Colon statue barcelona
I’ve always admired the 60-metre high statue of Christopher Colombus at Barcelona’s Port Vell. The discoverer of the Americas stands proudly at the point where he returned to Spain after his first voyage, in June 1493.
The statue, sculpted by Rafael Atché, depicts Colombus pointing with his right hand, supposedly, towards the New World. However, it is a commonly held belief that instead of pointing west towards the Americas, Colombus is pointing south–southeast, somewhere near Libya. Well, that was a bit of a mess up. But locals get on the defensive if you mention this to them and as historian Robert Hughes said, “the sea is Catalan”. The way that Catalans have taken Colombus to their hearts, made him a local hero (despite most evidence pointing to him being Italian-born) and placed him on the pedestal they think he deserves for all of Barcelona to see is enchanting.
The column, hung with a device bearing an anchor, is rather symbolic. Take a closer look and you’ll see portrait medallions depicting persons related to Columbus, figures representing the realms of Spain, coats of arms of the locations he visited, and important scenes from his voyage (including when he greeted the King and Queen after his return in Barcelona).
You can actually go up to the top of this bronze statue and enjoy a panoramic view of Barcelona in the statue’s very own mirador (viewing-point). I know, I know, how many spectacular views can you see of a city? Don't they all get a bit samey? But, this one really is a bit special, so if you can, make time for it on your sight-seeing tour of the city. It’s also only €2.50 - a very reasonable price when you think about the history lesson you receive at the same time! It’s not for the faint-hearted, though. The viewing platform is quite narrow and seems to tilt slightly.
Also, I’ll warn you, there’s a dodgy lift. The day I decided to go to the Colon statue was long anticipated. I tripped down the stairs with excitement, only to be met with the disappointing announcement by the lady behind the ticket-office desk that the lift was broken. Alas, I made my way to the exit, and returned another day and I’m pleased to say the lift is now back in full working order. Phew! [SEE NOTE BELOW]
Whilst you can’t miss the 52-metre-high, galliantly posing Colombus, you may have trouble finding the entrance to the lift. You have to cross the roads of the busy roundabout at the bottom of La Rambla, doing a full circle of the statue in an attempt to find the way in. Approach from La Rambla or the harbour-side and you’ll see a staircase that goes beneath the statue to a ticket office. There’s also a superb souvenir shop down there. Unlike many tourist shops in Barcelona, it’s not tacky, and they sell some decent trinkets and memoirs.
Pros - views of the city and the amount of history you can learn. Excellent souvenir shop compared to many in the area.
Cons - dodgy lift, hard to find your way in.
You can enjoy the view from June to September 9am-8.30pm, October-May 10am-6.30pm. Metro - Drassanes (L3)
PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF THE START OF MAY 2012, THE MIRADOR IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO A PROBLEM WITH THE LIFT.