day of its inauguration, leaving the mayor locked up for a while in the belly of the monument.

As it happens, the work was very much talked about and recommended at the time (today we would say, it went viral). You were able to see the city from its height of 57 meters without getting tired climbing to the top of this bronze mass for which foundry, the government of Madrid contributed with a few tons of war waste material. Yes, precisely as it sounds!

You’re facing a work by the sculptor Rafael Atchél. The column stands on a pedestal with eight medallions in relief, dedicated to various characters related to the discoverer of America. In the crown of the column, another four reliefs represent Europe, Africa, Asia and America.

But the big question about the statue is: Where does its index finger point to?

You might think that it’s pointing towards America, but it’s not the case. We could believe that it’s pointing to Genoa, Columbus' home, but it seems not to be the case again. The best thing is to let your imagination fly while you observe the determined gesture of Sir Christopher and maybe you will find the solution of the enigma because even today there is no clear consensus on what Columbus’ finger points to.


Monument to Christopher Columbus

Plaça Portal de la pau
08001 Barcelona

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Tags: Eclecticism

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