Walking along the Rambla street to the sea, you get to the Plaça Portal de la pau, it is round in shape, in the center of it stands the Monument to Christopher Columbus – the discoverer of America. This magnificent monument was unveiled back in 1888 on the occasion of the World Exposition. It is not just a monument, it is an observation tower, rising to a height of 60 meters, you can see the amazingly picturesque views of the city, the Mediterranean Sea and promenade.
The decision to erect a Columbus monument in Barcelona was made by the city administration in 1881. They decided to leave to their ancestors the memory of the seafarer who moored in the port of the capital after his expedition to the West Indies and told about the discovery of new lands to Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon.
The monument, located on the square, consists of three parts:
The seafarer himself is made in the form of a bronze statue by the sculptor Rafael Atche. The sculpture rises 7 meters high, the map is clutched in his right hand and his left hand points to the sea. The statue of Columbus is mounted on a Corinthian metal column, with four bronze female images at its top, each symbolizing a particular continent of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. The column reaches a height of 40 meters.
The column is mounted on an octagonal pedestal on each side of it weighs a medallion depicting people who were close to Columbus, and in 1929 their portraits were reconstructed:
- Vicente Yáñez Pinzón is a conquistador and sailor, and the sculptor Joseppe Limona worked on his stone face.
- Martín Alonso Pinzón is a seafarer and also a shipowner, and this medallion was entrusted to Rosend Nobas.
- Isabella I of Castile, Queen of Castile and Leon at the time, her portrait was the work of Antonia Vilanova.
- Ferdinand II of Aragon is the king of Aragon, Castile, Naples and Sicily, and was sculpted by Francesc Passeig et Serratosa.
- Father Antonio de Marchena, an astronomer and concurrently a sacred father, who supported Columbus in his idea to discover India, on his image worked Pere Carbonel.
- Beatriz Fernández de Bobadilla is an influential courtwoman who helps Columbus and was a close friend of Queen Isabella I, her face captured by Joseppe Carcazo.
- Father Juan Pérez, who blessed the voyage of Columbus and was a close friend of his, appeared on the monument thanks to the efforts of the sculptor Eduard Batista i Alentorn.
- Andrés Cabrera was one of the influential nobles who supported Queen Isabella I in her defence of her Spanish inheritance rights.
The pedestal of the Columbus statue has protrusions that adorn the 4 statues that mark certain parts of Spain: Aragon, Catalonia, Castile and the Kingdom of Leon. Each of them holds a scepter in his hands, and on his head they have crowns symbolizing power.
Four sculptures are installed in the pedestal recesses, which are united by the same stylistic solution, although they are made by different sculptors:
- Luis de Santángel is the Minister of Finance, who helped convince Queen Isabella I to finance Columbus voyage to the sea, and to gain the necessary amount of money. From his first voyage, Columbus wrote to him at the first.
- Jaume Ferrer. He was engaged in drawing maps of the Earth and after Columbus returned he created a new map, adding an image of America to it.
- Father Bernat de Boïl accompanied the famous seafarer on his second voyage.
- Captain Pedro Bertran i de Margarit – the commander of the second expedition.
Closer to the ground on the pedestal are eight bronze bas-relief panels, each of them depicting different scenes from the first journey of Columbus.
At the base the pedestal is round, the diameter of the pedestal is 20 meters. From the road to it leads four stairs decorated with statues of lions, it leads to a column inside which there is an elevator, by which you can reach the viewing platform. At the foot of the monument to Christopher Columbus there is a quay with small boats moored to it, where you can take a sightseeing tour.
When you get to the viewpoint platform by elevator, you can admire the Old Town and see the port. The views from this place look stunning.
The viewpoint platform is 60 meters above ground level when viewed from it:
- straight ahead, you can see Plaça de Catalunya and the spires of Sagrada Familia in the distance;
- to the north-east and north, you can see the buildings of the Gothic Quarter: the Santa Maria del Mar, the Cathedral and the Temple of La Merce;
- to the south, Mount Montjuic rises there, and on top of it there is an ancient castle, around the mountain there is a park zone.
- to the west, the coastline and the Mediterranean Sea will be visible.
In the distance, if you look closely, you can see the solar panels of the Forum Park.
Address and opening hours
The Columbus Monument is located at Catalonia, Barcelona, Plaça del Portal de la Pau. It can be visited daily, but the entrance to the observation deck is only open at certain times:
- from March to September, from 8:30 a. m. to 8:30 p. m;
- from October to February – from 8:30 to 19:30
You can reach the square by land and underground transport:
- by bus: no.120, 64, 59, 14, 6, D14;
- take the metro to the green line and get off at Drassanes station.
After visiting the Columbus monument, you can go shopping at the Maremagnum Shopping Center, enjoy the sea life in one of Europe’s largest aquariums, and visit the ship of Santa Eulalia at the harbour pier. All of these are located near the monument.