At the intersection of La Rambla and Passeig De Colom, and across Barcelona Royal Shipyard stands the towering seafront Christopher Columbus Statue. Devoted to Columbus, the famous voyager, this bronze statue installed, at a traffic circle is all decked-up as a Spanish nobleman of the highest rank. During my stay in Barcelona, I kept aside two entire days to explore the charming Ciutat Vella, the Old Town. This region constitutes of four areas: Barri Gotic, El Born, El Raval and La Barceloneta. Around here, gander at the old fishing villages by the Mediterranean banks wrapped in unique culture, traditions, festivals.
The tiny streets of this neighbourhood are packed-with small condos and apartments running laterally from sunseeker beach to the dock exhibiting fancy boats, yachts, maritime museum, aquarium and Barcelona’s finest beachfront eateries. However, one of the most celebrated monuments in the old town is the bronze statue of Christopher Columbus, the travelling nobleman, who officially reported to the Queen and King of Spain. To pay tribute to the Grandee Columbus, the Spanish government chose to install a 24-foot tall statue at the La Ramblas traffic circle in the eighteenth century.
In 1856, Antoni Ferrer thought of the idea of building a statue for Columbus, singularly by the Catalans. For sixteen years, the idea remained under wraps. Until one day in 1881, the city mayor Francesc Rius I Taulet lent support to Antoni Ferrer’s plan by organising a competition to select the best designs. Famous Spanish architect Gaieta Buigas won and was elected, to build this monumental statue at the exact-same site where Columbus touched base in 1493. The construction work to build the statue began in 1882 and was finished, in 1888 in good time for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona. On the top of a socle stands a 24 ft bronze statue atop a tall 131 ft Corinthian column.
This statue is said to paint the picture of Columbus pointing his right hand towards the New Southeast World while he holds a scroll in the other hand. Notice the word, Tierra, meaning land inscribed in the column. The upright mainstay of Christopher Columbus preponderates on an octagonal platform with four bronze-winged phenes surfacing to take off to four different corners of the world. The four ridges against the pedestal have emblems portraying individuals related to Columbus.
The four figures across the four domains are the colonies of Catalonia, Aragon, kingdoms of León and the Castile. Columbus statue is pretty much guarded by the statues of Jaume Ferrer de Blanes, Captain Pedro Bertran, Luis de Santángel Bessant and Father Bernat de Boïl. Quite a wonderful sight to see them all together. I concluded my Old Town visit by taking a tour to nearby churches, museums, shops, restaurants and parks. Some of the best landmarks to visit in Barcelona’s Old Town are the Palace of Catalan Music, Gothic Quarter, Barcelona Cathedral, Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar, Mercat de la Boqueria, Palau Güell, Museu Picasso, Parc de la Ciutadella, Plaça Reial and Ciutat Vella.